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Modes and Chords


(@fleaaaaaa)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 680
Topic starter  

Hey

I have been aware of modes for quite a while and still don't fully comprehend.

One thing that especially confuses me is when to use them - I know the shapes and know how most of them sound in my head... have to keep working on that but I'm getting there.

Now Aeolian and Ionian are easy - if your in a major key you can generally use Ionian - and Minor for Aeolian.

Dorian - seems to work well with rock and blues - I often mix that in with pentatonics.

Lydian - Mixolydian - Phrygian - (Locrian - if we talk about that at all) - I dont know where or how to use them - do you have to use chords that have notes from those scales?

Thanks :)

together we stand, divided we fall..........


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(@apparition)
Eminent Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 41
 

I couldn't even begin to answer since I pretty much only use pentetonic scales Ann am only just starting to move past that. It looks like the page I'm posting a link to might have the answer though since it mentions which chords to use with the modes. Even locrian! This page has more scales than I know what to do with.

http://www.guitarists.net/guitar_scales/

Hope this helps!


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(@tinsmith)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 830
 

Noteboat is the guy you want to talk to....I understand what I know about modes...but I can't understand him...maybe I'm not listening correctly. Maybe you can get the way he explains it......I learned about them by building them.....pents are built the same way......I thought I was something when I discovered that....Noteboat is an experienced musician who understands theory.
I hope I'm placin' the guy in the right forum...


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

I think most of the confusion in "what mode over which chord" questions starts with the question - it's like asking an artist "when should I paint with blue?"

IMO the best answer would be "when you feel like painting with blue".

Each scale gives you a different sound; you should use it when you feel like using that sound. While there are some chords that seem to suggest particular scales (i.e, a chord with a #11 is often interpreted as a "Lydian" chord), the truth is that chords don't dictate modes or vice versa.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@bondmorkret)
Eminent Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 32
 

I do lots of modal playing, I really enjoy it. Lots of dorian static grooves, always fun to jam over. Anyone got an vids of themselves doing modal jams?

Online Guitar Lessons at BondTuition.com


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(@stuartbahn)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 3
 

Modes are really all about emphasis. Take the basic chords in the key of C major:

C Dm Em F G Am Bdim

If you play say:

Am Am Am Am F G Am Am Am Am F G etc...

- then you are creating the sound of A Aeolian, the sixth mode of the major scale. The emphasis is on chord number 6 within the key. If you were to take a solo then A Aeolian would be the mode to use.

If the same chords were played:

G G G G Am F G G G G Am F etc...

Then the emphasis is clearly on the G, the 5th chord in the major scale, so this would produce a Mixolydian sound and G Mixolydian would be the mode to use.

There's more to modes than just this but I hope that helps.

www.stuartbahn.com


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(@bondmorkret)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 32
 

The Lydian mode is often used as a substitute for Ionian, as it is brighter sounding. Mixolydian is your dominant 7 mode, so use it over an non-altered dominant chords. Phrygian is minor with a b9, so use it over minor 7 chords, or as a possible scale for altered dominant 7 chords. Locrian is for half diminished chords, and is only really useful for jazz and fusion harmony.

Online Guitar Lessons at BondTuition.com


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

The Lydian mode is often used as a substitute for Ionian, as it is brighter sounding. Mixolydian is your dominant 7 mode, so use it over an non-altered dominant chords. Phrygian is minor with a b9, so use it over minor 7 chords, or as a possible scale for altered dominant 7 chords. Locrian is for half diminished chords, and is only really useful for jazz and fusion harmony.

My opinion: this leads to over-thinking things with no results to show for it.

If your progression is Cmaj7-Dm7-F-G, thinking "oh, I'll play in C Ionian, followed by D Dorian, then switch to F Lydian and finish up in G mixolydian uses a lot of brain power... and it's all going to end up in C major, no matter what you do with your fingers.

There are two exceptions where it makes sense to expend the energy:

1. If the chord is OUTSIDE the key of the other chords. If you're in C and you see a B half diminished, it's pretty useless to think in B Locrian. But if you see a Gm7b5 in the key of C, it can help you figure out what notes to use. But a quicker way to cope with this is to identify the altered note (Db in this example) and use that instead of the regular scale tone (D). In the long run, this will give you more of an awareness of chord spellings - a benefit that translates to any tune at any time.

2. If you use the SAME mode for all instances of the same chord type. If a progression goes Am7-Dm7-Em7, using the appropriate Dorian scale will give you a modal sound. But you'll be using different tones for each chord - F# and C natural over Am7, F natural and C natural over Dm7, C# and F natural over Em7.

But if all the chords are native to the same key, thinking "I'll use scale x over chord y" when all the scales use the same tones is what one of my teachers called "mental *(*#%)($*%" (it wasn't a family-friendly word, but it rhymes with machination).

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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