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application of modes

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Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

yup. More modal stuff.

So, I get modes:

Each mode is simply a scale with the same key signature as a major scale, starting on a tone of said major scale that is not the root. If you start on the second tone, the resulting scale is essentially a major scale starting on that tone, but with a flated 3rd and 7th, thus, a Dorian Minor scale, repeat for all modes: Ionian (major), Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian (Dom. 7th), Aeolian (relative minor), Locrian.

But, just tell me if this correct (in a jazz setting):

If you're soloing in, say, C major (improvising), you can instead begin to solo in D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, etc., because they are all modes of the original scale and thus have the same key signature.

Also, if a solo is in G mixolydian, and beacuse this is a mode of C major, can you solo (improv) in any of the other modes of C major (D Dorian, E phrygian, etc.) :?:

I have also been lead to believe that the first qustion is basically part of, if not all, the definition of "modal music," like what Miles Davis played on "Kind of Blue." Can someone explain "modal music," pleae :?:

Lastly, I have heard talk of not only modes of major scales, but "modes of harmonic minor." What are these, if there are such things :?:

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Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 358

Although it may seem easier to think of modes like that,, the problem is that you start relating everything to the original tonic (in this case C).

Modes reflect different feelings due to their unique structures. I would not play C major then D dorian (a minor scale). Rather, maybe a D minor (aolean) then maybe move into a D Dorian (also minor).

It may take more work but it's pretty benifitial to look at the modes through their differences. A Dorian scale is a root- second- minor third- fourth- fifth- sixth- minor seventh. Sure, it's an inversion of a particular major scale, but it has it's own identity. For instance, I personally like to look at a Dorian mode as a natural minor without a flattened sixth.

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Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 297

there's an incredibly long discussion on modes, it's a post on this forum called "modal harmony discussion", if that's wrong, it's started by Derp and is 4-5 pages long, it should clarify your misconception, as it did for me and most of all, for Derp

jeez, I make it sound like a legend

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Did you see that!

Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

no, i was just trying to write the whole thing in as few words as possible, that's why I wrote it that way, that's not how I think of it. But can you answer my question.
BTW, when I said "harmonic minor" as in "modes of harmonc minor" I meant natural minor.

I have read that column, and I think the best part is how angry Derp gets.

Duct tape is like the force: it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.
If I am me and you are you, who are you?

Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 35

Keeping in the Key of C:

Record a basic progression |:C |F maj7 |G7 :|

Now solo over that whole progression in C major scale(ionian mode)

Then try using C Ionian scale over the Cmajor scale,F lydian over the F maj7 chord, and G mixolydian over the G7 (no matter what the chord you are only playing C,D,E,F,G,A,B notes your just starting at the root of each chord.

Now record this progession of 5ths |:C |G7 |Dm7 |Am7 |Em7 |Bm7b5 |Fmaj7 :|

Now use:
C Ionian mode w/C
G Mixolydian mode w/G7
D Dorian mode w/Dm7
A Aeolian mode(natural minor scale) w/Am7
E Phrygian Mode w/Em7
B Locrian Mode w/Bm7b5
F Lydian Mode w/Fmaj7

1)Record each example w/2 to 4 measure for each chord until you get use to changing between modes.
2)Start each mode on the root note
3)End on a chord note before going to the next mode

Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608

Nick / Muse.. make the 4/5 threads we have on modes sticky.. so these same questions dont need to be asked.. Tom wrote loads and loads in the last thread which covers everything.. no need for it to be repeated.