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Guys, I need a hand with the modes  

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(@soulcry)
New Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 1
02/07/2013 7:55 pm  

Hi guys, I'll try to be short, I know what the modes are and when they're played but, let's say the song is in the key of E maj and the chords progression is E G# A (to be simple) and let's say i like to play the phrygian mode so, can i play the exact same scale shape of the phrygian mode but starting on C# note? As we know C# is the 6th note in the E maj scale and the phrygian mode is the third mode of the E maj scale so can i play exactly the same scale (same shape) but instead of playing it from G# i shift it to C#? So the main question is: can i play any scale shape within the major scale from any note in that major scale?


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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5358
03/07/2013 5:15 am  

I'm going to pull you back a step.

If you're in E major, your chord sequence is more likely to be E, G#m, A - This is because the G# major chord will include a B# note which isn't part of the key structure. If G# major sounds good in the chord sequence, however, then you'll need to allow for the accidental in your solo.

The Phrygian mode of E starts on G#, not C#. C# Phrygian uses the notes C#, D, E, F#, G#, A and B, and is a mode of the key of A - you're missing the D# you need for it to be in the key of E

Technically, you should be able to start a lick from any note on the major scale and it will work so long as you remember your key structure. In reality you'll find that some notes won't work so well as others with some chords. Also, in reality, you'll find that scales such as the minor pentatonic work with a major chord sequence precisely because of the dissonances they set up between the major and minor harmonies.

There are people here who understand modes a lot better than I do. Take it away guys...

"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


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(@rocket-dog)
Reputable Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 296
03/07/2013 2:46 pm  

This thread may help.
http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=54724


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(@fleaaaaaa)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 680
03/07/2013 6:55 pm  

To be fair.......

I know I may get flamed for this - but I've put modes on the "unnecessary information" pile for now.

The only time i feel it would become useful if I was using it in a piece of music - a solo - or a line or something - I may not even necessarily know I was using it initially til I figure it out. I would be using a mode - and it would become part of that solo and part of my playing - then it would become second nature without thought.

That's how my mind says I will tackle modes - if I ever do - that will be the way for me. You see how modes are used in context of a song - of creating music and you do it and it would really become something.

As for now modes just look like scales that go up and down to me and that's no musical use.

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


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(@ryanduke)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 3
26/07/2013 7:30 pm  

To be fair.......

I know I may get flamed for this - but I've put modes on the "unnecessary information" pile for now.

The only time i feel it would become useful if I was using it in a piece of music - a solo - or a line or something - I may not even necessarily know I was using it initially til I figure it out. I would be using a mode - and it would become part of that solo and part of my playing - then it would become second nature without thought.

That's how my mind says I will tackle modes - if I ever do - that will be the way for me. You see how modes are used in context of a song - of creating music and you do it and it would really become something.

As for now modes just look like scales that go up and down to me and that's no musical use.
I won't flame you for this, it is an understandable and common response to modes. If there is not a perceived use for them then there won't be motivation for learning them. It would be best to focus on the application of modes more than memorizing them like scales. Once you know the benefit learning them will be fun and not just another thing to practice that has no musical use.

<a href="http://www.seattleguitarmentor.com">guitar lessons in Seattle</a>


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(@fleaaaaaa)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 680
01/08/2013 6:14 pm  

Right now I am learning with Robert Conti (online tutor who has done Dvd's so some people would say that is teaching yourself - I don't agree but there we go)

He doesn't know anything about modes - and that is okay with me. He's the kind of guy that is so good that he probably has used modes by accident (as many jazz guys did I believe especially in the early years - they would unwittingly use modes while analysts told them they had done so later)

Anyway the only real relevant thing about him is not what he does or doesn't know but that he can a.) play great ideas b.) convey them to you so you get them under your hands. Found him very inspiration and he has renewed my love for playing - I feel very happy with what I have acheived and modes were nowhere to be seen. :lol:

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


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1284
08/08/2013 5:27 pm  

I may very well be corrected, and I always like to be corrected, as it means I'm learning something new, but here is what I have learned.

1) if you track the chords when you solo you can almost forget modes exist.you will almost certainly get the modal sound of the progression anyway.This won't work 100% unless you know which note has been altered from the normal scale. For example, if you don't emphasise the f# over the D major when playing in A Dorian, you won't get the Dorian sound. However, if you are the type of player that outlines chords, then you will be hitting that note, so again, forget about modes :-)
Edit... obviously the f# could also appear in the G major 7 too.

2) If you're a scale player, then do not take the easy option of assuming for example, A Dorian and G major are the same. This will lead you to play G major licks over an A Dorian progression and that won't really give you the sound you're looking for. It is simpler I feel to start with the pentatonic as a starting frame, and just learn the notes that you need to add for that mode.
For example, to turn an A minor pentatonic into A dorian, I will add the raised 6, (f#), if I want to turn A minor pentatonic into A phrygian, I will add the flat 2nd (Bb). This way, my home scale, is A minor, and my licks are A minor, but I get the modal feel by hitting that "modal tone" as and when I want to.

That's my experience of modes so far. I used to find them confusing, but I can't understand why now.

I will however brace myself for being corrected though :D

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 8311
11/08/2013 12:47 pm  

you can use a phrygian scale shape in a major scale song if the notes of the phrygian scale you're using correspond to the notes of the major scale song you're playing in, and vice versa, assuming you want to stay within the notes of the scale of the song. so the answer to your question is yes. but the post above me may be right, as well, in that it may give the song a different feel.


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(@almann1979)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1284
11/08/2013 3:19 pm  

Jason, if you use the phrygian scale shape, but the notes are the same as the major scale of the song, all you are actually doing is playing the major scale using one of the seven available shapes. There will be nothing phrygian in the way it sounds, as the notes will not be phrygian.

Phrygian is a minor scale, so to get a Phrygian sound, let's start off with your natural minor scale. In A minor, those notes would be A B C D E F G. Now take the second, and flatten it, so your notes are now

A Bflat C D E F G

This fingering starting on A, gives you the phrygian scale you were referring too, but this time in a context that will give you a Phrygian sound.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1284
11/08/2013 4:31 pm  

Just to add to what I said above, this will only work when the chord progression allows.

You can't play in A Phrygian unless the chord progression contains the notes of A Phrygian AND is an A minor progression.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4931
11/08/2013 5:26 pm  

For practical purposes that works... but you can actually play in a Phrygian scale over any minor chord progression.

For example, if the progression is a typical Am - Dm - E7

Scale tones: A-Bb-C-D-E-F-G

Am chord tones: A-C-E (you can play any notes from A Phrygian)
Dm chord tones: D-F-A (any tones work)
E7 chord tones: E-G#-B-D... you'd stay away from G and Bb. Or you'd find an Am progression without a V7 chord (which is how most modal tunes are structured)

Leaving out the tones over the E7 chord won't change the scale you're using (unless you start playing B natural and/or G# over that chord). The scale just gives you the set of notes that you could use; there's no mandate to use all of them over every chord.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1284
11/08/2013 8:21 pm  

Noteboat, I need some help here I think :D

In what you stated, I would have to stay away from Bb, how does that make it A Phrygian when Bb is the "Phrygian note" in that context?

Or are you saying I would only have to stay away from it over that one chord?

Thanks,
Al

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4931
11/08/2013 9:04 pm  

You'd just stay away from it on the one chord. Using it over Am and Dm will give you the Phrygian sound.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@romance1984)
New Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1
17/08/2015 3:28 am  

In A minor, those notes would be A B C D E F G.


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5358
17/08/2015 3:45 am  

In A minor, those notes would be A B C D E F G.

ok - Romance1984 - I've deleted your embedded link to www [dot] play-holidaypalace.blogspot [dot] com which because you'd put it in white text on a white background almost sneaked through the approval process to prevent Spam.

Your post has also missed the point about the notes - we're not in Am, A Phrygian is a mode scale in the key of F.

"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


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