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Do you use Major Scale MODES? Do you really understand them?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Clearyrich, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Megatron

    Megatron Member

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    #4
     
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  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    F and F#
     
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  3. DesWalker

    DesWalker Member

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    Nah, what about all the other stuff on this thread ? It must be much more complicated than that. I was assuming all the notes must be completely different ...
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    You might be interested in my book ...
     
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  5. dsimon665

    dsimon665 Supporting Member

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    That's somewhat along the lines of when I mentioned chromatic solfege in the other thread. If you follow key center approach strictly to its conclusion, it gets wooly when the amount of chromaticsm goes up.

    If you compare jazz theory to classical theory, then in the case of "functioning dominants" being somewhat plug and play in jazz theory.

    Whereas with chromatic solfege each secondary dominant is going to have its own syllables. So it seems with jazz theory the "dominant" function takes precedence over the actual position within the key. Even to the point that some cats will analyze any II V as a "modulation".

    This doesn't even cover the idea of non-harmonic and passing tones vs. extended harmony, which is maybe a minor point...but still the source of "b10 vs #9" type debates.

    Then the idea that the pioneers of jazz didn't have jazz theory - they would have had to be trained classically (like Herbie Hancock) and/or by apprenticeship (another form/definition of "classical training")
     
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  6. ewatkins

    ewatkins Supporting Member

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    Yes...

    This... The ONLY thing I would change is referring to the alterations in each mode as either "raised or lowered" opposed to "flat, natural, or sharp." The reasoning here is, the note that you'd be "flatting" in the phrygian mode might not end up being "flat"

    SO I think a better way to understand each alteration is by using the terms "raised or lowered."
     
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  7. coltranemi2012

    coltranemi2012 Supporting Member

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    You can look at it any way that makes sense to you really. It's really just semantics. I think lowered or raised is too much for my brain to this. I just know for example if the note is half step away its either Phrygian or Locrian (in the major scale system)...I think of it as the second being flatted. But either works I guess. I think it's better understand it on playable level than to get hung up on terms. If flat works for someone and lowered works for another then more power to them!
     
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  8. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    “Sharp” and “flat” are indicators of raising or lowering from a given pitch, so to me that doesn’t avoid confusion if I say “lowered” or “raised”

    Calling a note a flatted 7th doesn’t mean that the note has to be one with “flat” in the name. G Mixolydian has a flatted seventh (relative to the major scale) and the note is an F.

    And if someone is confused by this upon their introduction, it’s a 30 second conversation to clarify, and that will be helpful to them moving forward. The world is chock full of folks saying things like “flatted seventh” or “flat third” or “sharp fourth”.
     
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  9. FwLineberry

    FwLineberry Member

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    At the risk of starting another semantics war...

    Flat and sharp in this context refer to the intervals not the notes. It's the common parlance for major, minor, perfect, augmented and diminished. It creates a certain amount of confusion, but is so widespread that like the rest of the things that don't make much sense, a person just has to deal with the fact that a b2 might mean playing a G natural.

    Going back to using M, m, P, A, D would probably be better than using raised or lowered, removing the need to always refer back to some base scale to construct the current scale. It's never going to happen, though.

    I even had an instance where somebody confronted me on a forum for saying that a dominant chord had a minor 7th. I was informed that my terminology is 100% wrong and the correct way to refer to that interval is b7.

    What are you going to do? :dunno
    .
     
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  10. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    *To me* there is not much value in trying to link the two subjects much.

    But that’s just me.

    When I’m playing over a chord these days, I’m trying to hit chord tones, and outline some upper tensions trying to be melodic. (Not that I’m any good at being melodic, mind you! :D)

    I’m rarely thinking about modes when I’m playing any more, other than I may approach a piece of music and think, “Dorian would work over this.”

    But even that is a bit of a lie. I’m really thinking “minor 3rd, major 6th”.

    To me and my pea brain, it’s too complex to approach, say, a ii-V-I in C and think “Ok, I’m playing D Dorian over the ii and G Mixolydian over the V and C major over the I.”

    I’m more likely thinking, “play minor things over the D, maybe connect 3rds and 7ths where you can...”. That kind of thing. I have no idea if that’s helpful to anyone or not.
     
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  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Learn MELODIES. Learn SONGS. Play things that sound good to your ear.

    People used to sit and listen to the masters. They used to listen to songs and learn how to play them.

    There's a huge difference between academic knowledge and day to day application.

    Talk or play.....your choice.
     
  12. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    I mean no offense here, but are you being serious or sarcastic? It’s hard to tell from the tone of the post.
     
  13. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    I think a lot of the confusion about modes stems from people that are probably leaping ahead to modes because they see them as some magic bullet. If you know your intervals, know your triads, know your arpeggios, know your upper extensions, you really shouldn’t be confused by modes.

    I admit, I fell into that bucket. I started to (naively) try to learn modes because Carlos uses Dorian and Garcia uses Mixolydian before I had the prerequisites under my belt.
     
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  14. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    Me too. I also remember a lot of lessons in various guitar magazines where modes was the subject, but they didn’t bother to provide much foundation or context.

    And a lot of it was, “Put your finger here and you get Dorian. Put it here and you get Aeolian.” It was confusing to me back then.
     
  15. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes.
    Partly, but mainly because someone decided that naming major scale patterns after modes was a good idea. :facepalm
     
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  16. Clearyrich

    Clearyrich Supporting Member

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    Exactly my experience too and it seems to be the majority opinion on here. That's why I wrote my book. I started this thread by expressing the same view as you and explaining my/the book's background. I dared to suggest that someone like me, a beginner/amateur, could have written something that might shed some light on the subject. But of course the "experts" (who have probably never written a thing in their lives) choose to attack the very idea.... who is this amateur upstart? Yet the very same people still do not take up my CHALLENGE to them (see earlier reply P.4) i.e.:

    get a free copy of my book (e-version), read it and see what you think. If you think it has any merit (you be the judge of that) then make a contribution accordingly ... the amount is entirely up to you. If it's useless to you .... keep it...... delete it... pay zilch ... whatever.

    By the way, any forum member who contacts me is welcome to a (e-version) copy on the same basis as above. If you have struggled with modes it might just help you to understand the 'basics' in a logical and well structured way.... which is all my book is aimed at doing, nothing but the fundamentals i.e. the starting structure.

    Don't be put off by those who want to overcomplicate the topic and turn it into some mystical enigma (many on here seem to want to do that). Believe me, the fundamentals are relatively 'simple' if properly explained (as my book does). How far you develop those fundamentals is up to you (NOT the subject of my book).

    Best Wishes
    Richard
     
  17. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    And someone who knew their intervals, triads, arpeggios, upper extensions would immediately know that’s a bad idea. So partly bad teaching, partly jumping ahead before having the prerequisite knowledge. For some reason both of those do seem to plague the guitar world more than other instruments.
     
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  18. BriSol

    BriSol Member

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    It's been a pet peeve topic of mine for a while. I agree that modes often confuses people, mostly due to bad teaching and people jumping ahead of themselves before they understand harmony and general musical principles. It actually is fairly simple, once things are clarified.

    What I don't agree with is people jumping the gun from that fact to making what amount to blanket dismissals of the usefulness of modal thinking and chord-scale approaches to music. It all depends on musical context as to what's applicable. Functional harmony and conventional contexts where everything is relative to a regular major or minor key tend to not be as applicable to the modal thing. But the modal thing certainly has its place. You would never make it through half of Wayne Shorter's compositions without it.

    What people get tripped up on is the fact that modes are often taught in relative terms but not in terms of their interval content or as things in themselves, and people get confused into thinking they have to change scales on chord changes that come from the exact same scale, when we know that's redundant and unnecessary and not what the modal thing actually is in music.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  19. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    I like how Fareed Haque teaches this stuff on TrueFire. For bebop, which has ii-V-I and other progressions that change quickly, he offers his Bebop Improvisation Survival Guide course, which teaches an approach that is focused on chords rather than scales, let alone modes.

    He has another course called Modal Improvisation Survival Guide, which focuses on modal jazz, which originated with jazz players who wanted to get away from bebop, and make music that would allow them more time to develop melodic ideas within a particular mood (mode) - you don't get that time if the music is changing chords every measure or half-measure. I realize several folks here have pointed out the weakness of introducing the modes of the C major scale by changing the starting note of that scale - eg. B Locrian being the mode you get when you start at note 7 of C major. For better or worse, that is how Haque introduces these modes too - perhaps from his years of teaching at a university, he has found this is what works with guitarists learning modal improvisation from ground zero. Anyway, as he introduces each mode, he spends a fair amount of time jamming on it so you can hear and feel the "mood" of that mode, and it looks like his jams are transcribed if you hear any licks/ideas that you like. To me, this makes his course one of the best ones on the subject, because there is a huge difference between simply stating "E Phrygian is C major starting on E" then quickly moving on to the next topic without a demo; and a teacher like Haque saying the same thing, then jamming on it for a minute or two so you can hear it in action.
     
  20. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    I think, to me, the difference is starting on the second degree of the C major scale is how the D Dorian mode is derived, but isn’t necessarily the way it’s played. IOW, there’s no question that D Dorian or B Locrian or G Mixolydian is related to C major. And that is valuable information. But that’s not what they’re really about. So I would have no problem with Fareed’s approach as it seems he is merely introducing them as the related scales that they are. The problem arises when beginners (which shouldn’t be learning from Fareed Haque’s Modal lessons anyway) then treat G Mixolydian as the same as C major (or probably even more likely A minor pentatonic), because that’s where their muscle memory is. They are playing from shape, pattern, and muscle memory and that will not result in the desired sound. And they don’t know why because no one ever taught them the important relationships to chords and most importantly the sounds!
     
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