Your modes approach....

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Indontmiztipe, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Indontmiztipe

    Indontmiztipe TDPRI Member

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    Ok so here is another modes question, but i guess this is really another one. There is like 5 or 6 ways to approach modes, there's like parallel, derivative etc. Now personally i like the derivative approach where you see a for instance Dm7 chord and you think of it like it could be the || of C, or the ||| of Bb, so i would play either dorian or phygrian etc.

    But now i am wondering how do you approach modes? And what is like the most used way? And why? Like i know some ppl prefer to learn seperate scales for all modes, but to me thats nonsense. So gimme ur take on ur approach and the hows and why's
     
  2. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    If you know the major scales well enough so that you know each degree's mode for every key signature you only have to learn major scales and then just change the tonic to correspond with the mode. This is the approach I tend to use. To be honest, I don't think of modes or scales when I'm improvising, I think chords and chord tones. I use modes for composing. What I mean is, I'll come up with a melody and chords for a composition based on a deliberate decision to stay within a mode. I do tend to think of the chords as the ii of C, or the iii of Bb, but modes do not enter into it. Just because I come across a Dm in the key of C, it doesn't mean that it's suddenly in the Dorian mode.

    BTW, it's easier to use the "I" key for Roman numerals. Nobody I know of uses the vertical slash key.
     
  3. Indontmiztipe

    Indontmiztipe TDPRI Member

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    Well i'm working on jazz stuff now, realbook stuff so i have to think in modes to be able to interpretate the stuff i play. When i compose i guess i use modes but i dont even think about them either. But i'm talking about playing jazz stuff here, and kinda like using the chords.
     
  4. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Why do you have to think in modes to interpret what you play? Think key, think chord, think changes. The whole mode thing is over-thought if you ask me.
     
  5. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    One the first level, I think how a mode would fit the chord currently I'm on, or if the mode fits the key along with the chord I'm currently on.

    2nd level is what modal sound I want with the song/key/chord.

    3rd level is where I think of how the present chord fits with the key/harmony. So if the present maj chord on top of the key could do well with a Lydian, I might want to do that. Additionally, I might superimpose any mode over a chord above the harmony. But honestly, I can't do this at the speed of thought. It has to be studied, planned, practiced and rehearsed before it could be executed.

    4th level is I don't give a crap. I just play. Who cares I just did a E Ionian over a Bbm7 chord :D As long as I save my butt in the next bar.
     
  6. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Ive never found modes useful outside 1 chord vamps.

    In real life chords move in progressions and can move through a few keys.

    Learn the chord tones and then look at what if anything changes as you move through the keys. Practice that using your ears and backing tracks and you can play over anything


    Use your ears instead of patterns!
     
  7. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'm probably the biggest 'modal' advocate participating in this forum.
    Having said that, as far as Real Book tunes go (standards) - forget about thinking modally ... until you can play all the chord tones, alt and ext tones as well as understanding the overall key centers.
    Playing 'modally' is an advanced concept (to make it musical anyway) especially over changes - which you can do. That's what Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Miles and Trane were doing in the early to mid 60's.
    Really, playing modally is about evoking a certain flavor or feeling from a chord or set of chords. Allowing you to (hopefully?) hear different collections of notes or interval sets over 'standard' changes.

    It's really easy to play bad modally - it's an advanced concept to do it well ... in ANY style or genre.
     
  8. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

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    For me, learning chord tones really opened everything up. I tend to think in terms of chord shapes, and then playing the corresponding arpeggios in that position. Once I got comfortable with that, it became easier to switch modes on the fly. For example, I know where the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degree of the chord lie, so it's easy to play either the natural 4 or sharp 4, depending in how I feel at the time. I'll use the arpeggio as the foundation and insert the other scale notes around it. I don't ever approach soloing with the idea of scale shapes in mind.
     
  9. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I like to sneak up and catch them modes unaware.;)
     
  10. Modern Saint

    Modern Saint Tele-Meister

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    When I was studying modes I used the tonalities rather than finger placement. I broke them down to minor (b3, b7) sounding modes: Dorian (Natural 6), Phrygian (b2), Aeolian (b6); Major sounding (natural 3 and 7): Ionian, Lydian (#4) and finally Mixo and Locrian. I already knew the natuaral order of chords I, ii, iii, etc. so using tonalities I was able to manipulate the sound the way I want to. Understanding chords stucture (triads and 7ths) also helped to navigate my arpeggiation. With all that said, I forget about the terms modes and look more for chosen pitches to play around the chord tones.

    This works for me.
     
  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, that's essentially how I approach things at this point as well. Becoming aware of chord tones (their unique sound within a chord and where they are on the fretboard) and then becoming aware of non-chord tones (their unique sound against a chord and where they are on the fretboard) is for me the the true destination. There's lots of ways to get to that destination, some more meandering and scenic than others, but I strongly believe (at this point in my ongoing musical journey) that's the ultimate destination.
     
  12. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    I think if you talk to any guitarist who has - as part of their professional life been required to solo over a set of changes they have never seen before - say as on a recording, a show or even a jazz gig, that the ability to relate scales/modes to chords in the moment is a valuable working tool -if not always the most creative one.

    Ideally - targeting chord tones is part and parcel of this - but with altered harmony in particular you need to be aware of the 'non' chord tones that lurk deep in the mode - because often every scale tone -is a possible chord tone. In the moment you need to have some 'syntax' around those sounds which means working those sounds into licks, and lines. This isnt creative 'modal' playing in the 'Kind of Blue' way though- this is survival by mode application under pressure. Its not my favourite way to play - just a tool in the box.
     
  13. Indontmiztipe

    Indontmiztipe TDPRI Member

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    Great tips here :D In fact i just started working out arpeggios ( i supposse thats what u guys mean with chord tones right?) today i kinda got around the m7 and M7, tomorrow there's dim and 7b5. Did open some worlds for me! I guess for modes i stick to the formula's or just play what feels good.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Modern Saint

    Modern Saint Tele-Meister

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    It is a start for diatonic play!
     
  15. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Modes...not beginner stuff...at least using them well.

    It's fine to use the major scales you already know and think about deriviative modes for mapping purposes...but you'll never really understand modes that way.

    Playing parallel modes is the way to hear them...so C Ionian, then play C Dorian, C Phyrgian, etc.

    Seems most rock/pop/blues players hardly have much of a need for them...maybe some Dorian and Mixolydian "jam" type situations...

    As the others have advised, don't even touch 'em until you have the major scale licked, and if you're approaching jazz, start with a chord tone approach...
     
  16. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, but that's way down the line learning wise.

    Personally, when I'm confronted with a scenario like that is when I go
    1) overall key center thinking
    2) chord tones and melody (of the tune if there is one)
    3) scales and modes if there's time enough to get into it.

    *On a session for a movie or TV, at best, you get 3 chances: one rehearsal and two takes (at the most).
    On a 'show' if you're a sub = one chance.
    On a jazz pkup or sub gig = this is why it pays to know the 40 tunes I've listed several times here.
    As a hired gun to play a solo = if they know you, as many chances as it takes. If they don't (as in you were recommended), generally 3 passes before they start counting the money and time spent.
     
  17. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Right - which is why made it clear its a professional tool.

    I also dont think the 3 steps you have outlined there have to be mutually exclusive Ken.
    Everyone has their way - but dont you sometimes find yourself thinking across all that stuff to different degrees in the moment depending on the scenario?


    Thats what Im getting at in the 'toolbox' analogy..
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  18. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    :D Nothing's mutually exclusive in music - especially when you're improvising. True and yes to all of the above but I don't think I could think in a gestalt/cross-platform way if I didn't do the "chord tone playing on standards" first. Like you don't get a router or a lathe if you don't have a screw driver and a wrench.

    I guess I'm really responding to the OP's first two posts (posts 1 and 3) and the post where the OP mentions learning arpeggios - post 13 (I think?).

    As far as how I play in a given situation? ... I have no idea until beat 4 of the count-off what I'm gonna do in scenario like the ones I mentioned in my previous post. But it will, in all probability, be one of the three I mentioned (feel, meter, personality, etc. all have something to do with it).

    *If it's an original rock song for a record I absolutely play chord tone heavy lines/licks/ideas the first time around. If they don't dig that approach then I go key center. If they don't dig that then I start getting nervous.
     
  19. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    Agree 100%. It's the foundation for everything else.

    Ha. :D There's nothing quite like having the producer click on the talkback to say, "What else have ya got?" :eek: CS
     
  20. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Sure thing!
     
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