Basic Mode question

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Rollcat
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Basic Mode question

Post by Rollcat » August 7th, 2014, 8:34 pm

In the key of C Ionian we have c d e f g a b c Ionian.

So the key of C Dorian we have ?

what notes are in the C Dorian scale?

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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by Alan Green » August 7th, 2014, 10:45 pm

C Dorian isn't a key. C Dorian is a mode of Bb major, so when you play C Dorian you're playing in the key of Bb.

So, your notes are C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C
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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by Rollcat » August 8th, 2014, 7:59 am

so does that mean D Dorian is composed of this scale? D E F G A B C D

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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by NoteBoat » August 9th, 2014, 4:17 pm

Yes
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almann1979
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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by almann1979 » December 7th, 2014, 7:36 am

Alan Green wrote:C Dorian isn't a key. C Dorian is a mode of Bb major, so when you play C Dorian you're playing in the key of Bb.

So, your notes are C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C
This is where I still get a bit confused.

If I am soloing using C Dorian, its because the chords dictate that C minor is the home chord, even though I know the chords are constructed from the bflat scale.

So ultimately the backing chords determine the scale i use. I find it odd to say I am in the key of bflat if bflat is not the home chord.

In this situation I tell myself I am in the key of c Dorian. I know technically this is wrong, but it helps me understand what I am doing better
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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by NoteBoat » December 9th, 2014, 4:39 am

It's not technically wrong - and from a practical standpoint, it's a good solution.

You're right that the chords dictate C minor as "home". It's actually the term "key" that's causing your confusion.

When musicians throw around the word "key" they can mean a few different things. Alan is using it in the sense of "key signature", and you're using it in the sense of "tonic". The tonic is home (for a chord progression and/or a melody), while the key signature determines the inflection of the pitches (which notes will be sharped or flatted) for the chords and melody.

Because some music theory terms - like "key" - depend on context, it's sometimes difficult to get a clear grasp of what things really mean. If you're thinking of "key" as "key signature" you're establishing a set of tones... so let's call it the tonality instead of the key. The tonality created by flatting your Bs and Es can create several different "keys": Bb major, C Dorian, D Phrygian, Eb Lydian, F Mixolydian, G Aeolian (or with alterations, any other G minor scale), or A Locrian.

Within the set of pitches outlined by the tonality, you create a chord progression or a melody, and that has a "home" determined by the sequence of chords, or by the intervals between the pitches. If you set C as home base, either by using a Cm/Fm chord vamp or by melodic cadences like a descending G-C at the end, you've made the "key" C Dorian.

The three uses of "key" (melody, harmony, key signature) don't always agree. For example, if you play an A pentatonic minor scale over an A blues progression, your chords and key signature are A major (A, D, E7, 3 sharps in the signature). The tonic of your scale agrees with the tonic of the chord progression and key signature - all are A - but your scale doesn't match the key signature. You're soloing in the "key" of A minor (because of C natural) using the scale of A pentatonic (because your G is natural, and you're not using an F).

So yes, C Dorian IS a "key". It's just not a "key signature".
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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by jerrycasemusic » February 4th, 2015, 11:50 am

The important thing to understand with modes is that it is MOSTLY about the underlying chords. This isn't a 'scale' thing.

If you are pounding away on a Dmin chord and the notes of your melody come from the key of C (as opposed to D or Dmin) then you are making a Dorian sound.

Just playing a C scale from D to D does not make it Dorian - it's still just C Major starting from the second note. It's about the home tonality of the piece. What CHORD is the home tonality.

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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by NoteBoat » March 30th, 2015, 5:24 am

Sorry Jerry, but you're completely incorrect.

Modes are SCALES. They are entirely about melody.

If you play a song in C, your melody is in C all the way through. If the harmony sits on an F chord for a while, you are not in F Lydian - you're still in C. When the harmony shifts to G7, you're not in G Mixolydian - you're still in C. Looking at it in any other way complicates things with absolutely no benefit; the audience hears you playing in C major regardless of how you're thinking about the scales. The only thing that happens when you sit on a non-tonic chord for a while is a delay of the cadence.

Chords form the vertical element of music. They are drawn from scales, but they are not scales, and they will not change the scale that's played over them. Harmonize a D Dorian scale in four parts and you get Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bº, and C. Those are the exact same chords you'll get in C major, but they appear in different places in relation to the tonic.

Both scales and chords can outline a key through cadences. A melody that ends with G-C tells our ears that you're probably in C major; a chord progression that moves from G7-C does the same thing.

In most music, the scale and the chords support each other. The melody does this by playing mostly chord tones, and non-chord tones can be categorized by the way they're used (passing tones, neighbor tones, appoggiatura, anticipation, etc.) But those chord tones are still drawn from the scale. If the chord stays on Dm for any length of time, you'll be choosing mostly D, F, and A notes - but they all appear in ALL SEVEN of the modes related to C. The only way to identify the scale with certainty is by looking at the shape of the overall melody, and determining which note serves as the tonic.

Because both chord progressions and scales can have different tonics, modal music tends to avoid using any dominant 7th chords. That leaves the chord progression ambiguous: if you play only Dm7 and Fmaj7 chords, the notes in the scale of C major OR F major will work. Because you have the freedom to choose, you can flat the B or leave it natural. But it's the shape of your melody that determines whether C or F (or someting else) is the tonic. A flatted B will lead to C mixolydian or F major, and a natural B can be C major or F Lydian.

Or it could be something else entirely. If your melody clearly has A as the tonic, it's in A Aeolian (also called A natural minor) with a natural B or A Phrygian with a Bb. In either case, the result would be bi-modality, a situation where there are two different tonics implied by the same set of notes at the same time. Bimodal music is exceptionally hard to pull off well.

Another way to understand why chords can't change the scale you're using is to look at a 12 bar blues progression. If you play only notes of the C major scale over it, you are in C major - and the result won't sound "bluesy". But if you use a C blues scale over the same chords, you will.

Now change up the order of the chords so the progression is no longer a 12-bar blues. The C major scale will still result in a major sound, and the C blues scale will still give you a bluesy result.
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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by bluetransam838 » June 10th, 2015, 8:32 am

You get confused because everyone just tells you the root note of each one, and how it compares to the major key. Thus your playing the same exact notes in all of them just starting with a different note. Instead make the first note of the mode (kinda the root.) If the new (sometimes odd) chord progression has those notes you can use that mode. To learn the feel of each, just hit a one note bass line. Thus you can then play a melody of each mode around it, hearing the style of it. It's hard to explain I agree.And 90% of teachers make it harder

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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by snuvet75 » May 25th, 2017, 11:30 am

NoteBoat wrote:
December 9th, 2014, 4:39 am

Within the set of pitches outlined by the tonality, you create a chord progression or a melody, and that has a "home" determined by the sequence of chords, or by the intervals between the pitches. If you set C as home base, either by using a Cm/Fm chord vamp or by melodic cadences like a descending G-C at the end, you've made the "key" C Dorian.
NoteBoat, I don't understand why Cm/Fm with G/C end would make the song C Dorian. And why would there be Fm in the first place? My logic was that if it's C Dorian or Bb major, then available chords are Bb, Cm, Dm, Eb, F, G, and Ao. There's no Fm.
What I do see here (correct me if I'm wrong), putting Fm question aside, is that since it begins with Cm, then goes to Fm(4th of C), then G(5th) and resolution to C, you referred it to C Dorian, not Bb major. My trouble here is why you used Cm and C both. Enlighten me plz.

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Re: Basic Mode question

Post by NoteBoat » May 26th, 2017, 6:01 pm

I'll try.

When you're playing modal music, you want to avoid using dominant seventh chords. Dominant sevenths have a strong pull towards a resolution, and resolution is what really defines your key - the resolution feels like home base. Hence the vamp between two minor chords.

A vamp between Cm and Fm has the notes C-Eb-G and F-Ab-C in the chords. You could use a Cm scale, either the natural minor or the harmonic minor, and you'd have all the chord tones. But the idea of using modes is to surprise a bit... you're not using the expected scale tones.

The C Dorian scale has the notes:

C-D-Eb-F-G-A*-Bb

The Fm chord has an Ab in it; the scale has A natural. Over the Fm chord you'd treat the A as an "avoid tone".

For the last part, I was talking about melodic cadences, not chord progressions. A melody falling by a fifth mimics the root motion of an authentic cadence (V-I) - but you're just using single notes. Ending the solo with a G note followed by a C helps to establish C as "home base" melodically.
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