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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2002, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 105
mode backing chords

I finally realise that mode is not really sounding to its fullest unless there are chords in that mode backing it up, well I'd just like to know how do you get these chords I mean, I know the major system is like this:

Imaj IImin IIImin IVmaj Vmaj/dom VImin VIImin

so is it when ur playing in A Dorian it goes:

IImin IIImin IVmaj etc ??

im kinda new to modes and I'd appreciate straightening out

Thanks alot
Bar_Hook is offline  
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2002, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Leeds, UK - San Antonio, TX
Posts: 351
Hey there

Modes are fun hey!? Well they can be cool but it takes a bit of brain twisting to get the idea.

Basically modes come from way back when music was predominetly modal before diatonicism was introduced (music in a key) We even still use the original names for them, like dorian as you mentioned.

You see hundreds of years ago people wrote music in a mode, to get a different sound. But these days when we use modes to solo and improvise we use them to alter the tonality or key of the music.

For example when we see this chord progression: Dmin7 (IImin) G7 (VDom) Cmaj7(Imaj) we could play the C major ionian scale over all of it and it would all sound ok because all the notes in a C major scale (ionion mode) are in all those chords too.

But where modes first come into play is accenting certain notes (i.e the ones that are in the chord at the time) to firmly establish the sound of the chord. So when we see the Dmin chord. We can still play the ionian mode, but if you mainly accent and play the notes D F A and C then you are automatically are playing the dorian mode. To finish this progression you would then accent the mixolydian notes on the G7 and then finally the Ionion (normal C major scale) on the C major chord.

Ok so thats the first entry level use of modes...but here is the rael use of them: Ready...? go get a cuppa or something digest the stuff i just said then move on.

Ok. Now you see there isn't just 1 mode that fits 1 chord. As you may know the dorian mode is a minor mode. So just because it is mode II doesn't mean you can only play it on chord II. Becuase well then you are just palying in the key raelly and not modally!!

So what you can do over the Dmin7 chord, (and this is best to do on tunes where the chord stays static, like a vamp or something) is play D Dorian for a while and then change to D aeolian, or perhaps D Phrygian. These will all work because the notes in the D min7 chord fit in all those modes. But by playing those modes you are changing the tonality...i.e the key.

Now, you can analyze the key changes you make but there is not much point apart from to gain a real good grasp on how the theory all fits together.

For example: Lets take our Dmin7 chord again. Now if we play D dorian over it then we are making the key of C major. If we then choose to play D Aeolian over it we are then changing/implying the key of F major. And finaly if we chose to play the phrygian we are implying the key of Bb.

This works with all the modes chords keys and is the basis and building blocks for all western based hamrony both modal and tonal - and its also the crooks of what holds the two together in both classical and jazz/rock context.

It is worthwhile getting a firm grasp over all the keys, modes, and chord systems (you already know the major i.e Imaj IImin IIImin etc etc) major, harmonic minor, melodic minor. which modes fit which chords.
When you know this then the principal i was describing applies to all of this. I gaurantee if you learn all those things the lightbulb will switch on and you'll have this big overall picture of harmony, soloing etc.

Oh one more example to reiterate the principal. If we see a Cmaj chord. We can treat it as Imaj and play C ionian thus implying the key of C Major. Or we could also treat it as IVmaj and play C Lydian (the vai scale! he he) and then we are implying the key of F major. Simple huh.

Ok then well i'll wrap it up here. I know thats a lot to take in. I dont know how much you will have got from this but hopefully It made some sense. I roughly condensed western hamrony into a 200 line thread lol. But if you have any questions or are confused abuot anything i said let me know.

To sum need to know which modes fit which chords, and what keys they imply/belong to - and then you choose which mode to use over any given chord.

Thats it. Have fun

track7 is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-22-2002, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 105
Thanks alot that really caleared up quite a few things as well as the question!
I just wana ask one thing, If you have a chord progression in the key of Gminor. I know you can obviously play Gmin over that without knowing what actualy chords are in it, but can you play any mode (i.e. G lydian) over it, without knowing the chords - just knowing that the progression is in G.
Also could you tell me which modes and maj/min/dom/dim/etc
Again you really helped
Bar_Hook is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-22-2002, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 401
You can't just play G Minor over a progression that is in G minor. Well I suppose you could, but you'd be taking a risk A safer bet would be a G minor pentatonic, because it does not include any of the characteristic notes of any minor modes. An even better bet would be to find out the chords!

Here's an example, you are playing in G Major but you're unsure of the chord changes. You decide to play G Lydian, which is G A B C# D E F#, all the sudden your Lydian sounds like shiat!! Oops chords changed to a IVmaj7 chord (C major)!? You're screwed and sound like an idiot

This really depends on the tempo, if the chord changes are going really slow you *might* be able to get away with G lydian over the G Major chord and have the C major sound like a modulation, but you better not play C# during the time when the bassist and keys are playing C major!

So here is some basic info to get you going.
Ionion is Major
Dorian is Minor
Phrygian is Minor
Lydian is Major
Mixolydian is Major (Dominant)
Aeolian is minor (natural minor)
and Locrian is half diminished.

now you want to learn the characteristic notes of each scale. Which notes define a mode? What makes Mixolydian different than Major? well mixolydian has a b7. That would be it's characteristic note.

characteristic notes get a *
ionian 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
dorian 1 2 b3 4 5 6* b7
phrygian 1 b2* b3 4 5 b6 b7
lydian 1 2 3 #4* 5 6 7
Mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7*
Aeolian 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Locrian 1 b2* b3 4 b5* b6 b7

You already know the chords that can be built off a major scale. You can use that to alter the scale degrees to go along with the different major modes! You also want to be familiar with the chords for a natural minor scale (aeolian) so that you can alter them to corrispond with the different minor modes.

So here they are:
Imin7 ii-7(b5) bIIIMaj7 iv-7 v-7 bVIMaj7 bVII7

subsitute a V7 chord for v-7 for harmonic minor (and raise the 7th degree of your minor scale to a natural 7)!

Hope my rambling made some sense for you

Good luck, remember to let your ears make the final decisions!
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