Scales and modes?

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by Danjabellza, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

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    I'm learning some of the modes. Currently starting at 1 and working my way through 7. I don't want to waste too much time learning modes I won't ever use.

    For the purpose of contemporary worship guitar, what scales and modes should I focus on to advance? (without wasting time and learning stuff I don't need.)

    I already know my Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, and minor pentatonic.
     
  2. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    My favorite modes of all ... Mixolydian :)

    I am genuinely curious how you are learning the modes and how you are practicing/using them in a musical context.
     
  3. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

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    Currently just learning the shapes. With the Ionian, minor pent, and the blues scales, I play along to jam tracks to try out different musical applications.
     
  4. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

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    As to how, I have several books from the guitar grimoire series. It took me a while to get how to use them, but they are my primary source of info. I have a couple buddies who are big into theory, but we don't get many opportunities to get together.

    Also, I am primarily looking to see which modes will help me dissect songs, and possibly write in different parts to what we're playing.

    (Lots of hillsong, bethel, Jesus culture etc)
     
  5. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    The "church modes" are not used in contemporary praise music too much outside of Aeolian and Ionian.

    In many guitar teaching methods, the mode names get used to refer to positions on the neck. If you play them starting from the low fret of the low string, you are actually playing the modes..... Emphasize different notes to establish the tonal center somewhere else and you are playing Ionian or Aeolian (major or minor) mode again.

    For really getting a good feel for the modes - ancient church music is a good place to start. The "gregorian chants" are all modal.


    -tINY
     
  6. vangoghsear

    vangoghsear Tele-Meister

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    Look at whether the song is in major or minor and learn to recognize the chords that accompany the modes, to know when to apply them.

    I use them similar to mRtINY described, as a means of moving around the fret board.
     
  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Starting with arpeggios leads to less noodley playing than starting with scales.

    Modes come up in Chord Scale Theory, which has it critics, for sure.

    Here's an example for how to apply them: playing in a minor key. Suppose you are in D minor. A common progression would be a 2-5-1:

    Em7b5
    A7alt
    Dmin

    Modes you could play against each chord:

    Em7b5 -- 6th mode of G melodic minor (E G Bb D F# A C)
    A7alt -- 7th mode of Bb melodic minor (A C Eb G Bb Db F)
    Dmin -- D melodic minor (D F A C# E G B)

    I wrote out the scales as arpeggios to get away from scale-thinking.

    Now, I don't know how to relate this to contemporary worship guitar. Theory is secular :lol:
     
  8. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you. And you're absolutely correct about arpeggios-if nothing else you could gig as a bassist with a command of these.

    But it's difficult for me to think of two template shifts away from the primary...and still have the connection. More practice is the answer I suppose.

    And music theory is order. Secular=worldly=disorder! ;)
     
  9. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Modes.

    I would be amazed if more than 1% of church guitarists (and musicians - Pianists thankfully are always the most educated) knew their Major and Minor scales. (technically that's two modes right there.)

    I've never bothered to learn the names of the modes. (only egghead guitarists have ever asked me - in a one up-manship fashion.)

    I've relabeled modes as Major (pop scale).
    Minor (dark sad scale).
    Jazz scale/Big Band swing (add a minor 7th to a Major).
    Spanish (add a minor 2nd to a minor scale).
    Southern/Country rock scale (add a major 6th to a minor scale.)
    Then there's times I mix all those together into a John Scofield blues moment.
    Some metalheads are very addicted to the Harmonic minor. I've NEVER used it.

    That's all i've ever needed in over 30 years of playing. Although lately i've been trying to fit all 12 notes into every song. There's a time and place for everything.
     
  10. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    You didn't mention that you switched over to the piano? :rolleyes:
     
  11. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    Contemporary worship tunes usually play it safe and stick to the tones that work against each chord.

    What does that have to do with modes? Nothing, and everything. If you prefer nothing, then in answer to the question "What scale should I use?": most of the time the melody line will tell you what you can actually play besides a scale. But know what the underlying chord progression is, and know what all the notes are in this chords. Doing that might bring the benefit of you not being accused of noodling.

    Other times the previous chord will tell you what notes will "want to" carry over into the next chord. It will usually be correct, and if not, it is easily "fixed" by then moving to the "right" note. That just takes practice.

    Anyway, I think "what are the chords" when I play, not what scale can I use.

    I'll leave the "everything" answer to the theory experts.
     
  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Unless we're talking about the St. John Coltrane church:

    [​IMG]

    I really want to check that place out! It's in SF.
     
  13. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Gotta love Coltrane.

    It is true that most modern worship music requires very little outside of the major and minor scale. (especially in 10 second guitar solos).

    But for us that do Gospel music outside of the church setting - Let Er' Rip.
     
  14. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    If there's a counterpoint or an instrumental break going on, I almost always look for some tension. But, it has to work as a passing tone or a hold-over from the previous chord.

    Knowing what notes would suggest a different mode is helpful here.


    -tINY
     
  15. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    For about 14-15 months I have been studying Modes religiously (ha-ha, no pun intended guys & gals). All the modes & the Nashville Numbering System. We play CCM mainly & I play lead electric guitar about 9 services a month on average. We go off into a Prophetic Worship time pretty often within our Worship sets. I've been playing for 35ish years & have been signed to a couple rinky-dink indy labels in the 90's (mostly extreme Metal--yup, that's one of my backgrounds). My study of Modes has opened up an endless world of improv & fretboard familiarity for me. Playing the within various Modes when we linger in worship enables me to basically reside in creative autopilot while worshiping deeply. Studying Modal Theory along with understanding the Nashville Numbering System & intervals within scales has been extremely enlightening for me, & I highly recommend it. I can figure out lead solos, and fills & intros fairly effortlessly now. It's like my brain & hands just know where to go. I can easily break apart or arpeggiate chords nailing fills while interweaving them around rhythms. I now just need to know the key, & I could wing it if I had to, even if you were calling out numbers for the chords (or displaying then on the monitor). Modes are where it's at!
    I was NEVER one of those "practice your scales in your bedroom" guys when I was learning how to play guitar either.
     
  16. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pa: Ma...hey Ma...ain't this one of them there non sequiturs?

    Ma: Nah, it's just that clever fella with one of his oblique responses. Tain't nobody that disses as obliquely as him.

    Pa: But why, Ma?

    Ma: Well, on these here forums some folks talk with other folks whils't other folks talk at other folks.

    Pa: But ain't that the same as talkin' to yerself?

    Ma: Talkin' to yerself with an audience, Pa.

    Pa: So the St. John Coltrane Church ain't gonna help me with my scales and modes?

    Ma: Coltrane was a genius who's improvisation skills epitomized one of the highest forms of musical expression humanity has seen. But he still put his pants on one leg at a time.

    Pa: Just like me!
     
  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yep, keep yer pants on. It speaks to the idea of "Contemporary worship tunes usually play it safe". Remember it's a wide tent!
     
  18. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    The same could be said for all popular music. And there is the mystery-to write popular songs while avoiding the mundane. But I think that even a neophyte's original composition addresses the problem better and braver than the most erudite critic.

    I wonder which stance is easier, though?
     
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't know what you are trying to say. Knowledge is bad??
     
  20. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    But it seemed so clear in my head!

    I wish people would use their knowledge to write interesting popular music as opposed to pointing out what's wrong with it.

    Clearer?
     
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