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stewblack

Modes and chords question

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1 hour ago, stewblack said:

This ☝️ is great. Thank you @csmallett

Shame I don't own any other instruments or I'd make my own backing tracks.

Happy to help. There are plenty on youtube. Here's two which those modes will work over

 

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21 hours ago, csmallett said:

But they're not. They have all the same notes, just not necessarily in the same order ;)

What I should have said is that since those modes are all derived from the same parent scale then if you play them over a static Dm7 chord then you're still just spelling out the same intervals relative to the Dm7 chord. It doesn't matter if you're thinking of it as C ionian, D dorian, G mixolydian or any other mode of C major; the listener will still hear you outlining a D minor chord with a natural 9 and a major 6.

As I said before, I agree that thinking about the scale from different perspectives will lead you to play different phrases and emphasise certain pitches over others and lots of famous players (Gary Willis, Evan Marien, Anthony Jackson and many others) openly admit that they 'convert' chord harmony to fit their preferred scale choices; most of us do this habitually when we default to playing the minor pentatonic scale over a major chord. The point is that you're still using the same pool of notes, so the overall sound won't vary that much... I also don't think that this line of thinking is particularly helpful in the early stages of learning modes and improvising.

Anyway, apologies @stewblack for derailing the thread.

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1 hour ago, TKenrick said:

when we default to playing the minor pentatonic scale over a major chord.

Firstly you haven't derailed anything you've deepened the conversation.

Secondly the word default up there made me smile as I thought I was so clever when I 'invented' this idea the other day. Turns out maybe I didn't invent it any more than James Watt invented the steam engine. Dammit.

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3 hours ago, TKenrick said:

also don't think that this line of thinking is particularly helpful in the early stages of learning modes and improvising.

I knew what you meant, I was just being pedantic :)

Interesting point. I was having this discussion on another thread - if your goal is to play over a chord pattern and connect your brain to the fretboard asap, you're definitely right. But is it "Knowing" modes and understanding their relationships to chords and how to apply the feel of a given mode? 

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14 hours ago, csmallett said:

 But is it "Knowing" modes and understanding their relationships to chords and how to apply the feel of a given mode? 

The outcome for any of the approaches depends entirely on the musicality of the player. As others have already said in this thread, everything that we're discussing involves putting labels on things to explain why certain sounds are 'correct' and others aren't. Having lots of different 'harmonic perspectives' (for lack of a better term) doesn't necessarily mean that you'll fair any better at improvising than someone who just knows that they should play mode X over chord Y. What matters is the end result; the music. There are tons of great players who don't know much theory, and lots of terrible players who know a lot.

Off topic, but I think that a chord scale/mode approach to improvising (both basslines and solos) leads me to play much less musically than focusing on chord tones (again, a different view of the same notes). Horses for courses, but I think it's worth pointing out for people who are investing lots of time slogging away with modes and not getting the results that they want.

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Good improvisation is a mix of linear, intervallic, diatonic and dissonant ideas, based on themes that hopefully link together to make a musical statement. For bass players it is often a good idea to start out improvising with chord tones precisely because it gets you away from playing linear scale ideas and into the habit of playing in a more intervallic way - which is more interesting to the ear. 

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5 hours ago, TKenrick said:

Off topic, but I think that a chord scale/mode approach to improvising (both basslines and solos) leads me to play much less musically than focusing on chord tones (again, a different view of the same notes). Horses for courses, but I think it's worth pointing out for people who are investing lots of time slogging away with modes and not getting the results that they want.

This is very important. I am not looking to learn to improvise. I have been jamming with other musicians for a very long time. 

I am interested in learning more about the theories underlying what I'm doing 

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3 hours ago, FDC484950 said:

improvisation is a mix of linear, intervallic, diatonic and dissonant ideas, 

Putting this in my 'favourite sentences' folder! 

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My particular forest became a little easier to roam when Scott Devine gave me Gary Willis as a guide. We stopped in a glade and GW started to explain the sylvan system to me. I wot very little what he said, got bored and wandered off.  But then I had an epifanny and took on board the sub currents of what he was trying to tell me.  It doesn't matter where you wander in the wood, you're still taking a walk in the woods. Think about making music and not following systems.  Systems are what you need when you're designing a petrochemical plant.  In the wood, you're on a walk: in music all notes start to work if you focus on making music and not being a note mechanic.  In ways that I can't fully explain a good many puzzles became unpuzzled.  

I get into trouble when I post about fretless being good for this.  With fretless you create the note, reach for it, listen to it. confirm it.  Fretted basses, like nuts and bolts and pipes, lends themselves to crafting systems. They encourage 'playing by numbers'.  It is perhaps no coincidence that Willis plays fretless.  

All will become clear, glasshopper

 

Edited by lownote12
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6 hours ago, TKenrick said:

I think that a chord scale/mode approach to improvising (both basslines and solos) leads me to play much less musically than focusing on chord tones

I agree with this 9/10 particularly for basslines. As far as the musicality of it, surely playing a certain mode for long enough will increase your ability to create with it in your "Mental musical voice" and then find it on the fretboard? 

I also agree with how obnoxious a lot of players (Particularly the guitar-gods associated with playing modes) sound. We need to remember that practising and writing are separate things, and what we do to increase our musical palette (Specific, narrow-field practise) doesn't need to dictate what we paint, or how we paint it. 

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3 hours ago, csmallett said:

what we do to increase our musical palette (Specific, narrow-field practise) doesn't need to dictate what we paint, or how we paint it

Nodding vigorously at this too. 

When I play covers, bits that I like inevitably end up in my own repertoire. Altered, with my sound and style. All I am hoping to achieve here is finding more 'bits' I like. 

Not forgetting the pleasure I'm getting from just learning about modes. It's not a chore, it's a joy. 

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The way I see it, at its simplest level use the Mixolydian for dominant chords, Locrian for (half) diminished chords, Dorian for minor chords, and Ionian for major chords. The others(Lydian for major chords, and Aeolian and Phrygian for minor chords) are used for 'colour'. You can get an idea of the different colour of each mode by playing them all from the same root note.

 

Don't think of Ionian starting on C, Dorian beginning on D and so on. If you remember and understand the modes in terms of their scale degree and how it is different to the major scale. For example Dorian is the major scale but with flat 3rd and flat 7th.

 

I personally wouldn't focus too much on modes, but just be aware that they're there as a tool to be used for musical colour, especially if you want to solo. Practicing 7th chord arpeggios for major, minor, dominant, and half diminished chords is far more important imo. That's most of what you'll ever need for almost all gigs and in almost all genres.

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2 hours ago, TheLowDown said:

The way I see it, at its simplest level use the Mixolydian for dominant chords, Locrian for (half) diminished chords, Dorian for minor chords, and Ionian for major chords. The others(Lydian for major chords, and Aeolian and Phrygian for minor chords) are used for 'colour'. You can get an idea of the different colour of each mode by playing them all from the same root note.

 

Don't think of Ionian starting on C, Dorian beginning on D and so on. If you remember and understand the modes in terms of their scale degree and how it is different to the major scale. For example Dorian is the major scale but with flat 3rd and flat 7th.

 

I personally wouldn't focus too much on modes, but just be aware that they're there as a tool to be used for musical colour, especially if you want to solo. Practicing 7th chord arpeggios for major, minor, dominant, and half diminished chords is far more important imo. That's most of what you'll ever need for almost all gigs and in almost all genres.

Yep! Keeping each mode in the same key allows you to hear their differences, and stops each one sounding like it should resolve to whatever key you started in! 

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On 12/10/2020 at 17:45, FDC484950 said:

Modes are scale sequences built on each degree of a scale. So you take the major scale and build scales on each note. 1st degree is Ionian, then Dorian on 2nd degree, etc. This can also inform an appropriate group of notes to play on a chord progression, depending on where a chord sits. Each one conveys a particular sound:

E.g. A VI-III-II-V-I progression in C

VI = Am7, use Aeolian mode

III = Em7, use Phrygian mode

II = Dm7, use Dorian mode

V = G7, use Mixolydian mode

I = Cmaj7, use Ionian mode

Minor keys are different. You tend to use modes from different melodic minor scales within the same chord sequence.

Example II-V-I in C minor

II = Dm7b5, use D Locrian #2 mode from F melodic minor scale

V = G7alt, use G Superlocrian mode from Ab melodic minor scale

I = Cminmaj7 (often substituted as its  written as a plain Cmin or Cmin7 in jazz charts), use C melodic minor scale

Fun fact: in a minor II-V, anything you ply over the II chord using F melodic minor sounds will work shifted up a minor third over the V)

It became more interesting when modes started to be used for their sound in their own right, being held for longer, rather than as part of a standard cycle of fourths chord progression (as above). “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis is basically a study in major modes, and “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock also contains lots of so-called “Modal” jazz sounds.

In terms of interesting, most pop/rock music tends to stick to the more prosaic-sounding (major) modes, but when it comes to jazz you can stretch out and substitute a straightforward-sounding mode for a more interesting and exotic sound - which is the basis for reharmonisation.

There really isn’t much more to it than that (well, about 50 years of practice!)

To start off with, all you need is a Major scale and a melodic minor scale. Build a scale off of each scale tone and listen to the sounds.

Edit. This one-page resource is fairly helpful as a start point for melodic minor harmony: https://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/melodic-minor-modes/

 

Thanks for this i have started dabbling a bit with Theory i have a understanding of the Modes when in Major Key....but clueless with the Minor Scales (Natural, Melodic and Harmonic) even though i have been playing years....it's definitely something i need to address.

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On 09/11/2020 at 12:23, stewblack said:

Putting this in my 'favourite sentences' folder! 

I initially thought of get Linear, Intervallic, Dissonant and Lugubrious... sorry for the shameless supermarket plug ;)

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