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Thread: whats the deal with modes and progressions

  1. #1
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    Can someone explain to me something about modes? For instance the Ionian mode.My little book says;scale degree-I- ii-iii-IV-I7-vi-viidim. And defining progressions are I-V-V7 ' V7-I and ii-V7-I. I thought I was getting a handle on this stuff but now I'm lost. Am I limited in number of chords I use in phrase ? I know that I should use chords that are in the same key but must they go M-m-m-M-M-m. Am I getting the two confused or what? I want to try writing using some of these alien ways as opposed to 100mph with a wall of feedback and instrument breakage at the end of a song. Thanx-jax

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    You are restricted to the chords of the scale only if you stay diatonic.

    How ever in comtemporary music it is common to exit the scale, and so you are actully making what is called a chromatic alteration.

    It's not the II or V or I that is important but the function they represent.
    Tonic-Subdominant-Dominant.
    Harmonic and rythmic placement of these functions is the key to a sucsessfull phrase.

    I'm sure you don't expect a harmony lesson here !!.
    It would take me days to go through the whole thing.
    If you have a specific question then ask.

    Just use your hearing. What sounds good is good and forget the rules.

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    Bottom rule, if it sounds right, leave it that way. I use scales as a reference, a place to start or look at if I get stuck. As far as modes go, they are major scales in a different order and as they are like this they alter the tonality somewhat, for example the mixolydian gives a bluesy sound. Don't let it confuse you, take another look in a few months, it may make more sense then.

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    Ionian:I CDEFGABC Dorian:II DEFGABCD Phrygian:III EFGABCDE Lydian: IV FGABCDEF Mixolydian:V GABCDEFG Aeolian:VI ABCDEFGA Locrian:VII BCDEFGAB Play these notes ascending and descending and listen to the different sounds they produce.Think of them as vertical stacks rising up from each note of the major scale as it moves horizontally.

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    lesbian mode

    With all the girl singer bands,lesbian mode is real popular lately.Most scales and mode both ascend and decend,but that one just goes down.
    Seriously,as noted the modes are very old scales based on the diatonic major scale.Dorian (minor scale with a major 6th) and Mixolydian (major scale with dominant 7th) are probably most useful for rock guys.
    Tom


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    1-If your writing songs based on a chord progression, modes will not change anything. The chords formed on any given mode will be the same as the chords in the related major scale.

    2-Where modes are useful is in writing single note lines to coincide with a chord progression (eg. bass lines, melodies, guitar leads). Make sure you know which chords correspond to which modes. An easy example is the bass line to Longview by Green Day, the first bar is based on the Eb mixolydian, and the second bar on the Db Lydian (notice the sharp 4th) because they correspond to the V and IV chords of the key (Ab).

    3-If your not using extended chords (eg 9ths 11ths), it enables your melody parts to shift keys. For example when your playing an Am chord, the melody parts can work off of the Aeolian, Dorian or Phrygian modes all starting on A since the Amin triad is in all three. This way your able to use B (Aeo and Dor) or Bb(Phry), and F (Aeo+Phry) or F# (Dor) since they represent the 3 related keys that contain an Am chord (C, F, and G major, or Am, Dm, and Em)\

    4-If your used to playing a pentatonic scale your almost there anyways, since these scales were created from the notes in common between the similar modes. The minor pentatonic is without a 2 or 6, so by just adding these to your basic pentatonic you have your modes (Aeolian 2 & 6, Dorian 2 & #6, Phrygian b2 & 6). The major pentatonic omits the 4 & 7 so replace them (Ionian 4 & maj7, Lydian #4 & maj7, Mixolydian 4 & b7).

    Hope this helps.
    Jeff

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