Modal chord progressions

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rockstarzusa, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. rockstarzusa

    rockstarzusa Member

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    Hi Guys, typically when I run through modes with students, I use the Frank Gambale modal chord progressions, but would like to know and hear of other progressions you may use that cover the ground as well, to keep things fresh. Cheers.
     
  2. jhumber

    jhumber Member

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    In general you mostly see progressions that feature the chords used in a given key, but with a root note from the mode you're trying to imply.

    So, say we took the mode of Locrian, but from the key of A major - which will give us Ab Locrian. You could play chords like E/Ab, D/Ab, C#m/Ab, and of course Abm7b5, perhaps like this:

    E/Ab = 4-7-9-x-x-x
    D/Ab = 4-5-7-x-x-x
    C#m/Ab = 4-4-6-6-5-4
    Abm7b5 = 4-x-4-4-3-x

    I can remember setting up a progression similar to that once when I was trying to get the Locrian sound in my head.

    Cheers
    Jordan
     
  3. rockstarzusa

    rockstarzusa Member

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    Thanks Jordan, appreciated, I have walked through the various chords keeping the root common to the Modal root. Anyone else have any ideas, or neat chordal arrangements?
     
  4. BOZ67

    BOZ67 Member

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    One way to do it is to not necessarily keep a common root but make sure that each of the chords in the progression contain the characteristic modal note. (e.g., b2 for a Phrygian progression, #4 for a Lydian progression, M6 for a Dorian progression, b7 for a Mixolydian progression)
     
  5. landru64

    landru64 Member

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    can you describe the frank gambale chord progressions? are they preset ones from a book?
     
  6. landru64

    landru64 Member

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    yeah i was wondering if that was what rockstar was referring to...
     
  7. JonR

    JonR Member

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    4th mode of harmonic minor: 1-2-b3-#4-5-6-b7
    That would fit the i and II7, but not the bVI - that needs either natural minor or harmonic minor (mode 1).
    There's no scale that will cover all three chords here - because you would need #4, 5, b6 and 6.
    Doesn't mean the sequence doesn't work. The relationship of bVI and II7 is they are tritone subs for each other - both would tend to resolve to V (which is not present). If you did put a V somewhere in this sequence, I think it would assume the role of tonic, because of the power of the bVI and II7 in that direction.

    Eg Am-F-Am-B7-..E - Sounds like E is home! (Am is then iv, and F bII - a kind of E phrygian dominant vibe, contradicted only by the B7. Alternatively, Am, B7 and E could be E harmonic major).
    Double harmonic = 1-2-b3-#4-5-b6-7.
    This would fit i and bVI (and bVI7), but not II7.

    In fact, 4th mode of harmonic major = 1-2-b3-#4-5-6-7. Fits i and II7, but not bVI.
     
  8. cameron

    cameron Member

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    That might be interesting, but really to practice dorian, all you need is a ii V . . .
     
  9. BOZ67

    BOZ67 Member

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    The ii chord would work but the V might start making it sound like a key based progression I would think.
     
  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, ideally it will sound like i-IV, not ii-V. ;)
    If you repeat ii-V often enough it loses its "ii-V" sound (ie the expectation a "I" will follow). ii will establish itself as i.
    (Check "Oye Como Va")
     
  11. diego

    diego Member

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    Check out Vincent Perischetti's Twentieth Century Harmony for a concise summary of how modal chord progressions work.
     
  12. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I think of "Modal progressions" differently than just a vamp or a couple of Diatonically mated chords, which are really kind of nothing but static vamps with some inter-harmonic relationships.

    After vamps try finding Modal things that actually "progress" to make a progression.

    Like

    ||: Gm7 | Gm7 | Gm7 | Gm7 | Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Bbm7 :||

    or

    ||: Cmaj7#11 | Cmaj7#11 | Cmaj7#11 | Cmaj7#11 | B7 | B7 | B7 | B7 :||

    In both these cases you need to change the mode to fit the chord, but the mode leads you, or progress, back to the first chord...confirming the term "progression".

    The first one is G Dorian->Bb Dorian->G Dorian->etc...

    The second one is C Lydian->B Phrygian Dominant->C Lydian->etc...

    These are Modal Progressions, not Modal Vamps. There's a difference because in a vamp you stay in one Mode usually or like Frank shows a lot, you play one Mode over two or three chord that are all from the same Mode. These progression I posted actually progress, and over night can change you from play over one scale into learning how you play from one scale into the other and then back again.

    Other progression of this type are some of the greatest Modal tunes....So What, Maiden Voyage, Flamenco Sketches...they are not a set of chord matching one scale but progressions that leave scales moving into the other scale on their way back to the beginning again.
     
  13. BOZ67

    BOZ67 Member

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    Right, I was assuming he was going to go back to the i, as in ii V i.
     
  14. purestmonk

    purestmonk Member

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    I like the brackets on brackets on "modal progressions" i personally find that to be a misleading term. it's more like tonal progressions, IMHO
     
  15. blhm84

    blhm84 Member

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    We're talking about modal chord progressions, and no one has mentioned McCoy Tyner or Bill Evans?
     
  16. rockstarzusa

    rockstarzusa Member

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    Gennation-Thanks for that, I appreciate your ideas.

    DSimon-I have enjoyed staying on the root, and it helps point out the modal colors to students quite effortlessly.
     

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