## Modes...

Well who doesn't have a question about theory? Come on in and get them answered here. Beginning to advanced theory questions are welcome.
Grant5896
newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: July 30th, 2014, 8:09 am

### Modes...

Hi All,

Need some help on modes of the major scale that I can't seem to fathom on my own. I'm trying to learn both Lydian and Phrygian modes for my Grade 7 guitar exam. Let's keep it simple and say I'm playing in C. Ionian would start on C, Dorian on D, Phrygian in E (you get the picture) but...in the book I'm working from, the example they've given me is G Lydian but it starts on a G. But Lydian mode starts on the 4th degree of the scale and working backwards, if the 4th degree of the scale is a G, then the root note/key should be D?

In a jamming scenario, if I'm playing in G and use the example they've given me, surely I'd sound wrong because I'm actually playing in D.

Conversely, if they are intending me to play in G to start with, the Lydian mode of G should start on C, being the 4th degree of the scale. If I play in G and start soloing in G, aren't I just using G Ionian mode?

So why does my book give G Lydian mode starting on a G?

Does anyone know/understand/care what I'm on about?

Thanks,

Grant

Alan Green
Guitari Lama
Posts: 7946
Joined: September 23rd, 2002, 1:35 am
Location: Little Cambridge, Essex, UK
Contact:

### Re: Modes...

Grant5896 wrote:Hi All,

Need some help on modes of the major scale that I can't seem to fathom on my own. I'm trying to learn both Lydian and Phrygian modes for my Grade 7 guitar exam. Let's keep it simple and say I'm playing in C. Ionian would start on C, Dorian on D, Phrygian in E (you get the picture) but...in the book I'm working from, the example they've given me is G Lydian but it starts on a G. But Lydian mode starts on the 4th degree of the scale and working backwards, if the 4th degree of the scale is a G, then the root note/key should be D?

In a jamming scenario, if I'm playing in G and use the example they've given me, surely I'd sound wrong because I'm actually playing in D.

Conversely, if they are intending me to play in G to start with, the Lydian mode of G should start on C, being the 4th degree of the scale. If I play in G and start soloing in G, aren't I just using G Ionian mode?

So why does my book give G Lydian mode starting on a G?

Does anyone know/understand/care what I'm on about?

Thanks,

Grant
Ah, good old Modes. About as well understood as stone-age oompah-loompah street slang. I have the syllabus requirements and workbooks here for London College of Music, the Associated Boards of the Royal School of Music, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto - all serious study programmes; not one of them needs you to waste time on Modes at any level. Nor does Trinity Rock - the new benchmark for electric guitar studies. Even studying my Bachelor's Degree, the course books had two lines on Modes - a title and the message "Don't bother". Trinity College London does have a Modes requirement at Grade 7 and 8.

Right. From the top:
Grant5896 wrote: I'm trying to learn both Lydian and Phrygian modes for my Grade 7 guitar exam. Let's keep it simple and say I'm playing in C. Ionian would start on C, Dorian on D, Phrygian in E
Correct so far
Grant5896 wrote:...in the book I'm working from, the example they've given me is G Lydian but it starts on a G. But Lydian mode starts on the 4th degree of the scale and working backwards, if the 4th degree of the scale is a G, then the root note/key should be D?
Correct - G Lydian is in the key of D. Of course it will start with G - what else could it start with? Just like your example of Dorian in C starting with D - apply the logic.
Grant5896 wrote:In a jamming scenario, if I'm playing in G and use the example they've given me, surely I'd sound wrong because I'm actually playing in D.
This is where it starts to confuse people - you would not play G Lydian over a chord of G in the key of G because of the C# in the scale clashing horribly with the D in your chords - your mode is one in the key of D, remember. Clash. Dissonance. Wrong notes. You would play C Lydian (C, D, E, F#, G, A, B) to remain in key.
Grant5896 wrote:Conversely, if they are intending me to play in G to start with, the Lydian mode of G should start on C, being the 4th degree of the scale.
Correct - as above.
Grant5896 wrote:If I play in G and start soloing in G, aren't I just using G Ionian mode?
Depends. If you're playing G Ionian (the major scale) then you're in G. If you're playing G Lydian then you're in D. If you're playing G Phrygian, then you're in Eb.
Grant5896 wrote:So why does my book give G Lydian mode starting on a G?
It's an example. If you look at the Major Scale you'll get an example in one key and you have no trouble moving it between keys. Same with the modes.
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk

NoteBoat
Musically Insane
Posts: 5674
Joined: August 9th, 2003, 8:48 pm
Location: SW of Chicago
Contact:

### Re: Modes...

Grant5896 wrote: In a jamming scenario, if I'm playing in G and use the example they've given me, surely I'd sound wrong because I'm actually playing in D.
Not exactly. You're using the same notes as the D scale, but your keynote is still G. Think of it as the G major scale with a #4.

How you'll sound depends on the chord progression. Many modal tunes use a simple vamp, just 2-3 repeating chords. So if you're playing over a I-V vamp in G, the chords are G and D - neither has a C note.

If you have a chord that includes C, you have a choice of momentarily leaving the mode, or simply avoiding the C# in your melody.
Conversely, if they are intending me to play in G to start with, the Lydian mode of G should start on C, being the 4th degree of the scale. If I play in G and start soloing in G, aren't I just using G Ionian mode?

Nope, you're using the same notes - but that's not the same thing as using the same scale.

If you play in A natural minor, you're using the same notes as C major. But they're different scales, because one resolves to A and the other to C. Same thing with modes - C Lydian is a C scale with the F notes sharped. That's a much better way to think of it than "G scale starting from C". Either is technically correct, but you want to focus on what your tonic note is.
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Donn302
newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: August 2nd, 2014, 10:55 am

### Re: Modes...

" I have read five different explanations to my 'One, question. I am beginning to think there are NO 'hard Fast rules' on the question of modes... perhaps it is up to the individual to choose which works' for them."

( If you are playing in the Ionian mode root of C' and you change to the Mixolydian root of G... Are you keeping the C as root and developing your chords from the 5th degree... or maintaining the G root and keeping the C as the Drone? OR, more to the point... Does it Matter / As it depends on what the player and composer wants ?

NoteBoat
Musically Insane
Posts: 5674
Joined: August 9th, 2003, 8:48 pm
Location: SW of Chicago
Contact:

### Re: Modes...

You can think about music however you'd like.

The question is: if you change your thinking, can a listener tell? If not, the construct is really all in your head, isn't it?

If you're playing in C major, you're using the notes of the C major scale. If you decide to change to G mixolydian, you're still using the notes of the C major scale. You may be thinking you're doing something wonderful.... but the listener won't know what you're thinking; they only know what they hear.

And they'll hear C major.
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL