Bit of confusion over the modes

sidk47

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537
Hi guys.
The lydian mode is said to be a major scale with a raised 4th.

C major - C Dm Em F G A Bdim
C lydian - C Dm Em F# G A Bdim

However, it doesn't seem to work that way. Can somebody tell me why?

Thanking you in advance,
Siddharth.
You can call me sid.
 

dewey decibel

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10,729
Hi guys.
The lydian mode is said to be a major scale with a raised 4th.

C major - C Dm Em F G A Bdim
C lydian - C Dm Em F# G A Bdim

However, it doesn't seem to work that way. Can somebody tell me why?

Thanking you in advance,
Siddharth.
You can call me sid.
The lydian scale is a major scale with a raised 4th.

C D E F# G A B C

Harmonizing that scale gives you these chords:

Cmaj D7 Emin F#minb5 Gmaj Amin Bmin

We're actually in the key of G here. Make sense?
 

sidk47

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537
Yes dewey decibel, it makes a bit of sense. I guess, when people say it's a major scale with a raised 4th, they are talking about the notes, not the chords. The chords are then formed or "harmonized" from the notes. This leads to differences in major and minor and diminished. I kind of get it now. Bythe way is a minor flat five, the same as a diminished chord? What's the difference? Sorry to convolute this post.
 

dewey decibel

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This leads to differences in major and minor and diminished.
Sort of but not really, it's the same pattern just starting on a different note. Instead of starting on C for C major we're starting on G for C lydian. From there it's the same pattern of half steps and whole steps, all the chords are the same distance apart. Follow?

It's important to know how to harmonize a scale. Do you understand how to do that?

Bythe way is a minor flat five, the same as a diminished chord? What's the difference? Sorry to convolute this post.
At this point we're only talking about triads, so a diminished triad is the same as a minb5 triad. That diminished triad is built of stacked minor 3rds, which is root, b3rd, b5th- which essentially is minb5. When you extend those chords you get different things, and that's where you get the term half diminished for example, but I honestly wouldn't worry about that right now. Just get the triads down.
 

sidk47

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Sort of but not really, it's the same pattern just starting on a different note. Instead of starting on C for C major we're starting on G for C lydian. From there it's the same pattern of half steps and whole steps, all the chords are the same distance apart. Follow?

It's important to know how to harmonize a scale. Do you understand how to do that?
Yes, I kind of follow. You're basically telling me that C lydian has the same chords as G major. And also, the major has
I ii iii IV V vi viib5

If I start from IV, and mark it as I, I get
I II iii ivb5 V vi vii

As for harmonizing, I don't really know how, but if I stack thirds on top, then I guess I can harmonize. That's my best guess. Or maybe I have to stack the notes of the scale on top. I don't exactly know.
 

hacker

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1,172
Try to look at the notes of the triads in each scale as well:

C maj:

CEG
DFA (D minor)
EGB (E minor)
FAC (F major)
GBD (G major-would be G7 if added F note)
ACE (A minor)
BDF (Bminb5)

C Lydian:

CEG (C Major)
DF#A (D Major)
EGB (E minor)
F#AC (now the intervals are 1, b3, b5 which make the diminished triad)
GBD
ACE
BDF# (B minor)
 

dewey decibel

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10,729
As for harmonizing, I don't really know how, but if I stack thirds on top, then I guess I can harmonize. That's my best guess. Or maybe I have to stack the notes of the scale on top. I don't exactly know.

Yeah, stacking 3rds, that's it exactly. The tricky part is you kind of need to learn two different things at the same time- constructing chords in relation to a key/scale, and simply knowing the intervals in a given type of chord. What I mean is, these chords are all built in 3rds, right? But which 3rds? if someone says Cmaj, we simply stack 3rds starting on C. But if we stack straight major 3rds we get C E G#, which isn't Cmaj it's C+5 (augmented). Cmaj is C E G- that E to G isn't a major 3rd it's a minor 3rd. Where does that come from? The parent scale.

C D E F G A B

So we're stacking 3rds, but in relation to the scale. Staring on C we get: C E G. Extend that we get C E G B- Cmaj7. Extend further: C E G D- Cmaj9. One more- C E D F- Cmaj11. We let the scale decide the interval (major 3rd, b3rd, etc).

Now here's the tricky part, what if we build a chord from that same scale, but we start on the F? The first couple are the same;

C D E F G A B

F A C Fmaj

F A C E Fmaj7

F A C G Fmaj9


But here's where thing's change;

F A C B Fmaj#11 (although you probably wouldn't voice it like this)

How did that happen? Well starting on F in the key of Cmaj gives us that #11. It's F lydian and has a raised 4th, or #11, that's where that comes from. Make sense?

So like I said, you're learning two different things at the same time, and it can get confusing. You have to understand that F lydian comes from the key of C, and has a raised 4th (or #11). When you build that chord you can either think F chord from the key of C, or just know that it's a maj7 chord with a #11. You can learn each of the modes this way, by extending them you get to the 'essence' of each mode (alterations from a major scale in quotes);

Cmaj7

Dmin7 (dominant 7th)

Emin7 (minor 6th, minor 9th)

Fmaj7#11 (#11)

G7 (dominant 7th)

Amin7 (b6th)

Bmin7b5 (b5th, b6th, dominant 7th)


So if somebody says Dmin7, you have 3 options for extensions/keys. If they say Dmin6 we know it's D dorian, key of C. If they say Amin6 it's A dorian, key of C.

Does this make sense? To be honest, you're not going to get into these kinds of extensions in most pop or rock contexts, but it still is helpful to know.
 

sidk47

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And what's with the min 6ths all of a sudden? Weren't we using min 7ths up until now?
 

JonR

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15,133
And what's with the min 6ths all of a sudden? Weren't we using min 7ths up until now?
The reason dewey used both was the min7s will fit 3 different modes, or keys. A min6 chord will only fit one.
Eg Dm7 = D F A C. Those notes could come from the C, F or Bb major scales (or any of their modes).
Dm6 = D F A B. Those notes are only found in the C major scale. (Actually you also find them in D melodic minor, but we needn't go there yet...;))
 

dewey decibel

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Isn't A dorian, key of G? Is that what you meant?
Right on, good call.


And what's with the min 6ths all of a sudden? Weren't we using min 7ths up until now?
Exactly, I think you've got it! If I say min7 you have 3 possible key centers as far as major scale harmony goes. If I say min6 you have only one;

Amin6➡️A dorian➡️G major

Dmin6➡️D dorian➡️C major

along the same lines-

G7➡️G mixolydian➡️C major

Cmaj7#11➡️C lydian ➡️G major

Amin7b9➡️A phrygian ➡️F major

You dig?
 

JonR

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15,133
Isn't A dorian, key of G? Is that what you meant?
Yes, C was a typo; but there's another issue here to do with definition of terms. It crops up whenever people discuss modes.

"Key", properly defined, is more than just a scale. It implies that one note in that scale is a governing note, the tonal centre, and this is an aural effect, not just a theoretical choice.
So when we play a song in the key of G major, if we finish on any chord other than G it won't sound finished. If we play a melody, it won't sound finished until we hit the G note. G "sounds like home".

"A dorian mode" is not part of this scenario. It shares the same notes as the G major scale (and key), but the A note, and Am chord, "sound like home". IOW, A dorian mode sounds like "some kind of A minor key".

This doesn't matter too much when learning how to derive the modes, learning which notes are in which modes. But it does matter when it comes to application, and understanding how modes work in actual music (which is all about sound of course).

Take the G major key and the E minor key. They are known as "relative" keys because they share the same scale, the same set of notes. But they are different keys. (Otherwise we wouldn't have the two names ;).)
In the key of G major, G sounds like home - the "i" or "tonic" chord.
In the key of E minor, Em sounds like home - the "i" or "tonic" chord.
We wouldn't say that the key of E minor was "within" the G major key, any more than we'd say G major was "in" E minor. They are two separate tonal entites, they sound different.
The difference is achieved mainly by how we put the notes and chords together - and we often cheat with the E minor key by adding a B7 chord, so we get a D# leading up to E, to help make E sound like the tonic.

A dorian mode has a similar relationship. It's "relative" to G major (and E minor), but is a separate sound in its own right. We arrange the notes (and maybe chords) so that A (and Am) sounds like the tonal centre, the home note and chord. Usually this means just using Am most of the time, and very few other chords - because dorian mode is weaker than the relative major key, and needs more support, more emphasis on its "i" chord.

Of course, we get an Am chord in the key of G major. But it never lasts long enough to establish itself as its own key chord. It always sounds like "the ii chord in G"; it's always on its way somewhere else. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to call it "A dorian" in that situation (or even to think "A dorian" when it turns up). It's subordinate to (defeated by) the overall "G major" tonality.
IOW, "A dorian mode" is something we can derive from G major, but we need to remove it from that key (the rule of G) and set it up on its own.
 

JonR

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15,133
Yes, I kind of follow. You're basically telling me that C lydian has the same chords as G major. And also, the major has
I ii iii IV V vi viib5

If I start from IV, and mark it as I, I get
I II iii ivb5 V vi vii

As for harmonizing, I don't really know how, but if I stack thirds on top, then I guess I can harmonize. That's my best guess. Or maybe I have to stack the notes of the scale on top.
The latter (as explained). IE, you stack 3rds using the given scale.

However, while this may be a good theoretical exercise, it doesn't really relate to how modes actually work in practice.
The principle of harmonising a scale to get 7 chords is something that belongs to major and minor keys; not modes.

So, in theory, yes the potential set of chords in C lydian mode is the same as G major, just numbered differently:
I = C(maj7)
II = D(7)
iii = Em(7)
iv = F#dim(m7b5)
V = G(maj7)
vi = Am(7)
vii = Bm(7)

But no piece of music in C lydian mode will ever use all those chords. It would be rare to find any more than two chords, and usually only one (Cmaj7(#11)).
If you did use all those chords - or even just 3 or 4 of them - the combined effect would probably sound like key of G major, because that's the scenario in which we usually hear these chords.
Even if you tried starting and ending on the C chord, it probably wouldn't sound "final" enough. It would just sound like coming to rest on the IV chord of G major. (Or maybe the VI chord of E minor.)
That's because G major (and E minor) are by far the most familiar ways of using that set of notes and chords.
The next most familiar would be the modes of D mixolydian and A dorian, but they also need to be more restrictive in their use of chords, to draw the ear away from that G tonic.

If you want to hear C lydian mode in action, you can't do much better than this tune:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SINl5JY7LhI
You'll hear that he does use other chords: Ab, F and G.
And you might well object: "just a minute, Ab and F aren't in C lydian!" - and you'd be quite correct of course. ;)
But all four chords are lydian chords. IOW, he changes from C lydian to Ab lydian and back; and then to G and F lydian before returning to C lydian. (On every chord, he uses a #11 in the scale.)
And you'll notice how long he spends on the C at the beginning to nail down C as the definite key centre. (Modal music typically consists of long vamps on one chord.) The superimposed passing D chord gives us the F# which defines the mode, but is not given so much emphasis that's it's in danger of sounding like V in G major.
If C and D chords were equally weighted in this intro, it might just sound like a IV-V waiting to go to G.
As it is, there's no doubt C is key centre.
And the other lydian chords add the necessary variety, without risking sounding like either key of G or C (ionian). A great text-book lydian mode exercise, IOW.

Remember none of this is about "rules" of what you "can" and "can't" do. It's about understanding the sounds you hear (and want to create) and then using the right (least ambiguous) terms to describe the sounds, if you want to talk about them.
 

amstrtatnut

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12,832
Not to derail this thread but I was intetested in a sub-question.

Lots of guys tend to say that Dorian mode is used over A minor and mixolydian over D7 and G major over the G.

Others say its all in G. I fall into this category.

Ive seen many jazz guys say that they mix and match minor modes over minor chords and do the same to major chords.

Personally Ive found most jazz is still consistent with the overall key. In other words I dont see ii-V ideas
Working as well as iii-vi ideas in G when playing over B minor to E minor...where you eventually resolve to G.

Or for another example: Same chords in G...B minor to E minor but playing in B minor and eventually resolving to G.

Typing on a phone. I hope my question/comment makes sense.

Basically I have not had success mixing and matching modes in a given key.

Comments?

Hopefully this isnt too off the op subject.
 

projam619

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1,376
Not to derail this thread but I was intetested in a sub-question.

Lots of guys tend to say that Dorian mode is used over A minor and mixolydian over D7 and G major over the G.

Others say its all in G. I fall into this category.

Ive seen many jazz guys say that they mix and match minor modes over minor chords and do the same to major chords.

Personally Ive found most jazz is still consistent with the overall key. In other words I dont see ii-V ideas
Working as well as iii-vi ideas in G when playing over B minor to E minor...where you eventually resolve to G.

Or for another example: Same chords in G...B minor to E minor but playing in B minor and eventually resolving to G.

Typing on a phone. I hope my question/comment makes sense.

Basically I have not had success mixing and matching modes in a given key.

Comments?

Hopefully this isnt too off the op subject.
You're right about the ii-V-I in the key of G being all based upon the G major scale. However, when you use the Dorian mode over the ii minor chord, it evokes a sound unique and specific to the Dorian scale. In other words, the A Dorian mode in your example, despite sharing the same notes as a G major scale, is a scale that should be understood and heard on its own terms as a scale sui generis, and not just the 2nd mode of the G major scale. An example of this uniqueness of the Dorian is the sound of the 6th within a minor tonality - this is not found, say, with the natural minor scale which contains a flatted 6th. Skilled improvisers will often emphasize the 6th when playing the Dorian - as listeners, when we hear the 6th, we will think Dorian (or perhaps melodic minor if we hear it in conjunction with a maj 7th).

ii-V-I in jazz deviate from straight ahead diatonic harmony when superimposing altered sounds, especially over the V chord. When we alter the dom 7 by adding b5s, #5s, b9ths, or #9ths, then the tonality changes, allowing for different scale usages (usually the diminished or the super-locrian scale). Here is where bebop gets its characteristic sound.

And of course, you can alter the I chord - for example, sharping the 4th to allow for the lydian mode over a maj 7 chord.
 

amstrtatnut

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12,832
You're right about the ii-V-I in the key of G being all based upon the G major scale. However, when you use the Dorian mode over the ii minor chord, it evokes a sound unique and specific to the Dorian scale. In other words, the A Dorian mode in your example, despite sharing the same notes as a G major scale, is a scale that should be understood and heard on its own terms as a scale sui generis, and not just the 2nd mode of the G major scale. An example of this uniqueness of the Dorian is the sound of the 6th within a minor tonality - this is not found, say, with the natural minor scale which contains a flatted 6th. Skilled improvisers will often emphasize the 6th when playing the Dorian - as listeners, when we hear the 6th, we will think Dorian (or perhaps melodic minor if we hear it in conjunction with a maj 7th).

ii-V-I in jazz deviate from straight ahead diatonic harmony when superimposing altered sounds, especially over the V chord. When we alter the dom 7 by adding b5s, #5s, b9ths, or #9ths, then the tonality changes, allowing for different scale usages (usually the diminished or the super-locrian scale). Here is where bebop gets its characteristic sound.

And of course, you can alter the I chord - for example, sharping the 4th to allow for the lydian mode over a maj 7 chord.
Well I agree Dorian has a sound but in a ii V I in G Id Id play G with emphasis on whatever chords Im on. As opposed to saying..ok now Dorian, now D alt now G major.
/#4.

In a iii vi ii V context will anyone alter the iii to Dorian? I thin I have seen the vi swapped out with various altered dominants but those seem easier to get away with than say playing phrygian over the ii.

Just wondering how othets experience this.
 

huw

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In a basic ii - V - I, Am - D - G you are not hearing "A dorian" or "D mixolydian. It's all G major.

It's a ii - V - I in G, and the "in G" is very important.

A chord change is not a key change, and whilst those three chords have changed, the key hasn't changed at all. The tonic has remained G throughout, so anyone who thinks they are playing A dorian is dreaming. They are welcome to think A dorian, and inside their head that's fine, but in the actual music, no.

To hear those notes function as A dorian, A must be the tonic, so for instance a i, IV, v, IV, i progression could get you there: Am, D, Em, D, Am (shades of Whipping Post).
 

JonR

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15,133
You're right about the ii-V-I in the key of G being all based upon the G major scale. However, when you use the Dorian mode over the ii minor chord, it evokes a sound unique and specific to the Dorian scale.
This is confusing. How is using "the Dorian mode over the ii minor chord" any different from using the major scale of the key?
In other words, the A Dorian mode in your example, despite sharing the same notes as a G major scale, is a scale that should be understood and heard on its own terms as a scale sui generis, and not just the 2nd mode of the G major scale.
Absolutely.
For the concept "A dorian mode" to make any practical sense - to be a useful term - it has to be removed from the G major context.

To be clear; playing the G major scale (in any pattern, starting on any note), over an Am chord, will produce an "A dorian sound".
But if the chord is ii in G major, that sound (as distinct from G major) will be negligible; it will be obscured by the functional movements of the progression, which all relate to the overal "G ionian" major tonality.
Giving each chord in a major key a modal name is a waste of time. It's fancy labels for the sake of it; and is also misleading.
An example of this uniqueness of the Dorian is the sound of the 6th within a minor tonality - this is not found, say, with the natural minor scale which contains a flatted 6th. Skilled improvisers will often emphasize the 6th when playing the Dorian - as listeners, when we hear the 6th, we will think Dorian (or perhaps melodic minor if we hear it in conjunction with a maj 7th).
Indeed.
Just to underline: this is in the context of an Am as key chord, perceived as a tonal centre in its own right. Not in a G major key progression.
ii-V-I in jazz deviate from straight ahead diatonic harmony when superimposing altered sounds, especially over the V chord.
Yes - which is quite a different concept from modes.
When we alter the dom 7 by adding b5s, #5s, b9ths, or #9ths, then the tonality changes, allowing for different scale usages (usually the diminished or the super-locrian scale). Here is where bebop gets its characteristic sound.
Right. Again, nothing to do with modes, right? ;) (The beboppers had never heard of modes.)
And of course, you can alter the I chord - for example, sharping the 4th to allow for the lydian mode over a maj 7 chord.
Ah-ha!: one of the rare instances in which a modal term is valid in a major-minor key context.
Even so, raising the 4th is not done in order to get a "lydian sound". It's to provide a more consonant 11th extension (#11) than the diatonic P11. We can call it "lydian" of course, a handy term in this case.
 

guitarjazz

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22,385
I'd like to hear examples of that (dorian on a iii chord). Do you know any on record?
Right. Which is not a major key iii chord.
(Call me intrigued, not argumentative ;))
Not sure if you'd call dorian but the string line in the bridge of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? does a mi9 thing over a iii chord at about 1:36. Makes for a nice ear 'pick-me-up'!
 




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