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Switching between modes in a solo

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Postby almann1979 » December 5th, 2011, 12:21 pm

I'm finally getting there, I think. :D

I can construct a modal chord progression, and play the right mode over it, and can reel runs off from each mode from any string without having to stop and think what I am doing.

However, at the minute I am limited to making a modal chord progression on my loop station and play along to that.

What I want to know is can I do the following, will it sound right (because I can't get it too) :D

If I am playing over a chord progression, let's say A minor, G Major, E minor, C major etc. Can I play any minor modes over the minor chords, and any major mode over the major chords. I.e the first time round can I play dorian over the A minor, but the next time that chord comes along could I play Phrygian and then aeolian? Obviously switching like this would include notes that are outside of the key of the song, but would this still work and give me the "outside sound" I struggle to achieve?

Should I be able to do this, or will it never work? Are there general rules to putting modal licks into a solo?

Thanks Al
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Postby NoteBoat » December 5th, 2011, 1:47 pm

Yes, it will work. Here's why:

Am chord: A-C-E

A aeolian: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A
A Dorian: A-B-C-D-E-F#-G-A
A Phrygian: A-Bb-C-D-E-F-G-A

Each of the scales contains all the chord tones. What you're doing is simply using different non-chord tones in your solo each time through.

The same logic applies to the major chords - C Ionian, C Lydian, and C Mixolydian all have C-E-G in them.
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Postby almann1979 » December 6th, 2011, 7:14 am

Thanks Noteboat - so the actual key of the song doesnt matter as long as i only play these modes over the relevant chord i assume?

Obviously if i continue to play say, A phrygian, or dorian etc after the the A minor chord has passed, it might sound very wrong, but containing the mode to the relevant chord is fine?

This gives me a lot to work on. I have toyed with this over the last week or so but couldnt get it to sound right, but now i know it should work it does give me more motivation.

Thanks, Al
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Postby NoteBoat » December 6th, 2011, 8:09 am

Well, you want it to sound coherent. Good solos work as a whole, and great solos make the whole bigger than the parts.

So let's say you're going over a progression of G-Dm-Am-C; the G has G-B-D, Dm has D-F-A, Am A-C-E, and the C has C-E-G. You've got all the scale tones of C major.

So maybe you use C-E-F# (ascending), then D-F-G# (ascending), followed by A-C-D# (ascending), and G-C (descending) at the end. You've used three non-scale tones, but you've structured them - each chord is a sequence of 1-3-#4 (the 3 varies, depending on whether the chord is major or minor). Sequences tend to build tension, and having the #4 against each chord increases that. At the last chord you're releasing the tension by: only using chord tones, changing the pattern, going from ascending notes to a descending shape, and having a 5-1 melodic cadence.

It'll sound a little strange, because you're using tones from outside the key. But it'll also sound coherent, because there's an underlying plan.
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Postby almann1979 » December 15th, 2011, 3:32 am

Thanks Noteboat :D
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Postby Krah13 » November 29th, 2012, 11:00 am

I don't disagree with the other posts, I just want to show you a different "path".
I think that its time for you to start thinking in terms of Arpeggios.
Just take the 4 triads of your progression and try to play only the notes of each triad over each chord. This can give you control.
Then try to add chromatic approach notes before each chord tone.
This can give you many ideas in creating this "outside feel" that you are after.
Have a look at my site. Under the Label "Chromaticism" there is a bunch of different approaches to add chromatic notes in you playing
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