Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Modes Explained

This is a good explanation of the modes.I picked up this conversation over at was in the forums there.Basically,there is two ways of looking at the modes.And this is all being talked about from the Major scale,the C Major scale.Now then,next is where the two ways start,and it is explained rather well in this article or conversation at the forum... a good explanation here of the modes

The whole point of having modes it that the starting note will be functioning as the root. So D Dorian is in D even though it is dervied from C Ionian (Major). Your point of tonal reference (resting note, note of resolution) is always the root. SO the difference between playing in D Dorian and C Major is that you are PRETENDING that D is the root, not C.
This may not have been too clear, JEM555. Notice what James had you do in C, above. He had you play (or write down) all 7 notes of the C major scale, beginning first with C (CDEFGAB). Then he had you do this again, same notes, BUT beginning with D, and so on. Giving you 7 scales as follows: CDEFGAB DEFGABC EFGABCD FGABCDE GABCDEF ABCDEFG BCDEFGA These are The Seven Modes, all in C. What may not have been clear is that you can do this same thing for the other 11 major scales. For example, in G: GABCEDF# ABCDEF#G BCDEF#GA CDEF#GAB DEF#GABC EF#GABCD F#GABCDE Again, these are the SAME seven modes, in order, but now in G. Finally, getting to my quote of James, above: notice that in each of these examples, ONE of the seven modes begins with C. In the case of the C major modes, it's the first (Ionian) mode that begins with C. In the second example, it's the 4th (Lydian) that begins with C. For each of the major scales that contains a C natural, there will be one mode that begins with C natural. In C, C Ionian--C D E F G A B In Bb, C Dorian--C D Eb F G A Bb* In Ab, C Phrygian--C Db Eb F G Ab Bb In G, C Lydian--C D E F# G A B In F, C Mixolydian--C D E F G A Bb In Eb, C Aeolian--C D Eb F G Ab Bb In Db, C Locrian--C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb *I've highlighted the flatted 3rd and 7th here, to tie this back to James' hint, above. Summary. This shows TWO ways of looking at modes. First Way: all the modes for any given major scale. This gives you seven new scales, each beginning with a different note selected from that major scale, and each containing only notes from that same scale. Second Way: all the modes that begin with a given note. To know which notes are in these modes, you have to either 1) take the first approach above and write out all seven modes for all 12 major scales, OR 2) you need to know what the interval structure is for each mode (what intervals separated each of the tones in each of the modes). This last statement may be confusing: each of the seven modes has its own sequence of intervals between the notes. The seven notes of C Lydian are each separated by the same pattern of intervals as D Lydian or Z Lydian or X Lydian. As an example, the major scale (and ALL Ionian modes) have the pattern of: t-t-s-t-t-t-s (where t = tone or whole step, s = semi-tone or half-step). C major: C-t-D-t-E-s-F-t-G-t-A-t-B-s-C C Ionian: C-t-D-t-E-s-F-t-G-t-A-t-B-s-C G major: G-t-A-t-B-s-C-t-D-t-E-t-F#-s-G G Ionian: G-t-A-t-B-s-C-t-D-t-E-t-F#-s-G Again, all the other modes have their OWN unique pattern of tone and semi-tone intervals, but regardless of what note they start on, each mode is always the same. Hope that helps. All of this information may seem overwheming--I learned it ALL entirely from this site and the people here, taking it a little at a time over a few months--and I'm a pretty simple guy. Everything above should help you understand the "what" of modes--it says nothing about the "why", or why you should care.
And may i students often want to take the shortcut,and that is,simply play the major scale to any of the modes!...Ex. let's take the C Dorian.You can play a Bb Major scale,and those are the notes of a C Dorian!But,you have not learned the intervals involved.I highly recommend learning the intervals,and not just start on Bb note and play it's major scale!Start on C note for C Dorian and play the correct intervals...1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-8(1).Now that does not sound Major!!!


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