When to use F dorian

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Zappafreak, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Zappafreak

    Zappafreak Member

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    When improvising, lets say i want to pull out the F dorian scale. When would this be appropriate. Does the F dorian match with a G minor chord which would be the ii? or can it also go with the tonic F major?
     
  2. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    F Dorian over G minor gives you a Phrygian sound (or minor b9 if you think in those terms). In that case you can play the "shape" of F Dorian but that's not the key you're in. If you are playing over a G minor chord you are most likely better off moving that up two frets and playing G Dorian. I guess I'm confused as to why it has to be F specifically. You should be able to play Dorian in any key.
     
  3. tonegangster

    tonegangster Silver Supporting Member

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    Play F Dorian in the Key of Eb
     
  4. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    Ba dam !
    Or over a F minor chord/song if it sounds good
     
  5. Mrmarshallhead

    Mrmarshallhead Member

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    Now this is the bit I don't get. I would never regard myself as playing F dorian if I were in the key of Eb, I'd simply be playing the Eb maj scale (Ionian).

    When I think F Dorian, I am thinking of songs in F minor but with a Bb major or Bb7 in the tune somewhere, which raises the 6th a semitone.

    I always consider the mode I'm using in relation to the root note. Therefore, if I were playing something like Let it Be, I am simply playing C major scale notes all the way through (apart from the little bridge part which goes into C myxolydian over the Bb chord)' as opposed to playing C Ionian over the C's, A Aeolian over the Am and so on.

    Anything else just gets overly complicated!
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I'm intrigued as to why you "want to pull out F dorian". What's so special about it? :)

    The idea with improvising in modes is that you first need to identify the piece as modal. IOW, if the tune used an Fm or Fm7 as its main chord, with Bb7 as a secondary chord, then you could say the tune is "in F dorian". You would use the Eb major scale (any pattern) to improvise, and the sound you'd get would be F dorian - because the chords dictate that.

    If you had an Fm7 chord and nothing else, then you could apply F dorian (or F aeolian or F phrygian). Any other chords occurring with the Fm might dictate other scales.
    Eg, a tune in the key of F minor might use Bbm and C7 chords - F dorian is not going to work there.
    And for a tune in the key of Eb major, any "F dorian" pattern will just work as an Eb major pattern.

    If you're starting from scratch - you want to compose something in F dorian, or just jam on it - then you're in control, of course. Fm7-Bb7 will give you an F dorian sound, or you can just choose to vamp on Fm, maybe with Eb or Gm as a secondary chord.

    There is no such thing as an F dorian fretboard pattern, btw. There are patterns for the notes Ab Bb C D Eb F G, usually known as the Eb major scale. Any of those patterns can be used to get an "F dorian sound", provided you make sure F sounds like the keynote. And playing over an Fm chord (or F bass) is usually the easiest way to do that.
     
  7. JonR

    JonR Member

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    F dorian mode is not "in the key of" Eb major. It's just relative (same set of notes), same as C minor (aeolian) is.
    An F dorian pattern (if you give your patterns mode names, which is somewhat pointless) will give you an Eb major sound in that key.

    It will sound dorian on an Fm chord - but so will any Eb major scale pattern. And anyway, an Fm chord in that key probably won't last long enough to sound dorian. It will more likely sound like a ii chord in Eb major (ionian).

    IOW, yes in one sense you can "play F Dorian in the Key of Eb". But it isn't F dorian in any meaningful sense.
     
  8. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Lots of good advice here, but take it with a grain of salt. Some people just like to argue tomato/tomahto in order to sound intelligent.
     
  9. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    I would say that if you are able to hear and play the sound of dorian in a ii V then it is a dorian.
    Yes, I believe in the magic of shared perception.

    And I agree that it is semantics to say that F dorian does not apply in the key of Eb

    Offcourse, from a practical point of view F dorian has the same notes as Eb major
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  10. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Your answers are always great. I just get ticked when people say stuff about modes not relating to keys, modes can't be practiced as patterns, etc. That kind of info is very misleading to someone who's newer to this stuff.

    Without the key of Eb major, there is no F Dorian. That's a pretty strong relationship.

    Play Eb major from F to F. That's a pattern for F Dorian (if you need/enjoy patterns.)

    Sometimes people use unnecessarily vague or complex phrasing to make simple relationships seem obtuse.
     
  11. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Right on, I just remember how frustrating it was when I was trying to figure out what the hell to do with F Dorian. A bunch of "look at it this way" no "look at it this way" isn't always helpful.

    For me, the modes are about (disagree if anyone wants to) understanding what's harmonically available to me in a key.

    From a melodic standpoint, it's about hearing/seeing the same thing (scale) from different perspectives or starting points.
     
  12. gennation

    gennation Member

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    The only tme you'd use F Dorian is when Fm7 is the Im chord and the harmony sounds best with a M2 and M6 instead of a m2 and/or a m6.
     
  13. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    If you think that sounds good, wait til you hear it on a iim7 chord!
     
  14. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    That's where I'd disagree, F dorian can stand on it's own as a key. The aforementioned tune So What is a good example, it's in D minor (D dorian), not C major. Strong relationship, yes, but it can stand on it's own. And it's pronounced to-ma-toe... :p
     
  15. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Wait, no..... I agree with you. You can write in a mode, like Maiden Voyage, So What, etc.

    I can't figure out where we disagree. In a ii V I, you have F Dorian, Bb Mixolydian, and Eb Ionian.

    You can also have a modal tune using F Dorian as the tonic center.

    What is this fight about again?
     
  16. Mrmarshallhead

    Mrmarshallhead Member

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    Yes it can indeed. Another example I play regularly is The Stranglers' No More Heroes, which is a G Dorian all the way through.
     
  17. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    What I was talking about was the importance of understanding the harmonic implications of modes as they relate to functional harmony.

    Try throwing natural 9 on top of a iii chord. You might get lucky, but if you're playing the odds and are aware of the notes available in Phrygian you certainly won't get unlucky.
     
  18. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Unless your iii chord is going to V of ii. Then Dorian.*
     
  19. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    Didn't know we were fighting. Much of this is semantics, but important at the same time. There's a difference between modes of the major scale and the use of modes in music. I think the arguement would be that in a ii-V in Eb the ii chord isn't dorian, at least not in the sense of "modal music". You're still in Eb. Yes it's the same notes, and chances are understanding this or not you're still going to be play the same **** over that chord. But it can be an important distinction to make.

    As for the OP the one thing I like to point out when we talk about modes is to not confuse scale patterns for scales. You can play a scale any number of ways on the guitar, in any position. A scale pattern is just that, a set way to play that scale. But it's understanding the notes that's important. If you knew how an F dorian scale was built you wouldn't ask what chords you could play it over. And you'd also know you could use an Eb ionian pattern, Ab lydian pattern, Bb mixolydian pattern, etc over that same chord. I'm not getting down on you, it takes a lot of time to learn this stuff and you have to start somewhere, but my advise is you're going to have difficulty if you try and learn this stuff on the instrument, it's better to learn it away from the instrument and then figure out how to apply it to the instrument later. Hope that makes sense.
     
  20. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Sorry, I'm probably trying to make up for my misspent youth having not made my way into any good music theory arguments.

    At any rate, many of those I've studied/played with, etc. with lump scales and chords together into a single conceptual entity.

    So my thinking is F Dorian= Fm7 with the possibility of 9,11, an 13. So I use that sort of thinking whether I'm playing 8 minutes of a Dorian vamp (in which case, I could know the hippest Dorian shtick on the planet, it would still get boring) or if I'm playing a ii V in Eb.

    I don't really care if I call it F Dorian or the pizza scale. The important part is to learn the sound and the application.
     

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