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Why don't people make pentatonic scales out of the modes?

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(@dneck)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

To start teaching new people about modes why couldn't you tell people to first play a lydian 1 2 3 #4 6 1 and have them add the rest of the scale once they get the hang of the sound? Its what we do for the major and minor scales so why dont people do it for the modes?

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

I read an article called "modes for dummies" or something along those lines in a guitar mag a long time ago. The author was teaching them that way - as extra notes to the 1st and second string of the first pentatonic shape, ie something like:

E Dorian E Lydian

-0-1---3- -0---2-3-
-0-1---3- -0-1---3-
-0---2--- -0---2---
-0---2--- -0---2--- etc.
-0---2--- -0---2---
-0-----3- -0-----3-

I wouldn't know if that method was a good way to do it or teaching bad habits, but it seemed easy enough to get memorised quickly and get you started with the experimenting stage...

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(@dneck)
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Topic starter  

if you specifically took out the points of tension it would make them easy to grasp like If you play that 5 note lydian it is really easy to get the lydian sound and then you add the 5 and 7 when your comfortable. I learned them all all at once but i really think it would have been easier to grasp how to use them at first doing this.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Why do you need modes? Most musicians can get along perfectly well without them, so why can't guitarists?
What's so special about them anyway? One (Locrian) can, effectively, be ignored. Two are the standard major (Ionian) and relative minor (Aeolian), two are modifed major scales (Lydian, Mixolydian) and the others are modifed minor scales (Dorian, Phrygian).

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(@noteboat)
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Posts: 4921
 

Hmm... it's not what we (or at least I) do for the major and minor.

I don't teach the major scale as an extension of the pentatonic major. I do get people improvising using the pentatonic scale first, because there are few 'bad' notes, but I teach the major scale on its own.

The reason I do it that way is that the major scale is key to so many other things - chord construction, key signatures, etc, If you want to be a decent musician, you MUST know the major scales cold; having to think about them in reference to a pentatonic will only slow you down.

Once a student has mastered the major scale - and frankly, it's silly to tackle modes if you haven't - then it's much easier to teach modes as a major scale with one or more altered notes... Lydian = major with #4, etc.

I'd see teaching a simplified version of modes as taking a step backwards.

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(@dneck)
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Topic starter  

Yes I agree I think its useless if you already use them, but if you dont it will convince you that they have some value and each has its place in music.

Its not that I think of the other notes as additions to the pentatonics I think of the pentatonics as a a full scale minus the 2 notes of most tension. I completely agree it is a step backwards if you are already writing melodies using modes but if you can't seem to make sense of them (like most guitarist) then I think it is a good first step.

But I also agree that if someone really understands how to use the major scale they should understand that the modes aren't really that much different and for them it would be a step backwards.

But for people who say "modes arent really necessary why shouldnt I just use the major and minor scales" it will basically allow them to bs the modes. I dont mean that in a bad way its fun to bs especially people new to lead. And maybe one day they will take the time to understand how it all works but I feel like what determines that is more of a personal drive to want to learn than what is taught to you.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@losodo)
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I'm with NoteBoat on this one, for sure. Well put. 8)

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(@mattypretends116)
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I'm with NoteBoat on this one, for sure. Well put. 8)

Here, here :D

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(@dneck)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

noteboat - "I will only teach modes to say 1 in 200 guitarist I teach"

I understand how to use the major scale and modes and im not suggesting that people who do waste their time learning more pentatonics (which are a waste of time in the first place IMO).

But what about those 199 people who will never do more then strum nirvana songs and mess around with pentatonics? Im talking about them. They could have fun and make sounds they couldnt make that day when they walked in for their lesson. I don't see how it could do anything other than help.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Yeah, I see where you're coming from.

But for those folks who only strum Nirvana tunes or mess around with pentatonics - well, they still walk away from every lesson with something that lets them make new sounds and have fun. One week might cover artificial harmonics, another playing octaves, another using diminished chords in place of 7ths, another using chromatic passing tones... there's a whole lot of ground that can be covered without modes. And since the vast majority of music isn't modal, I really don't see a value unless that's the style of music they're listening to.

In which case they're the one in 200 :)

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(@dneck)
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Topic starter  

Ya that makes sense I guess if your intrested enough to actually learn modes youd probably want to know the other 2 notes haha

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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