How to look at life

Well who doesn't have a question about theory? Come on in and get them answered here. Beginning to advanced theory questions are welcome.
Gabba Gabba Hey
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Gabba Gabba Hey » December 10th, 2009, 6:14 pm

When soloing over an underlying chord progression, say a common ii-V-I in C, is it appropriate to consider C the tonal center throughout the progression, and then choose your scale(s) for soloing based on that? Or do you follow the chords, perhaps going from D Dorian to G Mixo to C Ionian? That seems a bit onerous, but I've had lessons which suggest doing just that for building bass lines. (I tend to think more in terms of chord tones [and thus, intervals] and build my lines with those as a starting point; is it basically the same thing and I'm approaching from the opposite direction?)

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Re: How to look at life

Post by Fretsource » December 10th, 2009, 7:17 pm

Gabba Gabba Hey wrote:When soloing over an underlying chord progression, say a common ii-V-I in C, is it appropriate to consider C the tonal center throughout the progression, and then choose your scale(s) for soloing based on that?
Yes - very
Or do you follow the chords, perhaps going from D Dorian to G Mixo to C Ionian? That seems a bit onerous, but I've had lessons which suggest doing just that for building bass lines.
People do that as a way of targetting the root note of the current chord while keeping the same scale (C major). In this case they are treating the modes as "modes of the major scale", (which is something they were never intended to be).

So they start off playing in C major against the C major chord - then when the chord changes to D minor they shift their attention to the note D and continue to play the same C major scale around that D note. But they now call it D Dorian because it happens to have the same notes as D dorian.
But modally speaking, it's not D Dorian at all. It's still C major (Ionian) because the tonal centre didn't change. It's still C, not D.

The advantage of it is, if they've learned all the mode patterns, then they can immediately jump to the pattern that coincides with the current chord and play the major scale notes based around the chord root. It's still C major. It's a way of staying in C major but using the mode names and patterns to target the root of the current chord.

The disadvantage of it is that many guitarists confuse this with being in a mode, when it's just a convenient (or confusing IMO) way to think of the major scale starting on different notes.

kingpatzer
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Re: How to look at life

Post by kingpatzer » December 10th, 2009, 10:11 pm

Fretsource has it right.

If you want to play in C Dorian, then play in C Dorian for that period of time where C is the tonal center.

Modes do not change with chords. Anyone who talks that way doesn't understand what modes are!!

But again, many self taught guitarists confuse patterns with scales, shapes with chords, etc., and so the idea that a good way to stay in the appropriate key is to use the appropriate "mode" with the chord arose to cover a knowledge gap.

The final effect can sound quite good. But the theory explanation for why that is does not coincide with what the player taking that approach thinks is going on. Thus, it is functionally effective, and the misunderstanding continues because the resulting music created by this misunderstanding sounds good.

But problematically, the proposed theory to explain what is going on is horribly and needlessly complicated and convoluted.
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Gabba Gabba Hey » December 11th, 2009, 3:55 am

Thanks FS and KP. I think I have a better grasp of the context for the "mode" lessons now - they were really about learning the patterns (and more specifically, the fingerings) on the fretboard, rather than playing "in" the modes. Kind of a top-down approach to finding the notes that fit easily over which chords, but as you both say, without ever leaving the main scale.

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Re: How to look at life

Post by cnev » December 11th, 2009, 5:29 am

Thanks Fretsource and KP I do beleive I understand now and Fret yes even though I didn't right all that out in my other post I figured that some of the C based modes would clash with a C major chord.
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Ming8 » March 22nd, 2010, 8:32 pm

If you are playing in C and you are playing Am but starting on C than you are effectively playing C major in a different position.

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Re: How to look at life

Post by Scrybe » March 23rd, 2010, 4:44 am

kingpatzer wrote:
If you want to play in C Dorian, then play in C Dorian for that period of time where C is the tonal center.

Modes do not change with chords. Anyone who talks that way doesn't understand what modes are!!

And plenty of those people who talk that way happen to be the authors of guitar playing manuals. Does my head in when I see five pages on "superimposing D dorian over a G7 chord" to create interesting sounds, and I'm thinking "but, dude, they're the same notes!!!"
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Ricochet » March 23rd, 2010, 5:58 am

Minotaur wrote:Mnemonic:
Ionian.......I
Dorian.......Don't
Phrygian....Particularly
Lydian.......Like
Mixolydian..Modes
Aeolian......A
Locrian......Lot
Long ago I came up with "I Don't Play Lousy Music, At Last!" But now I like yours better.

Just tell the family metalhead "I'm not playing in your Phrygian mode!" :wink:
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

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Re: How to look at life

Post by Scrybe » March 23rd, 2010, 7:01 am

Funnily, I never learned a mnemonic for learning the names of the modes. But I can't look at a stave without automatically thinking "Every Good Boy Likes Fruit"... :roll:

I also half-learned a mnemonic for figuring out the flat on key signatures as Flats Become Easy As... by then, I can figure out the pattern and don't need to continue any further, so don't ask what the end of that one was.
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Ricochet » March 23rd, 2010, 7:11 am

"Every Good Boy Likes Fruit?" What's that "L" about?
I learned that as "Every Good Boy Does Fine," and for the bass clef "Good Boys Don't Fool Around."
And for "standard" tuning, "Eat All Day, Get Big Easily."
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

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Re: How to look at life

Post by Scrybe » March 23rd, 2010, 7:13 am

Sorry, Deserves Fruit. :oops: What can I say? There was a shiny new MacBook in front of me when I was typing, instead of a stave.... :wink:
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Ricochet » March 23rd, 2010, 7:15 am

OK. :D
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

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Staffan
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Staffan » May 5th, 2010, 4:10 am

Just wanted to add my two cents to the discussion…

I thought modes was pretty confusing, until I stumbled upon http://www.spytunes.com. There, they explained modes in a way that I found very logical and non-confusing, and I will try to pass some of that on. (I know some of the earlier posts have touched upon the same thinking, to some extent.)

Note: I don´t claim to have a part in constructing these ideas at all (I´m not that clever by far – I´m just trying to repeat them, so that someone else might learn from it as well). The guy who did all the thinking is Dan Lundholm.

If you look at the major/minor pentatonic scales as your “starting point”, you can easily see how the adding of different tones (intervals) to the scale actually creates the different modes.

If you divide the modes into major (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor (Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian) you can see how they relate back to the corresponding pentatonic scale. (I´ll leave the Locrian mode out of the discussion, since I don´t have a grip on that, although I´m sure the same principle applies.)

Now, this theory applies equally to all five scale shapes, but let´s use the “E”-shape of the minor pentatonic scale as an example. I´ll write it in “A:

-5--8-
-5--8-
-5-7--
-5-7--
-5-7--
-5--8-

The minor pentatonic scale consists of the following intervals:
R, m3, 4, 5, b7

If you add the following intervals you get the corresponding minor mode:

Add: 2nd, 6th – Dorian
Add: 2nd, b6th – Aeolian
Add: b2nd, b6th – Phrygian

So, if I were to write it out, for A-Dorian, it would look like this:

-5-78-
-5-78-
45-7--
45-7--
-5-7--
-5-78-

Where as, if I were to write it out for A-Aeolian, it would look like this:

-5-78-
-56-8-
45-7--
-5-7--
-5-78-
-5-78-

… all corresponding to the intervals I listed above.

Now, for the major pentatonic, I´ll use the “E”-shape of the major pentatonic scale in “A” as an example:

-5-7--
-5-7--
4-6---
4--7--
4--7--
-5-7--

The major pentatonic scale consists of the following intervals:
R, 2, 3, 5, 6

If you add the following intervals you get the corresponding major mode:

Add: 4th, 7th – Ionian (major scale)
Add: 4th, b7th – Mixolydian
Add: #4th, 7th – Lydian

So, by adding the 4th, and the b7th degree, I would get the A-Mixolydian mode, which would look like this:

-5-7--
-5-78-
4-67--
45-7--
45-7--
-5-7--

Where as, if I added the 4th, and the 7th, I would get the A-Ionian mode, which is the same as the A-major scale:

45-7--
-5-7--
4-67--
4-67--
45-7--
45-7--

I hope I got everything right (or at least I got the message through)! As I said this is just a small part of a complete “system” for “interpreting” and learning more about the guitar, which I find quite clever!
AAAFNRAA
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Re: How to look at life

Post by Ricochet » May 5th, 2010, 7:41 am

Shut up and play your Phrygian guitar! :mrgreen:
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

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Re: How to look at life

Post by jwmartin » May 5th, 2010, 5:42 pm

Ricochet wrote:"Every Good Boy Likes Fruit?" What's that "L" about?
I learned that as "Every Good Boy Does Fine," and for the bass clef "Good Boys Don't Fool Around."
And for "standard" tuning, "Eat All Day, Get Big Easily."

I learned bass clef as Good Boy Does Fine Always to keep it mostly the same.

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