The Dorian Mode And Scale "Tendencies"

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
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Apparently, for me the Dorian mode is the furthest thing from my heart. Analyzing the melodies and harmonies of my wips it turns out I have only a single project which uses the Dorian mode, out of 100+ musical projects.
This bothers me because I enjoy listening to the Dorian mode, but for some reason I cannot "access" it myself. I simply cannot tune my soul to it. I do not hear it inside me. To make something in Dorian I need to have the notes in advance and know what to avoid in order to stay inside a Dorian mode.
I naturally tend towards darker and sinister moods. I understand this is who I am, I accept it, I like it, but from time to time I want to experience a brighter side. I wanna go up towards the skies and get out from the abyss.
The vast majority of my music is in the Natural Minor scale, followed by the Phrygian and strangely the Lydian mode.
The Aeolian and Dorian mode are separated by just one note, the raised 6th to access the Dorian and yet I am totally uncapable of hearing it in my head. The only way for me to get in tune with it is if I'm listening it and hum along, then I can connect with the mode.
They say the Dorian mode should be on the darker side, but I just don't hear it. To me the Dorian sounds ambiguous, but it's mostly birght, I would say even "hopeful" at times. It's a bittersweet mode for sure and I'm after its sweet part.

Here is an example of the kind of vibe I lean towards...https://www.mediafire.com/file/wtz1modn ... d.mp3/file

My question is, do you have a natural tendency towards a specific mode/scale? Have you looked back at your music to analyze this aspect? Is your music mostly bright, happy or sadder sounding?

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I tend towards Aeolian, harmonic minor, and Hungarian minor.

The Dorian (4th) mode of harmonic minor can be quite nice and spooky with its augmented 4th.

Personally, I think Dorian is best when descending. Listen to the song Faith from The Cure. Then I think you’ll ‘get’ Dorian.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pm Here is an example of the kind of vibe I lean towards...
A rough chord progression transcription in classical notation is:
  1. Fm7
  2. D#M7add13
  3. CM7
  4. FmM7
  5. Fm7
  6. D#M7add13
  7. Cm7
  8. Dm7
Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pm My question is, do you have a natural tendency towards a specific mode/scale? Have you looked back at your music to analyze this aspect? Is your music mostly bright, happy or sadder sounding?
Definitely, only in real-time, and all over the place.

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Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pmMy question is, do you have a natural tendency towards a specific mode/scale? Have you looked back at your music to analyze this aspect? Is your music mostly bright, happy or sadder sounding?
No; no need; probably somewhat “sadder” / darker (on average).

As for Dorian, there’s no particular need to use it unless you want to, I imagine. One of oh so many scales and modes out there. Go with what suits your project and/or simply what appeals

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jamcat wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 2:07 pm I tend towards Aeolian, harmonic minor, and Hungarian minor.

The Dorian (4th) mode of harmonic minor can be quite nice and spooky with its augmented 4th.

Personally, I think Dorian is best when descending. Listen to the song Faith from The Cure. Then I think you’ll ‘get’ Dorian.
Damn, it sounds spooky. Are you sure it is in Dorian?
FranklyFlawless wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:01 pm
Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pm Here is an example of the kind of vibe I lean towards...
A rough chord progression transcription in classical notation is:
  1. Fm7
  2. D#M7add13
  3. CM7
  4. FmM7
  5. Fm7
  6. D#M7add13
  7. Cm7
  8. Dm7
Well a lot of Minor Chords there. So maybe this is why my music sounds so dark? It's not the scale, is the chord choices?
kvotchin wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2024 12:41 am
Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pmMy question is, do you have a natural tendency towards a specific mode/scale? Have you looked back at your music to analyze this aspect? Is your music mostly bright, happy or sadder sounding?
No; no need; probably somewhat “sadder” / darker (on average).

As for Dorian, there’s no particular need to use it unless you want to, I imagine. One of oh so many scales and modes out there. Go with what suits your project and/or simply what appeals
Well, there are some artists who's music I've been enjoying that often use the Dorian mode. So I'd like to access that positive sound of the Dorian, but I don't know how.
When I talk about the Dorian sounding hopeful to me I mean this for example
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnQqLJ6 ... pg&index=3

When I listen to this I have a smile printed on my face through the whole track. My music in comparison to this would be depressive. This is what I mean when I say I'm after the sweet part of the Dorian. It makes me wanna get up and dance, watch the sunset.

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jamcat wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 2:07 pm I tend towards Aeolian, harmonic minor, and Hungarian minor.

The Dorian (4th) mode of harmonic minor can be quite nice and spooky with its augmented 4th.

Personally, I think Dorian is best when descending. Listen to the song Faith from The Cure. Then I think you’ll ‘get’ Dorian.
That isn't the Dorian mode, but the harmonic minor commencing on the 4th note of that scale.

The Dorian mode is characterised by a sharpened 6th (in comparison to the minor scale) - listen to Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel for example.

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Passante wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2024 3:16 am Well a lot of Minor Chords there. So maybe this is why my music sounds so dark? It's not the scale, is the chord choices?
In short, yes. Your chord progression is also a mixture of functional and non-functional harmony, so you have more room to play with. My analysis also suggests that it is in F Dorian, although that is only temporarily broken when playing the FmM7 (in classical notation).

I only know of one other song that follows a similar paradigm, but I am certain you will appreciate comparing and contrasting it with your chord progression.

ReMix: Super Metroid "Kindred" - OC ReMix

I could explain "darkness" in more technical detail, but that would be long-winded. However, you can use this thread below as a resource:

What are these chords? - Music Theory Forum - KVR Audio

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I fear I may have deleted the midi. I wanted to post it on here so we can determine with certainty the key/scale. I'll check tomorrow again. From what I remember I used 8 notes, one being accidental I guess.

Anyway, about the Dorian mode. I think I'll have to force myself into making some tracks in Dorian. It seems like the only way for me to get in tune with this Magical mode.

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There are other ways to get in tune with Dorian without needing to play all of its scale degrees. For example, you can derive chords from it: in the key of C Major, you can use Dm6 (in classical notation).

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FranklyFlawless wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:01 pm
Passante wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:57 pm Here is an example of the kind of vibe I lean towards...
A rough chord progression transcription in classical notation is:
  1. Fm7
  2. D#M7add13
  3. CM7
  4. FmM7
  5. Fm7
  6. D#M7add13
  7. Cm7
  8. Dm7
the D#s are clearly Ebs given the context of eg., "F minor", "C minor". :? D# is very distant from those.


as far as 'chord changes' per "Dorian", i and IV is our go-to. The notion of seven functioning chords as from the related major key for instance is a sort of red herring; less is more here. So the answer 'deriving chords from it' is very much not going to be the essential clue to the character of Dorian, particularly as framed there 'you don't need [all] the scale degrees'; as the scale degree major 6 from 'tonic' is the character tone (for instance distinguishing it from the 'b6' of 'minor' or Aeolian). Absent that relationship we don't have any "Dorian" scale or mode.

So, the ^6 is in fact part of the IV, major triad on the fourth degree, and the two chords i and IV agree with and reveal the crucial scale degrees. The relationship of intervals - first of all to the tonic, then internally - is the essential key to unlock what it is, and from whence to proceed.
IE: a mode in modal usage doesn't need help to be what it is, but if you want a chord change look to the essential (rather than expecting say the C major scale as the source for D Dorian's chords per se; a couple of those will lean strongly towards resolution to C.).

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Sure, but I do not care all that much about classical notation or the abstractions and technicalities of music theory interpretations at the moment, so any corrections are warmly appreciated, even if they may not be verified or acknowledged by myself personally.

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I don't know how to get into "what to do with Dorian" and not talk technically. Also I'm not being interpretative but talking from long experience and an abiding interest.

Now, we might say 'no, it's better to use three chords than your two' as a matter of opinion, but in_fact the major IV chord (eg., G major as to D Dorian and its D minor "i" chord) contains the character tone of the mode. So perhaps I could say "in my opinion" (all you really need is the two) but experience may out. For instance Carlos Santana did it all the time, i and IV in a vamp for soloing. And I don't know how a third chord, say bVII achieves more enhancement, ie., at a certain point I find it's doing too much. I would be remiss if I didn't also opine 'you don't need any chord', based in what Indian Classical Music is and my own exploration. The same notes of Dorian existed as "Kafi" thaat probably back to the 15th c. (according to Bhatkande)

So, I don't consider the uniquness of modes (or say our more "exotic" scale forms) as abstractions at_all. They have a sound, in physical ie., concrete terms. When I construct a mode where I'm going to pretty much stick to 5, 6, or 7 notes I'm looking for a sound, not for an abstract technicality.

In sum, I think of modal music and music that's about a chord progression as different approaches. As far as that being interpretative it's also a view held by many, or a prevailing historical view.
Last edited by jancivil on Wed Mar 13, 2024 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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as to a "correction", re: "in the key of C Major, you can use Dm6 (in classical notation)"
the key of C major is not Dorian mode; these are definitively two different things. Any D minor chord in C major is the 'ii' chord. In D Dorian, Dm is the 'i'. Full stop.

I have no idea where a distinction from 'in classical notation' is to be found; a standard is how we can even talk about it. One may have their own private language but we can't use it here.

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jancivil wrote: Wed Mar 13, 2024 2:38 pm I don't know how to get into "what to do with Dorian" and not talk technically. Also I'm not being interpretative but talking from long experience and an abiding interest.

Now, we might say 'no, it's better to use three chords than your two' as a matter of opinion, but in_fact the major IV chord (eg., G major as to D Dorian and its D minor "i" chord) contains the character tone of the mode. So perhaps I could say "in my opinion" (all you really need is the two) but experience may out. For instance Carlos Santana did it all the time, i and IV in a vamp for soloing. And I don't know how a third chord, say bVII achieves more enhancement, ie., at a certain point I find it's doing too much.
Thank you for the broader discussion. On the Dm-G dorian vamp specifically, I note it omits the second and seventh intervals. Why are we hearing this firmly as dorian if some other mode like melodic minor is still possible? Why don't all the intervals need to be sounded?

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mjudge55 wrote: Wed Mar 13, 2024 3:26 pmWhy don't all the intervals need to be sounded?
Because our brain is trained to recognise patterns with only a fraction of information. You fill the blanks yourself.

It could take some time to realise the full scale is not Dorian but merely pentatonic with some notes being accidentals.
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