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Playing in modes

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:06 am Re: Playing in modes

JumpingJackFlash wrote:
datroof wrote:Experimenting with sounds like this is a big part of learning to improvise. It doesn't even require much cleverness, really.


Well, how it sounds is of course subjective.
The point is that merely playing the white notes starting on D over an obviously functional chord progression in C major does not make the resulting music "Dorian".



OP mentioned a D dorian backing track. I don't know exactly what he means by that, but for the purposes of answering his question, I don't think it really matters. He's obviously in the ballpark, has a basic understanding of what he's talking about, and his question seems fairly clear. Easiest path to understanding is to give an answer that he can understand and use.
Aroused by JarJar
KVRian
 
1049 posts since 15 Oct, 2008

Postby Aroused by JarJar; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:09 am Re: Playing in modes

yairhol wrote:If I understand correctly, what you guys are saying is that in order to play in a certain mode one needs the proper backing chords for that mode + correct notes of the mode's major scale + emphasizing the mode root and mode characteristic notes that set it apart from the major scale (example in Dorian would be the flat 3rd and flat 7th). Do I have this right?


Yes, and don't forget the major sixth contrasting with the minor third. And staying away of emphasizing progressions and melodic bits that drive it to another mode unless that specifically what you want(this is true of all modal playing). These things are true of modes in any style of music.
JumpingJackFlash
KVRian
 
1142 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:12 am Re: Playing in modes

datroof wrote:He's obviously in the ballpark, has a basic understanding of what he's talking about, and his question seems fairly clear. Easiest path to understanding is to give an answer that he can understand and use.


Really? Sorry, but you don't reach "understanding" by glossing over misunderstandings (viz. modes and keys).
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:19 am Re: Playing in modes

Aroused by JarJar wrote:
yairhol wrote:If I understand correctly, what you guys are saying is that in order to play in a certain mode one needs the proper backing chords for that mode + correct notes of the mode's major scale + emphasizing the mode root and mode characteristic notes that set it apart from the major scale (example in Dorian would be the flat 3rd and flat 7th). Do I have this right?


Yes, and don't forget the major sixth contrasting with the minor third. And staying away of emphasizing progressions and melodic bits that drive it to another mode unless that specifically what you want(this is true of all modal playing). These things are true of modes in any style of music.


I don't mean to be argumentative, or pick on you jarjar, but one thing I would slightly disagree with is that, yes there's a tritone relationship between the F and B, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, or something to be avoided (this my jazz background speaking :-) ). You might in fact decide that you really like that sound. It's something to be aware of, and is in fact part of the characteristic sound of that mode. It's important to experiment with these sounds so you can really absorb them, and decide what they mean to you, whether you want to avoid them or incorporate them into your vocabulary, etc.
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:25 am Re: Playing in modes

JumpingJackFlash wrote:
datroof wrote:He's obviously in the ballpark, has a basic understanding of what he's talking about, and his question seems fairly clear. Easiest path to understanding is to give an answer that he can understand and use.


Really? Sorry, but you don't reach "understanding" by glossing over misunderstandings (viz. modes and keys).


Well, you can probably surmise from my previous posts that I consider some of that to be outdated dogma, and some to be beyond the scope of the OP's question, which doesn't really help anyone except maybe you. :-)
Aroused by JarJar
KVRian
 
1049 posts since 15 Oct, 2008

Postby Aroused by JarJar; Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:26 am Re: Playing in modes

datroof wrote:
Aroused by JarJar wrote:
yairhol wrote:If I understand correctly, what you guys are saying is that in order to play in a certain mode one needs the proper backing chords for that mode + correct notes of the mode's major scale + emphasizing the mode root and mode characteristic notes that set it apart from the major scale (example in Dorian would be the flat 3rd and flat 7th). Do I have this right?


Yes, and don't forget the major sixth contrasting with the minor third. And staying away of emphasizing progressions and melodic bits that drive it to another mode unless that specifically what you want(this is true of all modal playing). These things are true of modes in any style of music.


I don't mean to be argumentative, or pick on you jarjar, but one thing I would slightly disagree with is that, yes there's a tritone relationship between the F and B, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, or something to be avoided (this my jazz background speaking :-) ). You might in fact decide that you really like that sound. It's something to be aware of, and is in fact part of the characteristic sound of that mode. It's important to experiment with these sounds so you can really absorb them, and decide what they mean to you, whether you want to avoid them or incorporate them into your vocabulary, etc.


I didn't mean "lay into that tritone". You can completely avoid it in melody and progression. I meant that there's a contrasting mood, feeling, between minor-below/major above in Dorian. That's why one of most common descriptions of Dorian is "bitterweet".
User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
 
2685 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:14 pm Re: Playing in modes

datroof wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:
datroof wrote:He's obviously in the ballpark, has a basic understanding of what he's talking about, and his question seems fairly clear. Easiest path to understanding is to give an answer that he can understand and use.


Really? Sorry, but you don't reach "understanding" by glossing over misunderstandings (viz. modes and keys).


Well, you can probably surmise from my previous posts that I consider some of that to be outdated dogma, and some to be beyond the scope of the OP's question, which doesn't really help anyone except maybe you. :-)

Problem is that it's you that are "outdated" while thinking you are advanced. You call "dogma" understanding things, because you like to "experiment". It's like reinventing the wheel. But whatever, if you feel great achieving something out of luck in a trial and error basis, be my guest.

It would be much simpler by really "studying" (you know - that thing grownups usually do, in order to progress). Maybe you would understand the "dogma" and realize it is what it is for a reason - no dogma at all, simply knowledge, which is something more and more people seem to dispise, because they think ignorance brings them "creativity".

"It's a kind of magic", I guess :(
Fernando (FMR)
User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
 
2685 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:29 pm Re: Playing in modes

Aroused by JarJar wrote:I didn't mean "lay into that tritone". You can completely avoid it in melody and progression. I meant that there's a contrasting mood, feeling, between minor-below/major above in Dorian. That's why one of most common descriptions of Dorian is "bitterweet".

Are you sure you are talking about this: D, E, F, G - A, B, C, D ?

Because the two tetrachords are absolutely identic, and the mode turns around A. How does that gives you a "major" feeling in the second tetrachord? Actually, it was this mode that originated our modern "minor" mode, with the "bemolization" (B flat) to avoid the tritone (and not the A mode, as is commonly and erroneously teached).

To me it always sounds very much minor, although different, because of the natural B and the absence of leading tone. It's great for "serious", meditative melodies.
Fernando (FMR)
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:22 am Re: Playing in modes

fmr wrote:
datroof wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:
datroof wrote:He's obviously in the ballpark, has a basic understanding of what he's talking about, and his question seems fairly clear. Easiest path to understanding is to give an answer that he can understand and use.


Really? Sorry, but you don't reach "understanding" by glossing over misunderstandings (viz. modes and keys).


Well, you can probably surmise from my previous posts that I consider some of that to be outdated dogma, and some to be beyond the scope of the OP's question, which doesn't really help anyone except maybe you. :-)

Problem is that it's you that are "outdated" while thinking you are advanced. You call "dogma" understanding things, because you like to "experiment". It's like reinventing the wheel. But whatever, if you feel great achieving something out of luck in a trial and error basis, be my guest.

It would be much simpler by really "studying" (you know - that thing grownups usually do, in order to progress). Maybe you would understand the "dogma" and realize it is what it is for a reason - no dogma at all, simply knowledge, which is something more and more people seem to dispise, because they think ignorance brings them "creativity".

"It's a kind of magic", I guess :(


Cute. I guess you missed earlier in the thread where I mentioned that I do understand the dogma, and have had plenty of music education. Your attempt to paint me as anti-intellectual is about as far from the mark as could be. I encourage people to study as much as they can, never stop learning, etc. But also, on your path, try to tune your noise-filter, because there's plenty of it out there.

If you're answering a question from, let's say, a first year theory student, what good does it do to answer them with jargon from 3rd year theory? It might make you feel warm & fuzzy about yourself, but doesn't help the student much. So, I question how much of the semantic dogma is/was necessary to answer the question.

I first learned how to use modes in my early teens, from a jazz bassist that I was studying with. He gave me a great foundation, everything I needed to know. But he never talked about whether or not D dorian is 'in' C major, etc., (for our purposes, yes, D dorian was in C major, and that was not a problem). That information would not have been useful to me whatsoever. I learned that stuff later, in college, but I don't think it has added one iota to my understanding of, or ability to use modes. Is that info "outdated"? Hmm, I don't know, or really care. But is it useful? Apparently to some people, but not to me, and fwiw, not to most professional musicians I know (who aren't also teachers/academics :-) ). The individual needs to decide what works for them, what to absorb and what to discard, what's useful and what's superfluous, etc.
Last edited by datroof on Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
yairhol
KVRian
 
845 posts since 27 Nov, 2007

Postby yairhol; Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:31 am Re: Playing in modes

Interesting that in almost all the threads I've read over the internet regarding modes, they end with people fighting about it. I'm thinking the subject is pretty difficult to comprehend and agreed upon even for those of proper music theory education. Very interesting.
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:43 am Re: Playing in modes

yairhol wrote:Interesting that in almost all the threads I've read over the internet regarding modes, they end with people fighting about it. I'm thinking the subject is pretty difficult to comprehend and agreed upon even for those of proper music theory education. Very interesting.


What are the rules about modes? Depends on who you're talking to, what school you're in, what country you're in, what book you're reading, what musician you're talking to, what day of the week it is, etc. Simple, right? ;-)
Aroused by JarJar
KVRian
 
1049 posts since 15 Oct, 2008

Postby Aroused by JarJar; Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:49 am Re: Playing in modes

fmr wrote:
Aroused by JarJar wrote:I didn't mean "lay into that tritone". You can completely avoid it in melody and progression. I meant that there's a contrasting mood, feeling, between minor-below/major above in Dorian. That's why one of most common descriptions of Dorian is "bitterweet".

Are you sure you are talking about this: D, E, F, G - A, B, C, D ?

Because the two tetrachords are absolutely identic, and the mode turns around A. How does that gives you a "major" feeling in the second tetrachord? Actually, it was this mode that originated our modern "minor" mode, with the "bemolization" (B flat) to avoid the tritone (and not the A mode, as is commonly and erroneously teached).

To me it always sounds very much minor, although different, because of the natural B and the absence of leading tone. It's great for "serious", meditative melodies.


Major sixth contrasting with minor third over the tonic.

(I wouldn't bring tetrachords in at this point for the OP, because "like minor, but with a major sixth" is easier to understand as far as feeling, for those living in a predominantly major/minor world.)
Last edited by Aroused by JarJar on Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:19 am Re: Playing in modes

Aroused by JarJar wrote:
fmr wrote:
Aroused by JarJar wrote:I didn't mean "lay into that tritone". You can completely avoid it in melody and progression. I meant that there's a contrasting mood, feeling, between minor-below/major above in Dorian. That's why one of most common descriptions of Dorian is "bitterweet".

Are you sure you are talking about this: D, E, F, G - A, B, C, D ?

Because the two tetrachords are absolutely identic, and the mode turns around A. How does that gives you a "major" feeling in the second tetrachord? Actually, it was this mode that originated our modern "minor" mode, with the "bemolization" (B flat) to avoid the tritone (and not the A mode, as is commonly and erroneously teached).

To me it always sounds very much minor, although different, because of the natural B and the absence of leading tone. It's great for "serious", meditative melodies.


Major sixth contrasting with minor third over the tonic.


In a lot of gospel-influenced settings (blues, funk, some rock) that sound is often prominent. Of course, that's usually in conjunction with an implied Maj/min, or #9 sound.
JumpingJackFlash
KVRian
 
1142 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:29 am Re: Playing in modes

datroof wrote:If you're answering a question from, let's say, a first year theory student, what good does it do to answer them with jargon from 3rd year theory? It might make you feel warm & fuzzy about yourself, but doesn't help the student much. So, I question how much of the semantic dogma is/was necessary to answer the question.


The problem, and we get a lot of it on here, is that the question wasn't a "first year theory" question. Someone is trying to run before they can walk and trying to do "third year theory" work without first understanding the basics.

There are certain fundamentals that need to be understood before progress can be made. Learning things wrong is incredibly inefficient; it takes twice as long to subsequently learn it correctly.

Talking about major keys and so on isn't "jargon" or "dogma", it is pre-requisite knowledge for any serious musician. And if you don't have time for the basics, then why bother at all?

yairhol wrote:Interesting that in almost all the threads I've read over the internet regarding modes, they end with people fighting about it. I'm thinking the subject is pretty difficult to comprehend and agreed upon even for those of proper music theory education. Very interesting.


For people who actually have a "proper music theory education", it isn't difficult at all. The problem is that nowadays, far too many people just want to shove some loops together and call themselves "musicians", without the slightest idea of how music actually works.

I strongly advise you to get to grips with the basics. Ideally, get a teacher who can explain things to you. But start at the beginning and don't expect to become proficient overnight.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
datroof
KVRist
 
47 posts since 19 Sep, 2012

Postby datroof; Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:35 am Re: Playing in modes

JumpingJackFlash wrote:
datroof wrote:If you're answering a question from, let's say, a first year theory student, what good does it do to answer them with jargon from 3rd year theory? It might make you feel warm & fuzzy about yourself, but doesn't help the student much. So, I question how much of the semantic dogma is/was necessary to answer the question.


The problem, and we get a lot of it on here, is that the question wasn't a "first year theory" question. Someone is trying to run before they can walk and trying to do "third year theory" work without first understanding the basics.

There are certain fundamentals that need to be understood before progress can be made. Learning things wrong is incredibly inefficient; it takes twice as long to subsequently learn it correctly.

Talking about major keys and so on isn't "jargon" or "dogma", it is pre-requisite knowledge for any serious musician. And if you don't have time for the basics, then why bother at all?

yairhol wrote:Interesting that in almost all the threads I've read over the internet regarding modes, they end with people fighting about it. I'm thinking the subject is pretty difficult to comprehend and agreed upon even for those of proper music theory education. Very interesting.


For people who actually have a "proper music theory education", it isn't difficult at all. The problem is that nowadays, far too many people just want to shove some loops together and call themselves "musicians", without the slightest idea of how music actually works.

I strongly advise you to get to grips with the basics. Ideally, get a teacher who can explain things to you. But start at the beginning and don't expect to become proficient overnight.


Fwiw, I've studied at music at several colleges, and each handled this (and many other topics) differently. So tell me, what exactly is a "proper music education" (good god, what a pompous phrase)? Again, you're attempting to slap the anti-intellectualism label on me, and it doesn't fit. I'm preaching pragmatism - there's a slight difference there. Please make a note of it. :-)
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