Scale Modes Series


crimmunity
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Joined: 04/02/19
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crimmunity
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Joined: 04/02/19
Posts: 56
08/12/2023 1:00 pm

Hi Dave


Am really enjoying your new Scale Modes series so far


I would ask these questions in the chat, but I live in the UK and your livecast is 1am to 2am so unfortunately I can only view the replays and ask questions in this forum


The zoomed-in detailed view you are presenting is really good, however I'm struggling with a few concepts which may need a little more zoomed-out approach.  The zoomed-in approach is like your Private Trooper on a battlefield that has to fight one-on-one or small groups.  Whereas the Field General needs to view the whole battlefield from the top of his (safe!) mountaintop camp.


So I'm struggling with WHERE and WHEN these modes should be used?  e.g. like if you have a chord sequence in Key C, and you intentionally write the sequence as the home chord was the m2 chord -> is that when D-Dorian is applicable?  Or can you write a normal song in the key of C and use D-Dorian when the m2 chord is being played in the chord sequence?  Note, I'm not looking for a zoomed-in explanation of "this note fits here to move to this note blah blah"


So in a nutshell...
Where is it applicable to use Dorian, Ionian, etc.?
Is a surrogate Root chord needed to use non-Ionian? e.g. Dm in the Key of C
Do we need to use different modes on different chords in the progression?


Your real-world song examples are great, but your explanation only makes sense to that specific example.  Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get the wider inference at the moment.  Maybe if you added something like "Kid Charlemagne is in the Key of C, the chord Sequence is "Dm - G - C - Dm, so the m2 of C is being a surrogate root so here is where Dorian will fit right in".  Note, I have no idea if the example is remotely correct, but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.


Or maybe, "Hey guys, say you wrote a chord progression, Key of C, and it was C - Dm - F - G.  So that's I-ii-IV-V, so your options for modes are...".  And do a few examples that get a bit more non-diatonic with the chords, like "Dm - C - G - Bb, so here we have ii-I-V-bVII well this mixes it up because your modal options could now be...."


Giving us tools is great, but teaching us where it's appropriate to use those tools is of equal value.  Most of us only use the Minor Pentatonic because it mostly works on Major and Minor keys, it works "everywhere", which is why its good and bad.


Looking forward to the future episodes


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,395
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,395
08/13/2023 6:53 pm

I'm sure Dave will provide you with a great answer.  In the meantime, I've got a few tutorials on modes.  The first addresses the concept at a high level & deals with some of your questions.  Short answer, you've got the right idea & you can use modes in a variety of ways depending on your musical goals.


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/370


The others are more practical application of each mode in turn.


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/770


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/2630


Hope that helps!


 


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
crimmunity
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crimmunity
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08/14/2023 12:42 pm

Hi Christopher/Dave


Thank you for the links.  I have checked both Modes of Major Scale and Practicing Minor Modes up to the Dorian mode.  I'll be completing these courses for sure.


In both these courses the mechanics of the modes are taught very well, you cover
* 'absolute' intervals of the mode, counting 1st note as the Root
* how mode intervals relate to the major scale, e.g. counting M2 as 1st note for Dorian
* how mode fits within major scale
* how mode fits within minor pentatonic
* demonstrate sound/feel of mode by playing scale up and down with backing track
* demonstrate sound/feel of mode by playing 'chord tone lick' starting from R 3 5 


All of this is really good, but the examples used are more of an exercise/practice.  Admittedly, that is essential to understand the mechanics.


To clear up a lot of confusion on the mechanics of the modes why not simply provide something like the following prior to each lesson and focus more on the musical aspects?


<code>
===============================
---------   DORIAN   ----------
===============================
    W   H   W   W   W   H   W       STEPS
R   M2  m3  P4  P5  M6  m7  R       DORIAN MODE FORMULA
M2  M3  P4  P5  M6  M7  R   M2      MAJOR SCALE FORMULA
B   C#  D   E   F#  G#  A   B       B-DORIAN [NOTES KEY=A]



---  WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE?  ---     ----------------------
R   M2  M3  P4  P5  M6  M7  R       MAJOR SCALE [IONIAN]
        m3              m7          UNIQUE DORIAN INTERVALS


R       m3  P4  P5      m7  R       MINOR PENTATIONIC
    M2              M6              UNIQUE DORIAN INTERVALS


R   M2  M3      P5  M6      R       MAJOR PENTATIONIC
        m3  P4          m7          UNIQUE DORIAN INTERVALS
</code>
(How do you get monospace font on this forum?)



What is missing is an example (or a few) of playing a song type musical lick using the mode with the backing track.  Pointing out where the mode special notes are, and how that fits into the chord sequence and why it works.
Maybe also demonstrating the exact same lick but using a different mode, i.e. only changing the notes of the lick where intervals of that new mode differ.  Again, pointing out where the mode special notes are different and why it sounds bad


I think this is where a lot of people get hung up, not the mechanics of the modes but how to use them musically.  Why that particular mode sounds good (in that context), or better than another mode, or why you shouldn't use a mode.


Thanks


edited
# 3
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,395
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,395
08/14/2023 2:11 pm

You're welcome!  Addressing specific concerns.


"To clear up a lot of confusion on the mechanics of the modes why not simply provide something like the following prior to each lesson and focus more on the musical aspects?"


All of that information is in the text description of each lesson.


The intervals that make each mode unique & how they fit in the pentatonic boxes is covered in the context of the lessons.  I also cover it explicitly in my pentatonic tutorial.



"What is missing is an example (or a few) of playing a song type musical lick using the mode with the backing track.  Pointing out where the mode special notes are, and how that fits into the chord sequence and why it works."


Maybe it's too basic for what you are after, but that's exactly what I do in each lesson.  I use a chord progression that intentionally focuses on the harmonic structure of the mode.  For more in depth uses you might need to go to more advanced lessons or even songs that use these modes in a direct application.


"Maybe also demonstrating the exact same lick but using a different mode, i.e. only changing the notes of the lick where intervals of that new mode differ.  Again, pointing out where the mode special notes are different and why it sounds bad"


Again, maybe my example is too basic for what you are after, but in each tutorial I contrast & compare various modes for their unique sounds.  In the first tutorial I play all of them one after the other.  In the major & minor mode tutorials I compare & contrast 2 similar modes at a time to really focus on the differences as well as the similarities.



"I think this is where a lot of people get hung up, not the mechanics of the modes but how to use them musically.  Why that particular mode sounds good (in that context), or better than another mode, or why you shouldn't use a mode."


Some of that is going to be a personal preference.  In some cases it's straight forward, use a certain mode because it contains or emphasizes the notes of the melody or chords in the song.


Other times the harmony is ambiguous enough to allow a personal preference.  


But a lot of times in order to get to that level of application you need a musical example.  For example I go into practical musical uses of modes in this jazz lead guitar tutorial.


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/1757


Or you can look into some of my improvisation tutorials to get more musical examples of how to navigate chord progressions and modulation with modes.


Overall, I think if you already understand the material in the modes tutorials I linked, then you might be ready for a more in depth study of applications.  You might try a one-on-one lesson with Dave.  And I'm sure Dave has more to say about this topic in future tutorials!


Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 4
Dave Celentano
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Joined: 07/29/14
Posts: 358
Dave Celentano
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Joined: 07/29/14
Posts: 358
08/14/2023 2:56 pm
#1 Originally Posted by: crimmunity

Hi Dave


Am really enjoying your new Scale Modes series so far


I would ask these questions in the chat, but I live in the UK and your livecast is 1am to 2am so unfortunately I can only view the replays and ask questions in this forum


The zoomed-in detailed view you are presenting is really good, however I'm struggling with a few concepts which may need a little more zoomed-out approach.  The zoomed-in approach is like your Private Trooper on a battlefield that has to fight one-on-one or small groups.  Whereas the Field General needs to view the whole battlefield from the top of his (safe!) mountaintop camp.


So I'm struggling with WHERE and WHEN these modes should be used?  e.g. like if you have a chord sequence in Key C, and you intentionally write the sequence as the home chord was the m2 chord -> is that when D-Dorian is applicable?  Or can you write a normal song in the key of C and use D-Dorian when the m2 chord is being played in the chord sequence?  Note, I'm not looking for a zoomed-in explanation of "this note fits here to move to this note blah blah"


So in a nutshell...
Where is it applicable to use Dorian, Ionian, etc.?
Is a surrogate Root chord needed to use non-Ionian? e.g. Dm in the Key of C
Do we need to use different modes on different chords in the progression?


Your real-world song examples are great, but your explanation only makes sense to that specific example.  Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get the wider inference at the moment.  Maybe if you added something like "Kid Charlemagne is in the Key of C, the chord Sequence is "Dm - G - C - Dm, so the m2 of C is being a surrogate root so here is where Dorian will fit right in".  Note, I have no idea if the example is remotely correct, but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.


Or maybe, "Hey guys, say you wrote a chord progression, Key of C, and it was C - Dm - F - G.  So that's I-ii-IV-V, so your options for modes are...".  And do a few examples that get a bit more non-diatonic with the chords, like "Dm - C - G - Bb, so here we have ii-I-V-bVII well this mixes it up because your modal options could now be...."


Giving us tools is great, but teaching us where it's appropriate to use those tools is of equal value.  Most of us only use the Minor Pentatonic because it mostly works on Major and Minor keys, it works "everywhere", which is why its good and bad.


Looking forward to the future episodes

Great questions GT member and thank you Christopher for your quick and very detailed response! The modes are often made more complicated than needed. They boil down to focusing on the chord tones of each chord you are playing over, with the root chord of the mode being the main focus. 


I've just started the series and covered Ionian and Dorian so far (there's still five more modes to cover in the coming weeks). I do give one modal chord change example per mode and several popular songs that use the particular mode. After viewing all 14 weeks (2 weeks dedicated to each mode) if you still have questions you should schedule a live online 1 on 1 guitar coaching session with me (a one hour session would be ideal). In the live lesson I can give you additional curriculum not covered in the FREE YouTube class and answer your questions in more detail then in an email. The live lesson will help clear things up. Here's a link to my online guitar coaching:


https://guitartricks.as.me/schedule.php?calendarID=1274409


I hope to help you in detail in a live lesson.


-Dave Celentano


 


# 5
crimmunity
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crimmunity
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08/14/2023 3:28 pm

Hi Christopher


"Maybe it's too basic for what you are after, but that's exactly what I do in each lesson.  I use a chord progression that intentionally focuses on the harmonic structure of the mode.  For more in depth uses you might need to go to more advanced lessons or even songs that use these modes in a direct application."
...and...
"Again, maybe my example is too basic for what you are after, but in each tutorial I contrast & compare various modes for their unique sounds.  In the first tutorial I play all of them one after the other.  In the major & minor mode tutorials I compare & contrast 2 similar modes at a time to really focus on the differences as well as the similarities."


Yes, I agree with you 100%.  The chord progression examples and the contrast/compare examples are SUPERB.  I have only seen a few examples so far but will definitely study and complete these.  They have definitely helped me hear "the sound" more than any other lesson and help me get-it a bit more than I ever have previously


My comment was more a suggestion for improvement to the lessons, or perhaps an idea for a new lesson/course.  A common thing said is everyone struggles with the modes.  I think the reason for that is not understanding the mechanics on how the mode works, or the different set of steps in each mode.  I think the reason why everyone struggles is a lack of going through some non-scale-exercise-like example phrases in each mode.  You open the door to a new world that we've never experienced and go "ok, have fun".  And we as the learner stumble around and then go "what the...."


It's like your friend teaches you how to ride a bike... the front brake is here, gears up like this, gears down like that.  Then he says "ok have fun with it, see you around bud".  The friend should say, let's go down the skate park and try some stuff out.  Here, do a bunny-hop like this... how about doing this little jump onto the rail to slide..., etc.  Having gone through a few tricks the learner is then a little more confident to try stuff out.


Thank you for your detailed feedback, pointing me to your modes lessons, and pointing me to your Jazz lesson example too.  Jazz is a scary word but I'll give it a look.


# 6
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08/14/2023 3:38 pm

Thanks for your feedback Dave


I'll continue watching your modes course for its entire duration.  It has been good watching so far.  If you can put in more examples that would be fab 👍 


# 7

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