Dumb question about scales and modes

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rubbersoul, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,062
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    OK, last and definitely least: LOCRIAN MODE.
    Very difficult to use, because its root doesn't sound like a root. Check this out:

    A very careful study in B locrian. No chords really, and the melody starts and ends on B - but does it sound finished on B?

    Better question: does it matter that it doesn't sound finished? Fixing B as the "final" is classic modal practice. The idea of a "tonal centre" is - arguably - nothing to do with how modes ought to work. We demand tonal centres in our music out of habit, of centuries of tonal music (major and minor "keys"). All the previous examples are very concerned to really nail a modal "tonal centre", usually by constantly repeating it or returning to it. That's more of a "folk drone" tradition than the medieval modal practice of "finals" and "reciting tones". (Academic debate, maybe ;))
     
    rubbersoul likes this.
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,062
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    Crucial advice! I didn't mean my mode examples to detract from the essential process of understand how keys work first. ;)
     
    rubbersoul likes this.
  3. rubbersoul

    rubbersoul Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,807
    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Thank you gentlemen! So much help!
     
  4. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

    Messages:
    11,368
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Encinitas, SoCal
    I kept wondering why so many people were confused on modes so I Googled it. Most of the sites are misleading or just plain wrong. Here is why...

    Most web sites describe modes as a sequence of notes (a scale) derived from a higher interval, but they do NOT say the scale is played starting on the ROOT.

    Most web explanations use this misleading information:

    Ionian I
    W–W–H–W–W–W–H
    C–D–E–F–G–A–B–C

    Dorian II
    W–H–W–W–W–H–W
    D–E–F–G–A–B–C–D

    Phrygian III
    H–W–W–W–H–W–W
    E–F–G–A–B–C–D–E

    Lydian IV
    W–W–W–H–W–W–H
    F–G–A–B–C–D–E–F

    Mixolydian V
    W–W–H–W–W–H–W
    G–A–B–C–D–E–F–G

    Aeolian VI
    W–H–W–W–H–W–W
    A–B–C–D–E–F–G–A

    Locrian VII
    H–W–W–H–W–W–W
    B–C–D–E–F–G–A–B

    This is correct, but only half of the process of finding modes.

    Step 2 is to move the sequence down to the ROOT! so you are playing the same sequence but you are starting on C as the root (in this example, but you can play a mode using any note as the "root")


    What matters is the sequence of Whole and Half steps, but you generally (always) refer to a mode as starting on the root note, so

    [​IMG]

    Results in this below:

    Parallel – From the Same Tonic
    C Ionian (Major) – No Sharps or Flats
    [​IMG]

    C Dorian – b3, b7
    [​IMG]

    C Phrygian – b2, b3, b6, b7
    [​IMG]

    C Lydian – #4
    [​IMG]

    C Mixolydian – b7
    [​IMG]

    C Aeolian (Minor) – b3, b6, b7
    [​IMG]

    This is the only site I found that explains it correctly - calling them "parallel modes:

    http://myguitarpal.com/relative-and-parallel-modes/
     
    strike3 likes this.
  5. ZMoney

    ZMoney Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018

    This sums up about everything you need to know to start off with modes.
     
  6. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    I'm in agreement on the parallel approach.
    What I don't like is keeping them in the same order as they appear in the harmonized major scale.
    They have zero meaning this way or that incidental organisation of constructs.
    What I have students do is grab a one octave avoid the strings scale.
    And have them start at C Lydian
    Major with a #4
    Lower that #4 to 4 and you have C major/ioanian
    Lower that scales 7
    You get Mixolydian
    Lower that scales 3
    Dorian
    Lower it's 6
    Aeolian
    Lower it's 2
    Phrygian lower it's 5
    Locrian.

    Same hold true for the altered major scale and it's modes....
    Lydian #5 (or Phrygian b1)... mode III Melodic minor...(major with a #4 and #5) drops the #5 and 7 to arrive at lydian b7 or Mixolydian #4.
    To get to the next it drops the 4 and 6 to get to Mixolydian b6 or Aeolian Nat 3.
    etc...
     
    don carney and vintagelove like this.
  7. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    And in a more brainy applicable approach.
    Let's revisit the Tetrachord thing.
    Tetra chord four note scales fragment I.e. root to fourth.
    Lydian Tetrachord 1 2 3 #4 or root whole whole whole (2 2 2)
    Ionian 1 2 3 4
    Dorian 1 2 b3 4
    Phrygian 1b2 b3 4

    All 7 modes of the major scale are made of two of those above.
    They are connected with a half step ( Lydian, Locrian) or Whole step (the other 5).
    Great way to get scales and Fingboard familiarity sussed out is to learn those tetrachords starting on index, middle/ring, and middle/pinky.
    If you look at the patterns for the index and ring/pinky you see what Martino calls finger inversion...I.e. c d e f starting index on frets 8 10 12 8, fingers 1 2(3) 4(3) becomes 8 5 7 8, fingers 4 1 3 4. See diagram above.


    the numbers in parenthesis added up + the connector equals 12 (halfsteps/1 octave).
    Lydian= Lydian + Ionian (222+221 connector 1)
    Ionian= Ionian + ionian (221+221 connecter 2)
    Mixolydian=Ionian + Dorian (221+212 Conn 2)
    Dorian=Dorian +Dorian (212+212conn 2)
    Aeolian=Dorian + Phrygian(212+122)
    Phrygian=Phrygian + Phrygian (122+122 Conn 2)
    Locrian=Phrygian +Lydian (122+222 Conn 1)


    Same works for melodic minor for example it just adds a tetrachords... Called Spanish I prefer to think of it as half whole...
    Lydian#5= Lydian + Spanish (222+121 connector 2)
    Lydian b7= Ionian + Dorian (221+212 connecter 1)
    Mixolydian b6=Ionian + Phrygian (221+122 Conn 2)
    Dorian nat7=Dorian + Ioanian (212+221 conn 2)
    Aeolian b5=Dorian + Lydian(212+222 conn 1)
    Phrygian nat6=Phrygian + Dorian (122+212 Conn 2)
    Locrian b4=Phrygian +Lydian (121+222 Conn 2)

    Side note just like lydian and Locrian in Major, Lydian#5 and Locrian b4 are mirror images.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  8. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,062
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    Just to supplement Ed's comprehensive description - following on from the "pair of tetrachords" principle (which dates to ancient Greece) - I find the guitar fretboard (one string) is helpful for visualising how intervals work, and how the common modes are constructed.

    Code:
                0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12
    HALF-STEPS: |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    INTERVALS:  1   --2--   --3--   4       5   --6--   --7--   8
                P   m---M   m---M   P       P   m---M   m---M   P
    
    P = perfect; m = minor; M = major.
    The perfect intervals mark simple fractions of the string (not the octave).
    Octave (12) = 1/2
    Perfect 5th (7) = 2/3
    Perfect 4th (5) = 3/4
    These are the strongest sounding consonances, so make the natural octave divisions for most scales. (We guitarists know we can get harmonics there, of course, because of those simple fractions.) IOW, the apparently bizarre irregular division of the octave makes sense if you think about divisions of the string. There the simple math aligns with pure sounds.

    The gap between 3/4 and 2/3 (frets 5-7) is then taken as a basic unit ("tone" or "whole step"), and used to divide the 0-5 and 7-12 spaces. Obviously two and half steps fit each one, and the two notes can each be placed in a lower ("minor") or higher ("major") position.
    Naturally this appealing symmetry doesn't allow for lydian mode (one of the four medieval modes), nor for locrian (which we might miss a lot less ;)). But all the common modes arise from just shifting those "imperfect" minor-major intervals one way or another. Harmonic and melodic minor are included (although not all their modes), as well as the more exotic "double harmonic" or byzantine scale (popular in Greece and Turkey) and various Indian raga scales. The age of this 7-note principle is enshrined in the word "octave", which is from the Latin for "8th".

    It might be worth also pointing that some major intervals are favoured by the string fraction principle. The major 3rd and major 6th are at 4/5 and 3/5 string fractions respectively (frets 4 and 9) - approximately anyhow. Likewise the major 2nd is 8/9 of the string (or 9/10, as there are two kinds of just-intonated whole steps).
    The minor 3rd (fret 3) is close to 5/6 of the string.

    The 6-fret position, of course, is the augmented 4th or diminished 5th, the famous tritone. It doesn't have any clear relation to a simple string fraction, unless you invoke the factor of 7. It's about 5/7 or 7/10 of the string. The interesting thing about the factor 7 is that a 4/7ths of the string gives a good "blue 7th", just flat of the minor 7th (fret 10) - round about midway between 5th and 8th - while 6/7 gives a low "blue 3rd" just flat of m3 (fret 3 - again roughly midway between root and 4th). These notes don't line up as neatly with the 12-semitone octave as string division factors of 2 3 and 5 do. But then blues doesn't fit that western system either. (I'm not saying blues is based on the 7-factor intervals, I think it's more slippery than that. Just making the observation.;))
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  9. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    Alright since you brought it up, more tetrachords. Names for tetrachords in carnatic ....
    Blocks 1-6...melakarta 1-36
    Right hand side with perfect fourth...spanning 5 semi tones.
    Meaning the connector to the second tetrachords has to be 2 semintones...as in 5+2+5
    Blues(from)4 1 1 3
    Phrygian 1 2 2
    Harmonic 1 3 1
    Dorian 2 1 2
    Ionian 2 2 1
    Blues 3 1 1
    Same for Blocks 37-72 with the augmented 4th
    Since that is 6 semitones and the upper part of the melakartas is 5 semintones... Connector has to be a half step
    Firebird 1 1 4
    Hungarian Phryg. 1 2 3
    Hungarian Spanish
    1 3 2
    Hungarian Minor 2 1 3
    Lydian 2 2 2
    Hungarian Major 3 2 1
    Not existing in carnatic...cause it either exceeds the the octave or falls short of the 4th or in the case of firebird II (1 1 4) has both OR and #4.
    Missing 6 semitone versions...
    Blues Alt. 3 2 1
    Sus alt 1 4 1
    Firebird II 4 1 1
    4 semitone tetrachords
    Dorian b4. 2 1 1
    Spanish 1 2 1
    Phrygian bb3
    Obviously those need to connect to a 6 semitone tetrachord with a 2 semitone connector or a 5 semitone tetrachord with a 3 semi tone connector
     
    JonR likes this.
  10. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,062
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    Damn, there was me trying to simplify it... :D
     
  11. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    I'm working on trichords for pentatonics now... Don't make start typing that out.
     
  12. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,062
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    [​IMG]
     
    Motterpaul likes this.
  13. DeadLazy

    DeadLazy Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    On the guitar the CAGE system makes a lot more sense than tetrachords.

    This became convoluted.

    The circle of 5ths should be discussed.

    I don’t think in CAGE I learned about the method after I’d started just thinking in notes but I do think it’s the most effective way to see the fretboard.

    As far as standard harmony we use tertiary (but you could stack chords
    In 4th) just meaning we stack chords in thirds and that’s where the chord quality’s from scales are derived.

    I wouldn’t go to the I-IV-V as a standard progression. We are thinking about blues and uniquely American 12 bar blues. I’d look at each in the cycle of 5ths: 7 - 3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1.

    The 2 - 5 -1 is the important cadence to understand.
     
  14. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    If you dig CAGED that's great. FWIW I still see as many guys stumble after CAGED when they have to play say Eb7b Gb7b5 A7b5 C7b5 in one position.
    Or play a chord for 2 bars and moving it up in half stepsw staying in position...
     
  15. DeadLazy

    DeadLazy Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Do you mean a minor 7th or a b7th?

    When I say a b7 (not sure what you meant) I think enharmonically equal to a major 6th. I think you just had a typo and meant Eb7b5.

    And to be sure: You are talking Dominant 7 with a flat 5?

    Stumble but get it.

    I don’t think in cage or a system so much as notes. But I know where all my intervals are and I think that’s important.

    When I practice I play a chord quality and associated mode in position along with an arpeggio.
    The two octaves in position.

    Mostly I just think ... in notes. That took a long time to develop.

    I also treat each chord as a key, basically.



    That’s where the guitar makes you stumble.

    It really helped to lay this all out and sit down at a keyboard. At a keyboard the simplicity clicks.

    Edit: and looking at a dominant 7 chord with a flat 5 I never noticed so have a compulsion to triple check but I see there are now two-tritone intervals and would resolve nicely as a 5-1 in two places....

    I’ve always seen them and used a flat 5 for smooth voice leading.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 12:41 PM
  16. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,393
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    Yup meant dom7b5, usually referenced as dom7#11 however since most guitarists seem to know at most two voicings and neither has the 5 it makes it a b5 for me.

    Yes the keyboard is more logical since it doesnt over the same pitch between 2 and 6 times. Not counting the open e strings since those pitches are there 1 for the low and 6 times for the high e on a 24 fretter. It's like 6 twooctave pianos stacked.

    As for approaches I've been through everything and reference to the full 13 chord... As in 13b9 be modeV harmonic major if you will or 7b13b9 be more V harmonic minor or 13 be more V Melodic minor or 13#11 mode IV melodic minor 13b9#9 (no 11) mode 3 harmonic major.

    Anyways I see it too often that guys use CAGED as a crutch and fail to learn intervals. And it shows especially in flat keys. With tetrachords they seem to get the interval recognition and what sound it produces under their hands and ears.
    But to each their own .
     
  17. JosephZdyrski

    JosephZdyrski Member

    Messages:
    1,109
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2019
    A bit aside the topic but I try to remember whenever it all feels overwhelming that in the end there are only 12 notes. Everything beyond that is just repeating patterns in the lower and higher octaves.

    For the more complex ideas if I find them hard to grasp I just try to understand them an octave at a time. That way I can always utilize the concept without going back to a memorized pattern. I do it that way and until slowly the concept becomes clearer and easier to understand across the whole fretboard. And I already know how to implement it musically as opposed to returning to memorized patterns, running scales, or borrowing licks/runs from others.
     
    dlguitar64 and DeadLazy like this.
  18. DeadLazy

    DeadLazy Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    I don’t think that’s aside the topic at all and an important point to make.

    Edit: That also highlights the importance of rhythm (talking rhythm not the beat) and rhythmic motifs as a key to good improvising. Rhythm is where it’s at.

    It also helps to see there are really only 5 places you can play something
    on the fretboard.
     
  19. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

    Messages:
    4,851
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Durham,NC
    Learn all your scale formulas away from the guitar in all keys using real notes names, not just numbers or and intervals. It will improve your comprehension
    exponentially.
     
  20. DeadLazy

    DeadLazy Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Note names without knowing the interval loses half its value.

    Intervals have functions and knowing the sound they make, I think, should be synonymous with knowing the notes.

    The intervalic content is what’s making the sounds you hear.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice