Modal improvising

Guitar Tricks Forum > Music Theory > Modal improvising

New Member

Joined: 05/25/01

Posts: 13

Hi to all!
I need some help!
I want to use modal scales to improvise,but i don't know how!
For example,if i have a chord progression in C major tonality(for example C major,A minor,D minor,G7),can i use C Dorian(D dorian is equal of B flat major scale) to improvise?
Or do i have to use only C ionian?
Or do i have to use C ionian upon C major,A eolian upon A minor,D dorian upon D minor and G mixolidian upon G7?
Or do i have to use major modes upon major chord and minor modes upon minor chords?
Please give me a help!!
Thanks a lot

Antonio

#1

Hi to all!
I need some help!
I want to use modal scales to improvise,but i don't know how!
For example,if i have a chord progression in C major tonality(for example C major,A minor,D minor,G7),can i use C Dorian(D dorian is equal of B flat major scale) to improvise?
Or do i have to use only C ionian?
Or do i have to use C ionian upon C major,A eolian upon A minor,D dorian upon D minor and G mixolidian upon G7?
Or do i have to use major modes upon major chord and minor modes upon minor chords?
Please give me a help!!
Thanks a lot

Antonio

High Bandwidth

Joined: 08/31/01

Posts: 1319

hey, I'm taking it you know something about music since the progression you used as an example was a 1 6 2 5 .

For modes all your doing is taking the major scale and starting and stopping on different notes. The're are 2 ways u want to think of them 1)diatonically 2)as tonal systems within themselve.

Diatonically;
Every major scale has 7 possible modes, here they are in order of there appearance 1)Major (ionian) 2)dorian 3) phrygian 4) lydian 5)mixolydian 6)aeolian 7)locrian

the sound quality of each mode will be reflected by the chord that is built on that scale degree (if you need help w/this, just ask)

In diatonic situations think of the modes as extensions of the major scale to help you get around the fretboard

2)tonal systems;
as musicians modes offer us choices. For instance if your soloing over a D- chord try using all possible minor mode possibilities (dorian, phrygian, aeolian)or combine all 3 into 1 scale!

remember, scales are just studies of notes played in sequence and the tonalities they create, don't take them to literal when creating. The best thing scales will do for u is train your ear to know what these things sound like. The more u play u will realize its not what you play, but how you play it. Any note will work against any chord if it is appraoched properly, if you don't believe me pick up an Omni Book & check out the music of Charlie Parker

good luck, have fun

#2

hey, I'm taking it you know something about music since the progression you used as an example was a 1 6 2 5 .

For modes all your doing is taking the major scale and starting and stopping on different notes. The're are 2 ways u want to think of them 1)diatonically 2)as tonal systems within themselve.

Diatonically;
Every major scale has 7 possible modes, here they are in order of there appearance 1)Major (ionian) 2)dorian 3) phrygian 4) lydian 5)mixolydian 6)aeolian 7)locrian

the sound quality of each mode will be reflected by the chord that is built on that scale degree (if you need help w/this, just ask)

In diatonic situations think of the modes as extensions of the major scale to help you get around the fretboard

2)tonal systems;
as musicians modes offer us choices. For instance if your soloing over a D- chord try using all possible minor mode possibilities (dorian, phrygian, aeolian)or combine all 3 into 1 scale!

remember, scales are just studies of notes played in sequence and the tonalities they create, don't take them to literal when creating. The best thing scales will do for u is train your ear to know what these things sound like. The more u play u will realize its not what you play, but how you play it. Any note will work against any chord if it is appraoched properly, if you don't believe me pick up an Omni Book & check out the music of Charlie Parker

good luck, have fun

New Member

Joined: 05/25/01

Posts: 13

Thanks for your reply!
In diatonically use,you said tha the sound quality of each mode is reflected on the chord that is built on that scale degree.Do you mean that a D Dorian will work best than an A Aeolian an D- chord?
Correct me if i'm wrong:if we are in tonality of C major and we use D dorian on D minor chord,E phrigyan on E minor chord,F Lydian on F major chord,G mixolidyan on G major chord, A aeolian on A minor chord and B Locrian on B diminished triad (if we are using chords built only with three notes) we are using modes diatonically.But if we use modes diatonically, we always use the same 7 notes!In improvising you can play all notes in each manner,so how can anyone recognize which mode are you using?
Or maybe when you use modes diatonically you have to build melodic cell(for example 1st 3rd and 4th note of the mode) and repeat it over all chords;in my example you should have

1)Cmajor
Related mode:Ionian
Notes: C E F
2)Aminor
Related mode:Aeolian
Notes: A C D
3)Dminor
Related mode:Dorian
Notes: D F G
4)G7
Related mode:Mixolidyan
Notes: G B C

IS THIS THE WAY TO USE MODES DIATONICALLY?
If it is not can you make me a chord progression with related sequence of notes to use over any chord?
Can you make me other example using modes with tonal system?
Thanks!
Antonio

#3

Thanks for your reply!
In diatonically use,you said tha the sound quality of each mode is reflected on the chord that is built on that scale degree.Do you mean that a D Dorian will work best than an A Aeolian an D- chord?
Correct me if i'm wrong:if we are in tonality of C major and we use D dorian on D minor chord,E phrigyan on E minor chord,F Lydian on F major chord,G mixolidyan on G major chord, A aeolian on A minor chord and B Locrian on B diminished triad (if we are using chords built only with three notes) we are using modes diatonically.But if we use modes diatonically, we always use the same 7 notes!In improvising you can play all notes in each manner,so how can anyone recognize which mode are you using?
Or maybe when you use modes diatonically you have to build melodic cell(for example 1st 3rd and 4th note of the mode) and repeat it over all chords;in my example you should have

1)Cmajor
Related mode:Ionian
Notes: C E F
2)Aminor
Related mode:Aeolian
Notes: A C D
3)Dminor
Related mode:Dorian
Notes: D F G
4)G7
Related mode:Mixolidyan
Notes: G B C

IS THIS THE WAY TO USE MODES DIATONICALLY?
If it is not can you make me a chord progression with related sequence of notes to use over any chord?
Can you make me other example using modes with tonal system?
Thanks!
Antonio

High Bandwidth

Joined: 08/31/01

Posts: 1319

A D dorian scale would sound best when applied over a D- chord, but when you are soloing you are not playing scales up & down, you are creating melodies, so trying to match up each mode with the chords flying by will drive you crazy. Not to mention you are going to be spending more energy trying to figure out which mode your in then you are on creative thinking. Here's some tips, I hope you find them usefull;

1) when soloing over a diatonic progression think the major scale that the chords relate to
2) the strongest note you can play over a chord is another chord tone

lets use your 1 6 2 5 prog as an ex.(C A- D- G)

C & A- are closely related, so I would first get use to improvising in the C maj scale phrasing around the notes c,e,&g
D- & G are closely related (they both have a tonic resolution to the 1 chord )so for the 2nd part of that progression I would phrase to the gbd&f

so I've now just narrowed down that 4 chord progression to two parts, playing the 7 notes of the diatonic scale and phrasing to the notes that will be reflected by the passing harmony

This is only 1 way of looking at things, the possabilities are endless, but this is a good way to start. Remember, don't over intellectualize, let your ear have the final say.

check out this website for some great improvisational tips...www.jimmybruno.com

#4

A D dorian scale would sound best when applied over a D- chord, but when you are soloing you are not playing scales up & down, you are creating melodies, so trying to match up each mode with the chords flying by will drive you crazy. Not to mention you are going to be spending more energy trying to figure out which mode your in then you are on creative thinking. Here's some tips, I hope you find them usefull;

1) when soloing over a diatonic progression think the major scale that the chords relate to
2) the strongest note you can play over a chord is another chord tone

lets use your 1 6 2 5 prog as an ex.(C A- D- G)

C & A- are closely related, so I would first get use to improvising in the C maj scale phrasing around the notes c,e,&g
D- & G are closely related (they both have a tonic resolution to the 1 chord )so for the 2nd part of that progression I would phrase to the gbd&f

so I've now just narrowed down that 4 chord progression to two parts, playing the 7 notes of the diatonic scale and phrasing to the notes that will be reflected by the passing harmony

This is only 1 way of looking at things, the possabilities are endless, but this is a good way to start. Remember, don't over intellectualize, let your ear have the final say.

check out this website for some great improvisational tips...www.jimmybruno.com

lanegreyy59

Registered User

Joined: 11/15/20

Posts: 3

i

Originally Posted by:
Thanks for your reply!
In diatonically use,you said tha the sound quality of each mode is reflected on the chord that is built on that scale degree.Do you mean that a D Dorian will work best than an A Aeolian an D- chord?
Correct me if i'm wrong:if we are in tonality of C major and we use D dorian on D minor chord,E phrigyan on E minor chord,F Lydian on F major chord,G mixolidyan on G major chord, A aeolian on A minor chord and B Locrian on B diminished triad (if we are using chords built only with three notes) we are using modes diatonically.But if we use modes diatonically, we always use the same 7 notes!In improvising you can play all notes in each manner,so how can anyone recognize which mode are you using?
Or maybe when you use modes diatonically you have to build melodic cell(for example 1st 3rd and 4th note of the mode) and repeat it over all chords;in my example you should have

1)Cmajor
Related mode:Ionian
Notes: C E F
2)Aminor
Related mode:Aeolian
Notes: A C D
3)Dminor
Related mode:Dorian
Notes: D F G
4)G7
Related mode:Mixolidyan
Notes: G B C

IS THIS THE WAY TO USE MODES DIATONICALLY?
If it is not can you make me a chord progression with related sequence of notes to use over any chord?
Can you make me other example using modes with tonal system?
Thanks!
Antonio

#5

i

Originally Posted by:
Thanks for your reply!
In diatonically use,you said tha the sound quality of each mode is reflected on the chord that is built on that scale degree.Do you mean that a D Dorian will work best than an A Aeolian an D- chord?
Correct me if i'm wrong:if we are in tonality of C major and we use D dorian on D minor chord,E phrigyan on E minor chord,F Lydian on F major chord,G mixolidyan on G major chord, A aeolian on A minor chord and B Locrian on B diminished triad (if we are using chords built only with three notes) we are using modes diatonically.But if we use modes diatonically, we always use the same 7 notes!In improvising you can play all notes in each manner,so how can anyone recognize which mode are you using?
Or maybe when you use modes diatonically you have to build melodic cell(for example 1st 3rd and 4th note of the mode) and repeat it over all chords;in my example you should have

1)Cmajor
Related mode:Ionian
Notes: C E F
2)Aminor
Related mode:Aeolian
Notes: A C D
3)Dminor
Related mode:Dorian
Notes: D F G
4)G7
Related mode:Mixolidyan
Notes: G B C

IS THIS THE WAY TO USE MODES DIATONICALLY?
If it is not can you make me a chord progression with related sequence of notes to use over any chord?
Can you make me other example using modes with tonal system?
Thanks!
Antonio

ddreamoutlandd

Registered User

Joined: 05/11/21

Posts: 1

Originally Posted by:
A D dorian scale would sound best when applied over a D- chord, but when you are soloing you are not playing scales up & down, you are creating melodies, so trying to match up each mode with the chords flying by will drive you crazy. Not to mention you are going to be spending more energy trying to figure out which mode your in then you are on creative thinking. Here's some tips, I hope you find them usefull;[/p]

1) when soloing over a diatonic progression think the major scale that the chords relate to
2) the strongest note you can play over a chord is another chord tone

lets use your 1 6 2 5 prog as an ex.(C A- D- G)

C & A- are closely related, so I would first get use to improvising in the C maj scale phrasing around the notes c,e,&g
D- & G are closely related (they both have a tonic resolution to the 1 chord )so for the 2nd part of that progression I would phrase to the gbd&f

so I've now just narrowed down that 4 chord progression to two parts, playing the 7 notes of the diatonic scale and phrasing to the notes that will be reflected by the passing harmony

This is only 1 way of looking at things, the possabilities are endless, but this is a good way to start. Remember, don't over intellectualize, let your ear have the final say.

check out this website for some great improvisational tips...www.jimmybruno.com

Awesome. I'm diving in then!

#6

Originally Posted by:
A D dorian scale would sound best when applied over a D- chord, but when you are soloing you are not playing scales up & down, you are creating melodies, so trying to match up each mode with the chords flying by will drive you crazy. Not to mention you are going to be spending more energy trying to figure out which mode your in then you are on creative thinking. Here's some tips, I hope you find them usefull;[/p]

1) when soloing over a diatonic progression think the major scale that the chords relate to
2) the strongest note you can play over a chord is another chord tone

lets use your 1 6 2 5 prog as an ex.(C A- D- G)

C & A- are closely related, so I would first get use to improvising in the C maj scale phrasing around the notes c,e,&g
D- & G are closely related (they both have a tonic resolution to the 1 chord )so for the 2nd part of that progression I would phrase to the gbd&f

so I've now just narrowed down that 4 chord progression to two parts, playing the 7 notes of the diatonic scale and phrasing to the notes that will be reflected by the passing harmony

This is only 1 way of looking at things, the possabilities are endless, but this is a good way to start. Remember, don't over intellectualize, let your ear have the final say.

check out this website for some great improvisational tips...www.jimmybruno.com

Awesome. I'm diving in then!