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Explain modes.. Dec. 13th, 2012 @ 10:28 PM Reply

Reading about one of my favorite albums "Kind of Blue".

In the wiki article, it mentions the song "Flamenco Sketches" as a modal jazz piece in that it strays from normal musical pop structure....

But listening to it, it sounds like any other song in that Davis and Coltrane, etc are just playing over chord changes like any other song...am I missing something here...

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 13th, 2012 @ 11:22 PM Reply

The entire album Kind of Blue is all considered modal jazz. Modal harmony is a bit different from regular diatonic functional harmony you hear in earlier jazz. Modal harmony usually has simple chord progressions and melodies tend to accentuate the characteristic note of the mode. If you listen to the song So What the A section is all in D Dorian and it modulates to Eb Dorian for the B section.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 13th, 2012 @ 11:26 PM Reply

At 12/13/12 11:22 PM, SineRider wrote: The entire album Kind of Blue is all considered modal jazz. Modal harmony is a bit different from regular diatonic functional harmony you hear in earlier jazz. Modal harmony usually has simple chord progressions and melodies tend to accentuate the characteristic note of the mode. If you listen to the song So What the A section is all in D Dorian and it modulates to Eb Dorian for the B section.

I see.

So that main bass riff is (or is in) D Dorian mode? How is that different from a scale? From my understanding, a mode is almost the same thing as a scale...

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 13th, 2012 @ 11:37 PM Reply

At 12/13/12 10:28 PM, LemonCrush wrote: Reading about one of my favorite albums "Kind of Blue".

In the wiki article, it mentions the song "Flamenco Sketches" as a modal jazz piece in that it strays from normal musical pop structure....

But listening to it, it sounds like any other song in that Davis and Coltrane, etc are just playing over chord changes like any other song...am I missing something here...

Modes change the function and overall tonality of the harmony.

When using modes "correctly" they each have their own sort of character as their progressions are different from normal major/minor tonality. When done right as Davis and Coltrane have done, the progressions will sound very cohesive as a pop-style progression would using more traditional harmony.

Each mode has it's own characteristic functions; scale degrees, chords, and progressions/cadences.

Let's stay within in the context of a key signature of C Major, no sharps or flats.

When we compare scale degrees in other modes, they are in comparison to the MAJOR scale intervals.

C Ionian: C D E F G A B C
Just major, but the characteristic note of Ionian/major is 4^ (scale degree 4 of C Ionian/major, so in C, this would be F) and ^7 (major 7)
It's characteristic chord would be V, Gmajor or even better G7 (dominant 7th)
A characteristic cadence would be V - I

D Dorian: D E F G A B C D -- very popular in pop music
Characteristic scale degrees would be b7 (C) and ^2 (E)
Characteristic dorian cadences: IV - i, i - ii

E Phrygian: E F G A B C D E -- this is a pretty intellectual and serious sounding mode, mostly heard in jazz,
Characteristic scale degree ^b2 (F)
Characteristic cadences: II - i, vdim - i, vii - i

F Lydian: F G A B C D E F ---this one is very popular in film music
Characteristic scale degree: ^#4 (B)
Characteristic cadences: II - I

G Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G --- heard in a lot of "medieval" sounding music from medieval and Renaissance periods
Characteristic scale degrees: ^3 (B) ^7 (F)
Characteristic cadences: VII - I, v - I

A Aeolian: --- again, heard in a lot of medieval era music and film music as well. This mode is also considered to be natural minor
Characteristic scale degrees: ^b3 (C) ^b6 (F)
Characteristic cadences: v - i, VI - i, iv - i

B Locrian: B C D E F G A B -- similar to phrygian but there are a lot more complex functions going on here, which is why some theorists consider this not to even be a mode, and with the church modes, this one sounded to "evil" and it was hard for musicians back then to make this sound pleasing to the ear.
Characteristic scale degrees: ^b2 (C) ^b5 (F)
Characteristic cadences: ii - i(dim) V - i(dim)---yeah that one is sort of backwards, more of a retrogression, but like I said this mode has a lot of complex functions going on.

Remember, these are all in the context of C Major's key signature, no sharps or flats. These scale degrees can also apply in any other key signature, but will have different notes.

Quick example, in the key signature of G major (one sharp, F Sharp), dorian will now be A DORIAN:

A Dorian: A B C D E F# G ----> it has the same steps as D Dorian which I showed earlier.

You can also think of building these by their intervals: (W = whole step, H = Half step)
Dorian is: W H W W W H W, so on and so forth for the other modes.

I hope this might help you understand why modes exist. Most people know of them, and what they are, but not too many of us know what they really are, how they are used and applied, and their importance to tonal harmony.

If anyone has anything else to add, that would be great, I just wanted to briefly introduce what the modes are.


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 13th, 2012 @ 11:38 PM Reply

At 12/13/12 11:26 PM, LemonCrush wrote: I see.

So that main bass riff is (or is in) D Dorian mode? How is that different from a scale? From my understanding, a mode is almost the same thing as a scale...

Dorian is a scale and you can use that scale to build your chords by stacking up notes in thirds. So for example in A dorian you would have: Am7 Bm7 Cmaj7 D7 Em7 F#dim7 G7

Explain modes..

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 12:48 AM Reply

At 12/13/12 11:37 PM, deadlyfishes wrote: D Dorian: D E F G A B C D -- very popular in pop music

A Dorian: A B C D E F# G ----> it has the same steps as D Dorian which I showed earlier.

What about J Dorian???

Explain modes..

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 12:57 AM Reply

At 12/14/12 12:48 AM, The-iMortal wrote:
At 12/13/12 11:37 PM, deadlyfishes wrote: D Dorian: D E F G A B C D -- very popular in pop music

A Dorian: A B C D E F# G ----> it has the same steps as D Dorian which I showed earlier.
What about J Dorian???

J Dorian:

J Q W 4 7 % + >

Characteristic scale degree: ^#cheese
Characteristic progression: i - XIII


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 01:16 AM Reply

There's a thread for all music theory related questions already.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 09:26 AM Reply

At 12/13/12 11:38 PM, SineRider wrote: Dorian is a scale and you can use that scale to build your chords by stacking up notes in thirds. So for example in A dorian you would have: Am7 Bm7 Cmaj7 D7 Em7 F#dim7 G7

It would be G major/E minor though unless the chord progression resolves to A. Modality is all about the chord progression, where the phrase resolves to, which makes it kinda tricky because there's only so many different chords you can use in succession before the phrase starts resolving to the tonic of the relative major or minor key. deadlyfishes's post has some good examples of progressions that would imply different types of modality.

An easy way to start with modes is to play a lead over a drone of the tonic of a mode, say make a loop with only Em7 being played and then you improvise over that using the E dorian scale (which has the same notes as D major, E is the second scale degree of the D major scale). Try to put a lot of emphasis on the characteristic scale degrees mentioned in deadlyfishes's post and the root of the mode.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 10:54 AM Reply

At 12/14/12 09:26 AM, seel wrote: An easy way to start with modes is to play a lead over a drone of the tonic of a mode, say make a loop with only Em7 being played and then you improvise over that using the E dorian scale (which has the same notes as D major, E is the second scale degree of the D major scale). Try to put a lot of emphasis on the characteristic scale degrees mentioned in deadlyfishes's post and the root of the mode.

Like I said in my first post, I was implying that modal progression tend to be really simple. You generally have you tonic chord, then a cadence chord back to your tonic. Of course using some of the chords built using the modal scale will make it sound like your in a different key, so you'd want to avoid using the dominant and diminished chords.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 12:17 PM Reply

At 12/13/12 11:37 PM, deadlyfishes wrote:
If anyone has anything else to add, that would be great, I just wanted to briefly introduce what the modes are.

I get that modes are just, in so many words, different sets of intervals. What I dont understand is why I can't hear them when I'm listening to them. I'm just hearing chords under the solos

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 03:16 AM Reply

At 12/14/12 12:17 PM, LemonCrush wrote:
At 12/13/12 11:37 PM, deadlyfishes wrote:
If anyone has anything else to add, that would be great, I just wanted to briefly introduce what the modes are.
I get that modes are just, in so many words, different sets of intervals. What I dont understand is why I can't hear them when I'm listening to them. I'm just hearing chords under the solos

Read the first part of my big post. :]

Too further clarify, it's because when writing with modes, the music general stays within "tonal" harmonic functions, meaning it still sounds like a "normal" progression you would hear in major/minor, but like I explain in detail, each mode has it's own characteristics.


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 06:52 PM Reply

Actually when playing modes there are no chord progressions.. there is no resolution whatsoever

And besides Flamengo Sketches there is also So What and All Blues who are modal pieces

If you want i can explain modes, but do you really need to know?

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 08:28 PM Reply

At 12/15/12 06:52 PM, Lageira wrote: Actually when playing modes there are no chord progressions.. there is no resolution whatsoever

And besides Flamengo Sketches there is also So What and All Blues who are modal pieces

If you want i can explain modes, but do you really need to know?

In a modal tonality, modal chord progressions exist as well as resolutions, they are just in different places than in major/minor tonality. These resolutions are both melodic and harmonic I will say that those progressions and resolutions are usually not as strong in tonal harmony.

In Mixolydian, it's modal cadence bVII - I is not as strong as V 7 - I in tonal harmony, though in the mixo cadence you will have notes in the bVII chord have notes that have a driving force to resolve, but not as strong as a dom7 to I in a regular major tonality.


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 16th, 2012 @ 05:39 AM Reply

At 12/15/12 08:28 PM, deadlyfishes wrote:
At 12/15/12 06:52 PM, Lageira wrote: Actually when playing modes there are no chord progressions.. there is no resolution whatsoever

And besides Flamengo Sketches there is also So What and All Blues who are modal pieces

If you want i can explain modes, but do you really need to know?
In a modal tonality, modal chord progressions exist as well as resolutions, they are just in different places than in major/minor tonality. These resolutions are both melodic and harmonic I will say that those progressions and resolutions are usually not as strong in tonal harmony.

In Mixolydian, it's modal cadence bVII - I is not as strong as V 7 - I in tonal harmony, though in the mixo cadence you will have notes in the bVII chord have notes that have a driving force to resolve, but not as strong as a dom7 to I in a regular major tonality.

When you are playing on a modal tonality you have no progressions! You just hang on one chord, the harmony can be arranged to sound more interesting but it's still one chord.. What can happen is, like in So What, the tune changes from modality (D Dorian to Eb Dorian) But you will never hear anything different then a D/Eb minor (with a 9th 11th and a 6th)

Melodic resolution might be on the tune, but never harmonically.. give me one example of a modal song where there's any sort of cadence/chord progression/resolution (harmonically)

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 02:56 PM Reply

remember modes is good to know....but once you learn them all you soon realized they all stack on top of each other.....so its like as if you never learned them at all...if that makes senses.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 05:43 PM Reply

modes are the way musicians try to structure music, but many musical pieces, as most art does, stray from a definable path, and build something more for themselves, or lack any known describable traits found in existing music. This just means that the music you are listening to was not very popular in its time compared to other groups or artists, and has not gained the recognition deserved for the patterns; there are many popular regularly used patterns in jazz that match your described song, but wikipedia will probably not make it any easier for you to find or understand those terms.


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 06:08 PM Reply

Why is it whenever people who know what they're talking about say something, they're immediately shot down by a flood of retarded comments?

To answer to Lageria's question, modal chord progressions are used all the time in rock music, as well as ancient music. As for jazz, there's a complete genre called modal jazz that uses these notions, with Wayne Shorter as the frontman. There's also a raising fusion genre these days called ethno-jazz, which fuses ethnic traits with jazz, which tends to make very prominent uses of modal harmony, with my favorite artist in the genre being Avishai Cohen.

So please, before making a fool out of yourself, prevent yourself any further embarrassment by not completely disregarding people's words if you don't even know what you're talking about.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 04:23 AM Reply

At 12/17/12 06:08 PM, camoshark wrote: Why is it whenever people who know what they're talking about say something, they're immediately shot down by a flood of retarded comments?

To answer to Lageria's question, modal chord progressions are used all the time in rock music, as well as ancient music. As for jazz, there's a complete genre called modal jazz that uses these notions, with Wayne Shorter as the frontman. There's also a raising fusion genre these days called ethno-jazz, which fuses ethnic traits with jazz, which tends to make very prominent uses of modal harmony, with my favorite artist in the genre being Avishai Cohen.

So please, before making a fool out of yourself, prevent yourself any further embarrassment by not completely disregarding people's words if you don't even know what you're talking about.

What you are calling modal progressions is actually just one chord... Just because you are playing the uppersturctures of the mode you are in as chords on an acoustic guitar doesnt mean you have a chord progression

On that Jethro Tull tune (the first one) You have an Emi chord and then a Dmaj, and according to the context of the song (the riff before and bassline) the song would be on Emi(Dorian). What you get when you play a Dmaj is actually a Emi911/D with the 7th on the bass. I still hear all those acoustic chords as one chord changing it's extensions. The resolution you hear is just the 9th and the 11th changing to the stronger chord tones 3rd and 5th (which is a very different sound then the 7th from the V7 going to the 3rd of I). Also if you know what is going on in Modal Jazz you should know what i just said.
My opinion is that you can't call that a chord progression (altough many people do) because:

-There are no cadences;

-There is no harmonic resolution;

-There are no cadences;

-There are no cadences

I really hope you know what you are talking about and i really really hope you know how a 9th sounds like on any type of chord before you even try to understand how modes work.. however feel free to have a different opinion as long as you are happy with the perspective you are using to see music and can use it on the bandstage.

..and its Lageira

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 08:00 AM Reply

Damn, what is this a forum full of smart asses? When did all of yall get all melody savvy?

stop over analyzing it and just write music :p

Giants are too tall. We'll have to stand on top of each others shoulders to survive.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 10:44 AM Reply

At 12/18/12 08:00 AM, Quarl wrote:
stop over analyzing it and just write music :p

Best post in this topic thus far, if it sounds good it's good. Nothing wrong with learning but people need to simmer down around here.

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 01:32 PM Reply

Skimmed the thread, and I didn't see anyone bring this up...

Did Jazz musicians of past times know what key/mode/style/etc they were going off of... or was it something that started by copying traits of popular songs, and by chance, it all ends up being around the same keys, modes, etc?

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 01:46 PM Reply

At 12/18/12 04:23 AM, Lageira wrote:
-There is no harmonic resolution;

-There are no cadences;

-There are no cadences

Cadences exist in all types of music, tonal, modal, atonal/post tonal. A cadence is:
"A sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or the end of a composition."

There is no harmonic resolution, you are correct, but there is tonicizasion in modal music since modal music doesn't functionthe same way. There are resolutions to the modal center.

Also a progression is defined as "The movement of chords in succession." though more specifically, they should go back to tonic in tonally and modally functionalmusic.

What are some of your sources?


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 05:58 PM Reply

Melodic resolution might be on the tune, but never harmonically.. give me one example of a modal song where there's any sort of cadence/chord progression/resolution (harmonically)

Since you asked...

http://erato.uvt.nl/files/imglnks/usimg/5/5a/IMSLP189498-WIM A.1664-benedictus-ltr.pdf
http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usimg/d/d1/IMSLP167442-W IMA.9c1c-Jesu-rex-admirabilis.pdf

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 07:16 PM Reply

I'm gonna stop now.. I admit i am not the best teacher to explain modes but i do know that modes should be one of the last things you should learn from all the music theory. Everyone has a different interpretation on modes. The best way to start learning this stuff is to take solfege classes while learning theory and use your knowledge while playing/composing. Learning modes shouldnt be a priority unless you're pretty comfortable with this here --- Theory and this over here --- Solfege

I am sorry if I came off as a big-headed douche

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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 08:18 PM Reply

At 12/18/12 07:16 PM, Lageira wrote: I'm gonna stop now.. I admit i am not the best teacher to explain modes but i do know that modes should be one of the last things you should learn from all the music theory. Everyone has a different interpretation on modes. The best way to start learning this stuff is to take solfege classes while learning theory and use your knowledge while playing/composing. Learning modes shouldnt be a priority unless you're pretty comfortable with this here --- Theory and this over here --- Solfege

I am sorry if I came off as a big-headed douche

I have completed my B.M. in Music Composition, and one more semester away for a B.M. in Film Scoring.
Certified on-campus tutor for tonal harmony, modern harmony, post tonal harmony, and counterpoint.

All of my sources are from professors, hours of composition/theory seminars and a wide array of tonal harmony and modern harmony text books.

Ear Training 1 - 4 (modern) and Classical Solfege 1 - 2

I just haven't seen any source that say that modal music does not have progressions or cadences, that's really it, I agree with you on many levels, it's just that I totally disagree when you say that modal music does not have those things.


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Response to Explain modes.. Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 09:48 PM Reply

At 12/18/12 08:18 PM, deadlyfishes wrote: Ear Training 1 - 4 (modern) and Classical Solfege 1 - 2

I just haven't seen any source that say that modal music does not have progressions or cadences, that's really it, I agree with you on many levels, it's just that I totally disagree when you say that modal music does not have those things.

Oh hey, a fellow berklee dude