Reverse Engineering Modes

jaeler
Registered User
Joined: 12/10/15
Posts: 14
12/23/2015 9:48 pm
By trade I'm a keyboard player, so I have a fairly good technical knowledge of music theory. About 26 years ago, I had a question on modes. (music theory at cc, aced class) It was the only question on the finals I missed. I correctly deduced that modes were based on major scales at another interval. (this was way beyond scope of the lesson, I used my theory) My mistake was I placed those intervals along the major scale. I'm reviewing modes atm, and so I want to answer the question correctly. This is important, because it gives an easy way to extend the range of mode scales.

I'm using the root of C. A dorian is a a#/Bb scale, a Phrygian is a G#/Ab scale, a Lydian a G, a mixolodian is an F scale, the Locrian is a Db/c# scale (major)

This means a dorian will always be a #6, phyrgian a #5, Lydian a 5, Mixolxdian a 4, and a locrian a #1 (major)

Hope this helps.

(can also add, a major scale always has a relative minor from the 6th, so that would make a c aeolionan an Eb scale or a #2) (bit confusing, an A minor is a Cmajor, which is what I mean by a relative minor) Also good to know, because you can use a 6 minor to extend range as well. Of course It would have to be the 6th off of the alternate scale, so a mixolodian scale off of c would be a d minor,(or an F major) I'll let you figure out the math from there, but mode interval + 6minor

and feel free to correct if I'm wrong on any of my math. Pretty sure this is all right though.

BTW, the basis of my deduction is that modes follow the pattern of the major scale, whole, whole half, whole whole, whole, half, just at a different increment, so they must correspond to a different major scale. (we don't count the root note in all this, which is why only seven counts)

Can also add the importance of modes. As a keyboard player, I don't really think about them, (that's where keys are different from guitar, an F# will always be the first black key of the three, I know every note I play, modes are more a guitar thing.) I just follow the chords. Now If I'm playing a Cminor a Gminor and an Fmajor, that's a dorian scale. Its not the same as a Cminor, just a one note difference. I've moved from Fminor to Fmajor, just a single half step from Ab to A, and that makes a big difference.
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,219
12/24/2015 12:51 am
These tutorials cover the diatonic modes & how to use them.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=370
http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=770

Hope that helps!
Christopher Schlegel
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jaeler
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Joined: 12/10/15
Posts: 14
12/24/2015 3:16 pm
Might have found something even better, that works off your jazz chords. I reverse engineered my prior calculations. I asked the question, what modes would follow the C scale. The answer accounted for the weird chord pattern in my prior calculations. This is where I made my original mistake, I oversimplified the math. (I was actually answering the wrong question, they asked me what is the 5th note of a D dorian scale, don't know, don't care, I was working on the scale conversions. I think the answer would be A which is easy cause I'm working with c, a B dorian, lets see, A major scale, need to look at piano, F#) I checked it on the scale finder, I was correct.

Back to the original question, what modes would follow C scale? The answer is obvious, if C and A are taken by major/minor scales, only 5 options are left, 5 modes. D, E, G, F, and B so a D dorian, an E Phrygian, an F Lydian G myxilodian and a B Locrian.

So following jazz chord progession from F, that gives me an F major, a G dorian, A Phrygian, Bb Lydian. C myxilodian, D minor, E locrian, and an F major, all the same scale, which would be a 15 fret scale run. (of course from there comes the tough part, I'll have to figure out how to translate that into pentatonic scales, would appreciate any help in that regard.)

I'll look up those tutorials as well, just learning a mode (and chord mode) a week, I'll get confused if I add more than that
ChristopherSchlegel
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Posts: 8,219
12/24/2015 5:18 pm
Originally Posted by: jaelerI asked the question, what modes would follow the C scale.[/quote]
The modes of the C major scale are:

C Ionian (major scale)
D Dorian (minor scale formula but with a major 6th)
E Phrygian (minor scale formula but with a flat 2nd)
F Lydian (major scale formula but with a sharp 4th)
G Mixolydian (major scale formula but with a minor 7th)
A Aoelian (minor scale)
B Locrian (minor scale formula but with a flat 3nd & flat 5th)
Originally Posted by: jaeler
So following jazz chord progession from F, that gives me an F major, a G dorian, A Phrygian, Bb Lydian. C myxilodian, D minor, E locrian, and an F major ...

Exactly!
[QUOTE=jaeler] (of course from there comes the tough part, I'll have to figure out how to translate that into pentatonic scales, would appreciate any help in that regard.)

Sure! Pentatonic major has 5 notes: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th. So, you'd play the pentatonic major boxes that correspond to those scale degrees.

F diatonic major:
F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E

F pentatonic major:
F-G-A-C-D

But keep in mind that as soon as you start playing pentatonic you are in essence disregarding the concept of diatonic modes, because you are only thinking about 5 notes, avoiding 2 that would flesh out the diatonic modes.

Here are tutorials aimed at understanding & practicing pentatonic scales.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=296
https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=722
https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=185

More here:

https://www.guitartricks.com/instructor.php?input=155014#Pentatonic_Shapes

Sometimes musicians make a bigger deal out of modes than necessary. In the simplest application a mode is simply any major diatonic scale but giving each note of the scale a chance to "start" the scale.

For example, if you are playing modes of F major, you are only ever just playing the same 7 notes over & again. In one sense, modes are simply a way of sequencing the major scale over & again.

Regarding jazz it can help to think in terms of modes, but I find it much more useful to think in terms of melody & chord tones. I do mention the "chord scale" concept, but only because it's something that one encounters in much jazz theory.

Another application of modes is to use them as modulation devices. But there again, I find it more useful to think in terms of chord & key changes. For example, changing from F Ionian to F Lydian is just a natural way of outlining a V of V chord modulating to the V chord.

One more application is to use them purely as ornamental devices. You use a mode because you like the sound of it in a certain place in music, disregarding key signature or chord changes. Here it really does help to know the individual interval formulas of each mode. And that's the unique characteristic of each mode, why it sounds as it does.

I cover that in my application of diatonic modes tutorial mentioned above. Hope that helps! Please ask more if necessary & have fun! :)
Christopher Schlegel
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jaeler
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Joined: 12/10/15
Posts: 14
12/24/2015 5:43 pm
Lot to think about. I'll go into your django tutorial, you have 4 parts, the melody, the 3 part minor scale run, the 3 part arpeggio run, and the chromatic run, which I haven't started. (haven't learned melody either) I have so many things I'm working on. What I notice is the chord changes, and that adds a lot of flair. Been translating that to piano as well. It reminds of a tutorial from the Ray Charles backup piano player on My Sweet Georgia, he changed his scale based on the chord. Its not the same thing again and again.

That said, I want the 15 fret scale run. Yeah its just major scale, however it gives me a fixed reference point. And with that, I can change scale and use the same fixed reference points. (I'm sure you can do the same thing.) And with that, while I could figure out all the pentatonic fingerings, I'll take your advice, and just switch them to the chord. That will be a quick reference to change the scale. And well, I tried to work it out. It can't be done. How can I turn a D dorian scale into a C pentatonic without a D? It's not possible.

Like I say, lot to learn. Can't say it enough, your lessons rule!!!

also want to add a video I found of gypsy jazz

Merry Christmas, and with that I'll add my favorite Christmas Song, Loreena Mckennit, God rest ye Merry Gentleman
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,219
12/26/2015 5:24 pm
Originally Posted by: jaelerI'll go into your django tutorial, you have 4 parts, the melody, the 3 part minor scale run, the 3 part arpeggio run, and the chromatic run, which I haven't started.[/quote]
That's not one of my tutorials. That's Hanspeter Kruesi's.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=410
Originally Posted by: jaelerWhat I notice is the chord changes, and that adds a lot of flair.[/quote]
Yes, the extended harmony chords in jazz adds much of the flavor. And that's because they outline, or imply voice leading & modulations.

It sounds like you might enjoy my intro to jazz rhythm & lead guitar. It requires a lot of prerequisite understanding & skill. But if you really want to learn jazz, this is a great way to do it because it shows all the basic concepts. Just as importantly, it gives you a way to practice them! To apply them & put them to use.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1697
https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1757
[QUOTE=jaeler]That said, I want the 15 fret scale run.

Do you mean something like this image that shows all the major scale modes across the fretboard?

https://www.guitartricks.com/wt/gt/hosts/0/4/8/ModesPatternOverall.PNG

That's part of my modes tutorial.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=370

Also, because you can play the same note in more than one place on the guitar, it's useful to know & be able to play the major scale in it's many possible configurations.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=453
[QUOTE=jaeler]And with that, while I could figure out all the pentatonic fingerings, I'll take your advice, and just switch them to the chord. That will be a quick reference to change the scale. And well, I tried to work it out. It can't be done. How can I turn a D dorian scale into a C pentatonic without a D? It's not possible.

That's what I meant when I said as soon as you start playing pentatonic you are in essence disregarding the concept of diatonic modes, because you are only thinking about 5 notes, avoiding 2 that would flesh out the diatonic modes.

C major scale:
c-d-e-f-g-f-a-b

D dorian is just the C major scale starting on the 2nd scale degree.
d-e-f-g-a-b-c

But C major pentatonic leaves out the 4th (f) & 7th (b) & those are the notes that give the dorian mode all it's flavor!

In D dorian, the F note is the minor 3rd & the B note is the major 6th.

So now, without the characteristic minor 3rd & major 6th, you simply have 5 notes of C major pentatonic, but slightly shifted to start on D instead of C.

d-e-g-a-c

So, yes, C major pentatonic & D dorian share notes. But since 2 important notes are avoided it sounds a lot different.

If you'll work through this modes tutorial you can see how I use the pentatonic boxes as visual reference points to play the diatonic modes. But you have to put back in the 2 diatonic notes you left out when you changed to pentatonic.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=770

I really think those modes tutorials will clear up a lot of confusion! :) And even better, it will give you a way to apply them so you can start to think of them as sounds you can use & patterns you can play instead of remaining slippery abstractions that haven't been put to use in a practical context.
Christopher Schlegel
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jaeler
Registered User
Joined: 12/10/15
Posts: 14
12/31/2015 6:27 pm
I was looking at some of that stuff, and I liked how you would start one scale, then move to a mode to correspond to the chord change. I do that all the time on keys, its not really a scale change, more of a root note change in the same scale. With the guitar, its the mode that does that.

I'll have to go through all that stuff, just working on learning all the modes atm. Adding one a week, so another two weeks till I have them all. Also want to work on the harmonic minor scale, that's always been a favorite of mine. From C, that's a C minor, d major, g minor, an Eb major, and a nice d7th if you want to go more bluesy. Couple of weird diminished chords. It can also be really dark and mysterious.

Love your lessons, got my fingers dabbling in lots of places. Just starting on eruption (gonna have to work on tapping I think you call it. Easier on lower strings, I can get some cool sounding stuff, really tough on hi e, that said, having a lot of fun with the rhythm section. Having to discipline myself, want to do it my way, I can do that later. the notation is a lot tighter.), and I really love Bouree. (Saw you had guide on that) Can tell you a story bout that one. We have a Birthday today, Ian Anderson cried out. It is the Birthday of JS Bach. And this is a little song of his, how he might of played it if he played the blues....