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Get my head around modes

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Postby Minotaur » September 30th, 2010, 11:58 am

kingpatzer wrote: It is more correct to say that Aeolian and the natural minor are the same scale. There is no one minor scale.


Right, 12 natural minor scales just like 12 majors. Just commenting that Aeolian mode is minor and is built from a natural minor scale. Whatever scale is in Aeolian mode begins on the 6th degree of that scale = minor.
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Postby kingpatzer » September 30th, 2010, 8:01 pm

Minotaur wrote:
kingpatzer wrote: It is more correct to say that Aeolian and the natural minor are the same scale. There is no one minor scale.


Right, 12 natural minor scales just like 12 majors. Just commenting that Aeolian mode is minor and is built from a natural minor scale. Whatever scale is in Aeolian mode begins on the 6th degree of that scale = minor.


No, you're misunderstanding me. I'm not talking about roots (there are 15 by the way, not 12), but about what makes a scale 'minor.'

The minor sound is defined by the relationship of the b3 of the scale to the tonic. Any scale with a b3 is 'minor' in tonality. Any scale with a b3 and a 5 will be a minor scale that provides the root minor chord when you stack it in 3rds. There are far more than 12 minor scales.

So, for example:

C D Eb F G Ab Bb is a minor scale in C (and happens to be both C natural minor and C aeolian)
C D Eb F G Ab B C is a minor scale in C (and happens to be C harmonic minor)
C D Eb F G A Bb is a minor scale in C (and happens to be C Dorian)
C Eb F G B is a minor scale in C (and happens to be C minor pentatonic)
C D# Eb F# G A# is a minor (and quite odd) scale in C (and happens to be just a bunch of notes I wrote down)

And on and on.

Your comments about the basis for the aeolian mode veers into the danger area of thinking about modes in terms of serial scales, and that tends to lead to confusion about modes in general.
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Postby Nuno » October 1st, 2010, 3:40 am

kingpatzer wrote:I'm not talking about roots (there are 15 by the way, not 12).

15? Please, go on! It is very interesting!
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Postby kingpatzer » October 1st, 2010, 4:19 am

Nuno wrote:
kingpatzer wrote:I'm not talking about roots (there are 15 by the way, not 12).

15? Please, go on! It is very interesting!


Sure, if you take the 7 base tones (A B C D E F G) and consider each along with it's sharp and flat (Ab A A#, Bb B B# etc) you get 21 notes. Of course some are enharmonic.

If you look at a circle of fifths, you'll find 12 "boxes" the following key signatures:

(going in fifths)

C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D, G

You'll notice though that Db is also written as C#, Gb is also written as F#, and B is also written as Cb. That is 15 common key signatures, three of which have enharmonic spellings. Each key signature has it's corresponding major scale, giving you 15 common tonics. These can be broken down into three groups. The first group consists just of C, it is the scale without any sharps or flats. The second group consists of G, D, A, E, B, F#, and C#. Those are the seven key signatures that can be written with sharpened notes. The third group consists of F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, and Cb. Those are the seven key signatures that can be written with flattened notes.

So why 15 and not 21? Because by convention we don't consider key signatures that require double flats or double sharps. That means you'll never see D#, E#, Fb, G#, A# or B# in practice because those six create double sharps or double flats in the key signatures. So out of the 21 note names, there are 15 practical, common major scales.
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Postby Nuno » October 1st, 2010, 5:35 am

Thank you very much! :D
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Postby tinsmith » October 1st, 2010, 5:36 pm

dhodge wrote:Maybe this can answer some of your quesionts:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lesson/a-la-modal/

Hope this helps and, if not, rest assured folks will be giving you answers here before you know it!

Peace

That's what I was trying to tell a couple of people on this sister site...got all kinds of crap for it......
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Postby tinsmith » October 2nd, 2010, 6:28 am

Oh....it was this site....
Best to keep your modes to yourself.
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Postby havocdragon » November 3rd, 2010, 9:43 am

I have never understood why someone doesn't just explain modes as simply as this...Ionian is the major scale.

If you start Ionian on C and you play every note all the way from fret 3 on the 2nd string (assuming standard) and play every major scale note all the way up the fretboard (CDEFGABC, then once you hit C keep going up!) You have played a major scale all the way up the fretboard. The MODES are simply just named regions at points in the scale.

Modes are great sometimes for coming from an analytical direction to create a melody or solo, but if you focus on them too harshly then you are limiting yourself to small regions on the guitar. Sometimes you will hear Yngwie Malmsteen talk about "This song is totally E phrygian" Which is the same notes in the C Major scale but the song floats around E as the root note instead of C.

If you practice the C scale from the lowest note on the guitar to the highest note on the guitar and memorize that pattern, you can then transpose of the standard major/minor scales from there.
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Postby kingpatzer » November 6th, 2010, 4:20 am

havocdragon wrote:I have never understood why someone doesn't just explain modes as simply as this...Ionian is the major scale.



That explanation is used quite frequently, and it almost always goes sideways shortly after that statement -- as you did. E scales are scales in E, not in C. As such thinking about modes serially almost always misses the entire point of modes.

That said, I'm firmly of the view that modes are useless for almost all guitarists out there today. Learning modes before you're learning music that requires modes probably means you're not learning to get the most out of far more useful scales. Students who focus on masting major, the three primary minor, diminished, augmented, and whole tone scales are going to end up with a far more complete musical toolbox than those who focus on modes.
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Postby mikieg » November 30th, 2010, 12:02 am

can you expand a bit more on that last statement? i am looking for more tools (musical recipies as i like to call them). i have learned the modal shapes, but i am having trouble putting them to use. i am guessing something being played in A minor could be soloed over in A dorian?
but in your last statement you eluded to someother scale types that would gain the student more tools fo improvising. could you write more on this idea of teaching? thanks, mikie g.
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Postby NEZTOK » November 30th, 2010, 10:42 am

I use modes sort like how "The Advancing Guitarist" or "The Guitarist's Guide to Composing" use intervals as SEEDS - to come up with ideas for a riff or chord progression. Anyway, you guys will be the first to see my website... http://pages.suddenlink.net/skelcore Check out the Skelcore lesson.
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Postby NEZTOK » November 30th, 2010, 7:55 pm

Once I taught myself how to keep track of all 49 functions of each note on the fretboard (major scale) my life was much easier. I'm thinking people get confused because they get lost within the parallel vs relative struggle. Learn both as a unit.
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Postby Musenfreund » December 5th, 2010, 7:29 am

These two mode topics are discussing such similar issues, I've merged them into one thread.
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Postby JoeHempel » December 6th, 2010, 9:34 pm

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Postby tinsmith » December 7th, 2010, 5:09 pm

That's about right Joe....I see one big contradiction which everyone is right & everyone has an opposite opinion.
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