Do modes really exist?


Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
04/06/2003 2:01 pm
Modes are when you emphasis a note in a scale to give it a different flavour huh?
But what i was wondering is how i can use modes. Ive gotten to the point where i dont reaslly think of what scale im playing i seem to instinctively fall into one. So i'm kinda soloing away regardless of where the root lies, i just form cool riffs and moves and emphasis any note.

So wot i dont get- is why so many people go on about the importance of modes. Cant you just solo ias you like. 99% of the solos we votes as best in threads are ionian modes! Just basic blues n major n pent etc.
# 1
BarHook
Member
Joined: 10/06/02
Posts: 65
BarHook
Member
Joined: 10/06/02
Posts: 65
04/06/2003 7:39 pm
thats true, but i get what hes trying to say; at the end of the day instead of G mixolydian this and B locrian that, it really comes down to the fact that Mr.X is soloing in the key of C. ya know


but still, it would be the most posted thread in the forums if it didnt mean nething...
You are only free to do anything,
Once you've lost everything.
# 2
TheDirt
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/02
Posts: 569
TheDirt
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/02
Posts: 569
04/07/2003 2:34 am
All the best songs are in Ionian? Hmmm, for guitar freaks, how about Satriani's Flying in a Blue Dream... that's Lydian. For the more pop oriented crowd, Better Than Ezra's Desperately Wanting is in F Lydian. The chords are F, Am, G, C. Sure you could say that's in the key of C, but if you said to someone, we're going to jam in C, you start - would they play with a tonic of F? When you say, in the key of C, you imply that C is the focus of the progression. Do modes exist? It doesn't really matter... I mean, does the major scale itself exist? They're all just a convenient way to organize musical thoughts... the same with modes. If thinking in terms of modes doesn't work for you, don't. There aren't any strict rules on how you should think.
"You must stab him in the heart with the Bone Saber of Zumacalis... well, you could stab him in the head or the lungs, too... and the saber, it probably doesn't have to be bone, just anything sharp lying around the house... you could poke him with a pillow and kill him."

- Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Universal Re-Monster
# 3
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/07/2003 2:36 am
Although I believe you should play what you want to hear. Even when you follow that rule, you will tend to play in some sort of mode or scale. But modes and different scales are mainly used for harmonizing over a chord progression. Take a chord progression like C7 / Gm7 / Am7 / F7. Now of course you could use just a simple F major scale to play over the entire chord progression. Or you could break up the chord progression, and add alittle different flavor to it but using different scales/modes. To keep it short and sweet, I'll just show it with one chord. Play the F major scale over the first three chords, C7, Gm7, and Am7. But on the last chord F7, try playing F mixolydian over that chord instead of a simple F major scale. By altering the E to an Eb, you will get a more compatiable sound with the F dominant chord. Hopefully you get the idea. Understanding this will help bring light to your solos and music.

You can also play two different scales over one chord. Take a simple C major chord. For the first half of it you could play a regular C major scale, but for the second half you could play a C lydian scale. The lydian mode is probably my favorite mode cause the "#4" adds a sort of modern colorful sound. Just practice with them and learn how each effects the music when harmonizing over a chord.

You can also use them for composition but most of the time they fall back into their relative major or minor scale.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 4
BarHook
Member
Joined: 10/06/02
Posts: 65
BarHook
Member
Joined: 10/06/02
Posts: 65
04/07/2003 12:19 pm
somone likes my quote, mr.noticingthemistake ;p
You are only free to do anything,
Once you've lost everything.
# 5
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/07/2003 4:03 pm
:cool: Yeah it's a quote from the movie Fight Club. Awesome flick.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 6
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
04/10/2003 8:55 pm
What Im trying to say is that isnt it purely incidental that that I may be using the C major scale although the bed of the solo isnt based on C? It would have to be a pretty boring song to start annd stay based around opne chord, isnt that why songs modulate? So even tho I might start a song with an A5 power chord and play a lead run along to it using the C major scale- while im using a "mode" Im really only just staying in key!!
Its like passing notes or grace notes, i dont know the difference but its irrelevant! I use notes outwith the scale for effect and how you would define them isnt an issue.
The reason I say all this is because I hear you guys telling people to learn modes! But whats to learn?
Are modes only related to soloing and lead work? Or do you mean a mode is also where you might do a song in C major but then do the mid eight based on another note in the C mahjor scale, keeping it in key but giving it a differnt feel? In any case isnt that really just common sense, not sticking to the root the whole song otherwise it would be boring?
# 7
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
04/10/2003 10:36 pm
Axl_Rose - Dude , you definitely need to take a look at those basic scales and making chord triads outa them again before getting frustrated !

If this theory stuff isn't working quite well with ya , and you're satisfied with your writing/improvising abilities , then simply don't bother yourself , creativity is more important than theoretical analysis (although theroy can add some creativity).
# 8
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/11/2003 3:48 am
Axel-
I'd be more than willing to try to help you with what your asking. But I have no idea what you are asking..haha. I'll try to answer what you asked though. The first question about playing a C major scale over a solo that isn't in C major. In theory this can be done, and I'll go to when you said you would start out a song with an A5 chord and play a lead in C major. If you understand modes, or just relative major/minor. You would know that you were actually playing an A minor scale over the A5 chord. Since the A minor scale and the C major scale have the same notes, and it's just easily when you look at chords:scale/modes to match the root. But when your soloing over a group of chords in the same key, you can just solo in the root key scale. Although that can be even more boring, and I'll show you a simple example later.

Modulation is going from playing something in one key to playing something in another key.

A minor 'to' C major = relative minor/major modulation. Can be looked at as playing in a different mode but since modes don't have key signatures. It's not written that way. Like there's no key signature for writing a song in a harmonic minor scale, although it is done.

A minor 'to' B minor = foreign modulation. To do this, you need to find a common chord (pivot chord) that is apparent in both keys to make a smooth transaction to the following key. In this case E minor is apparent in both, as v in the A minor and iv in B minor.

Modulation allows for the movement to any chord you wish in a chord progression. In the end, modes play a very small role in modulation. Modes are written for harmonizing over a chord. If a song is written in a mode, the key signature is often it’s relative major or minor. But yeah, modes are used in solos and leads. A better way to look it might be melody.

Here's an simple example of how to do use a mode. (cut and paste in notebook)

Here's a chord progression in the key of C major.

F major / C major

Now say you come up with a little riff (melody) like this in C major over the F major chord.
e:--------------
b:--------------
g:----------4~--
d:--3-2-5-3-----
a:--------------
e:--------------

Now you wanted to play the same harmony over the C major chord using the C major scale still, it would be.
e:--------------
b:--------------
g:--------------
d:----------3~--
a:--3-2-5-3-----
e:--------------

Now if that's not what you wanted. Say you wanted to keep the same relationship (intervals) of the notes, like this.
e:--------------
b:--------------
g:--------------
d:----------4~--
a:--3-2-5-3-----
e:--------------

You should know that you did leave the C major scale, cause that last note F# is not in the C major scale. What you did was you played the C lydian mode instead of the C major scale. Knowing that the lydian mode is based on the IV chord in the major scale (in this case F in C major scale), you took the harmonic value you had with the F major chord and continued it with the root chord C major. Put them together in scale succession and you end up with F lydian then C lydian. Very common in music. Hopefully your seeing the concept, and you may be understanding modes a little more. This was just a beginning look at it. If you think about it for a minute, you can probably think up different ways to work with or manipulate it.

If you happy with what your writing without using much theory. Great! I would ride with that man, but understanding more about theory can open up a lot of doors and further your perspective on music. Later on.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 9
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/11/2003 3:36 pm
Yeah it could be looked at that way, but it's a very simple way and ultimately it does limit the understanding of harmony. Outside of writing a chord progression in a mode which I understand your trying to say aiwass.

Modes are used to explain the harmonic sound of playing a major scale over all the chords that exist in that major key (modernly speaking). Say your playing a C major scale over a F major chord, well that will produce one harmonic sound (lydian). Play the same scale over a C major chord and that will produce a different harmonic sound (ionian). What your trying to understand is the harmonic quality you get from using a certain mode. The greater understanding is distinguishing the harmonic sound of modes so you can freely utilize them later. Once this understanding is made sense, modes aren't just a branch off a major scale. As I wrote in the example before, you can see how it broadens your musical sight past just major and minor scales. It’s a slightly more advanced study of music, but once you learn to use them this way; they become an iatrical part in music paralysis. I’m just trying to get you to understand modes before you knock them, that’s all. They may help and they may not.

As for songs written in a key like C major, writing in the F lydian mode is very rare because the key signature ultimately reflects the last chord in the song. If you write a song in the key of C major, 95% of the time that song ends with a C major chord. So if a part of the song or all of the song is in F lydian, the key signature is easily written as F major. Even the F in F lydian is a major chord, it wouldn‘t be correctly written if it was C major.

Exceptions are modulation. Then the new key signature will end on that tonic chord. The other is like you say “modal“, but those songs will end unfinished. The F major chord is going to want to resolve back to the C major, if the key is C major. Choosing not to do that is an effect, and that’s all. What is the difference as your probably asking. Well it’s probably the first chord played or dominant chord in the song. Which when you write in a key signature, the first chord is either the V(v) chord or the I(i) chord. So in the key of C major that would be either F major or G dominant, in the key of F major (lydian); the difference would be either F major or C major. There is no dominant chord if the lydian scale is used. The natural dominant is G, which is the II7 chord in the lydian mode. Hopefully you see now.

[Edited by noticingthemistake on 04-11-2003 at 12:08 PM]
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 10
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
04/11/2003 8:49 pm
noticingthemistake mentioned harmonic quality of playing C major over an F major chord as opposed to over the C major chord, this being an example of a mode. Well Im saying that when i write songs i do this without caring how it would be classed. I would never dream of playing my C major solo over just the C major chord!
I know chord forumalas and many scales, Im not speaking from ignorance, i just question how necessary it is to know what mode your playing, when all that matters is what sounds good!
The mixo something mode is one Slash my hero has used a few tmes, are you guys saying he picked that mode as opposed to it just turning out like that? beacuse i get the feel the old slash master aint aware of modes as such!


[Edited by Axl_Rose on 04-11-2003 at 03:53 PM]
# 11
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/11/2003 10:15 pm
Depends on the person I guess. If you find that your able to play what you want to hear without thinking in terms of what mode your playing. That's great, like I said before I'd ride with that. That is what music is about; theory is just the knowledge of how to understand things and sometimes pull them off.

I think the understanding is very important though. It's like if you wanted to play over a major chord and you wanted a major sound (just an example). Well knowing your scales you know that all the notes in the sound your looking for are in the major scale. You don't need to look for all the right notes, you just know the major scale and you play it. This helps tremendously with improve. The same thing goes with all the others scales, like modes, harmonic minors, and exotic scales. The idea is you know your going to get a certain harmonic sound by playing a certain scale. The same goes with if you come up with a cool lick over a certain chord. By knowing what scale/mode it is in, you will better understand how to bring that sound back whenever. Like in the tabbed example I did in the previous post. It's much easier to know and acknowledge what you did by understanding that part was in the lydian mode. Then you could continue it over the C major chord. The thing is, it's a lot harder to think in terms of how you got a certain sound by just playing a generalized scale over a group of chords. The easier to look at each chord individually and analyze what you did. Maybe at some point you will come up with a chord progression that doesn’t fit in a major/minor sequence. Like Bmaj / Cmaj / Dmaj / D#maj / G#major.. or something, I’m just making it up but you should get the idea. Now if you wanted to harmonize it in a lydian harmony. It would be very easy, opposed to if you were looking for all the right notes over each chord or trying to generalize it with one scale. Just repeat the lick in B lydian, C lydian, D lydian, and so on, or whatever scale you want to use. (*Note: Make sure it fits the chord though.)

I’m not telling you stop what your doing and make sure you know this and that when you play. Go with what you are comfortable with and feel more creativity doing. But knowing this knowledge, maybe there might come a time when you play something that sounds really frickin kool. It’s very good to be able to look back at it and understand what you did, so maybe you can utilize it more freely in the future. Or whatever use you may want out of it. I think this is how styles are created, like satriani uses the lydian scale a lot, well now he knows how to get that sound in a second by just knowing to play a lydian scale over a major chord. And believe me at those speeds you don’t have time to think up every note your going to play, you just know your going to get that sound by playing something in a lydian scale.

As for Slash, I couldn’t speak for him anymore than anyone else. But I did read an article in a guitar magazine (I think) where he talked about the intro to Sweet Child O’Mine. He did address that he used that mode (i can’t remember which one it was, it been awhile since I heard the song and I read the article a long time ago). Anyways, I’m guessing he was aware of it. I’ve read quite a few stuff where certain guitarists like certain modes, Kirk Hammett, Yngwie, and few others. It is a lot easier to break a guitar solo (especially improve) by what scale your going to play, than it is to think up every note. Like I showed you with the chord progression I wrote above. All you got to do is know where the chord changes are and what scale/mode your going to use over that chord. I know harder than it sounds, but that’s a basic mentality of it.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 12
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
04/12/2003 1:47 am
Originally posted by Axl_Rose
... i just question how necessary it is to know what mode your playing, when all that matters is what sounds good!


If figuring it out bothers you , then it isn't necessary at all.

I heard too that Slash has got nothing to do with music theory , and he used some modes and harmonic minor scale probably without even knowing what are these called.

To write good music, all you have to know is when does it sound right or wrong.
# 13
griphon2
Senior Member
Joined: 08/14/02
Posts: 297
griphon2
Senior Member
Joined: 08/14/02
Posts: 297
04/16/2003 12:46 am
Notes are notes. If you want to politically control them, move to Syria or China. These notes are existing and produceable sounds, just simply play them in any context. You can't make a mistake by doing nothing, unless doing nothing is the mistake.

The actual word is anything. The irony is nothing.
A lie goes around the world before the truth gets it's shoes on. (Mark Twain)
# 14
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
Axl_Rose
Registered User
Joined: 04/08/01
Posts: 1,258
04/17/2003 10:32 am
Originally posted by griphon2
You can't make a mistake by doing nothing, unless doing nothing is the mistake.


What have you been smokin pal? that made no sense!
# 15
TheDirt
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/02
Posts: 569
TheDirt
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/02
Posts: 569
04/17/2003 1:59 pm
Originally posted by Axl_Rose

The mixo something mode is one Slash my hero has used a few tmes, are you guys saying he picked that mode as opposed to it just turning out like that? beacuse i get the feel the old slash master aint aware of modes as such!


Two mechanics are equally good at their profession. One went to 4 years of tech school after high school. The other has been doing car work with his dad in his backyard all his life. They are both good, but they got there different ways... notice which way took longer. Knowledge can't hurt as long as you keep good taste (playing your "SuperBananaLick!" over every dominant chord you ever encounter gets boring)
"You must stab him in the heart with the Bone Saber of Zumacalis... well, you could stab him in the head or the lungs, too... and the saber, it probably doesn't have to be bone, just anything sharp lying around the house... you could poke him with a pillow and kill him."

- Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Universal Re-Monster
# 16
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/20/2003 4:01 pm
Originally posted by SLY
I heard too that Slash has got nothing to do with music theory , and he used some modes and harmonic minor scale probably without even knowing what are these called.


Yeah he may not of known the names or even that he was using a particular mode, but thats not the point. The point is the effect and sound each scale/mode has on a chord. Whether it's called lydian, or "ewwgahbugah" doesn't mean anything. Take the notes that are in the lydian scale compared to the major scale. The #4 has a colorful tone when played over a major chord, much better that the natural 4th which is somewhat dull. So knowing to play a #4 over a major to get that colorful sound is the point. I think even Slash understood that as all musicians should. The same goes with all the scales and modes.

If you more into playing with feeling that cool. But I believe that playing with feeling involves alot of understanding to be able to use it properly. Say your playing over a simple major chord with nothing more than just feeling. Now you hit a "b3", can you say you understand what you did and how to continue with it. It may sound very off and weird, and you may find yourself correcting it back to a natural 3rd. If you understood it, you would know you played the major blues note (I know b5 is the blues notes, but over a major chord it's the flat 3rd. Used alot in country music but it's a nice tone to slide into a nice blues lick.) So with that you naturally know the music wants to go into a blues type fill, and thats probably where you wanted to go with feeling. But now you understand it better, so you be able to pull it off faster and may avoid the jumpyness that can sometimes occur.

Sometimes to play with true feeling it does take some theory to make it happen. Excluding theory because your a proud feeling player can limit your potential. So experiment and try things in theory, you may learn alot more than you think. Ultimately better you ability to play with feeling.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 17
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
04/21/2003 1:11 pm
Dude , you misunderstood me ... I never meant to say that theory is worthless or something , but I'm seeing some people having so much trouble & confusion getting along with it , so I just wanted to say that some realy cool guitarist donno sh*t about theory and they can still play good (Probably they might have played better if they knew more about theory) .

My point was if it's realy hard and bothering you to get into it , you don't need more than chord names and a bunch of scale patterns to play .
# 18
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
noticingthemistake
Crime Fighter
Joined: 08/04/02
Posts: 1,518
04/21/2003 3:08 pm
SLY - I know what you mean man. I'm not trying to argue with you and maybe I did misunderstand you. But that's just the thing with the internet, you don't really know how people are saying it and sometimes just words don't express what people mean by what they say. Maybe I should stop replying until I can find a way to keep from making everything I say into an arguement.
"My whole life is a dark room...ONE BIG DARK ROOM" - a.f.i.
# 19
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
SLY
Un-Registered User
Joined: 08/08/02
Posts: 1,613
04/21/2003 3:13 pm
Man , there's no problem with arguments or misunderstandings as long as long as we clear things up. :)
# 20

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.