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Any Modal Gurus here? (warning: theory content)


Jim-Bass

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I know the theory behind and can play all the modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian) that exist within a MAJOR Key, but is there a different set for a MINOR Key? Let's say a relative minor....or would that just be the same scales except starting on Aeolian?

 

I don't need too much info, nor do I want to really discuss theory in depth, but I've got a new student tonight, she's played classical guitar in the past, now wants to learn Jazz bass. I can teach jazz, my chops are pretty good but I don't want to be caught out.

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I know the theory behind and can play all the modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian) that exist within a MAJOR Key, but is there a different set for a MINOR Key? Let's say a relative minor....or would that just be the same scales except starting on Aeolian?


I don't need too much info, nor do I want to really discuss theory in depth, but I've got a new student tonight, she's played classical guitar in the past, now wants to learn Jazz bass. I can teach jazz, my chops are pretty good but I don't want to be caught out.

 

pretty much

 

best answer I can give you without getting in depth theroy discussion started

:wave:

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Like anything else, I find when dealing with blues and its family (blues, funk, R&B, etc), modal concepts and playing diatonically correct are pretty much useless to me anyway.....

 

 

And this is where the conversation can get complicated.

 

I'd peel your two ideas apart: diatonic and modal.

 

This stuff helps me interpret and prepare for what I'm against because I haven't come across many plain ol' diatonic tunes. Thinking modally helps get an idea of what's going on when a song does seem bizarre. It helps to see that maybe the songs has completely changed key, or an accidental is being used because the song has moved to the vii but the composer doesn't want to be in locrian mode.

 

Thinking modally has helped me in a huge way ... going into a situation where I'm in over my head, gotta face some jazz charts with changes every half-measure ... interepting this stuff modally helped me find shortcuts and fake it.

 

Even in pop songs. Knowing that a minor is more specifically dorian is a valuable piece of info: be careful with that aeolian note.

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Thinking modally has helped me in a huge way ... going into a situation where I'm in over my head, gotta face some jazz charts with changes every half-measure ... interepting this stuff modally helped me find shortcuts and fake it.

 

Trust me, I have made a career of doing just what you said :D...

 

 

......All, I was saying is that the blues family tends to usually deal with diatonically incorrect chord pogressions. For the chord itself - especially for jazz - I will use modes chord-specific. For everything else, I will keep modes at a reachable distance at all times-especially if I feel like Im getting lost, but I usually just try to play what 'sings' to me instead of wondering if I can try super-locrian in a passage or not.............

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Definitely start with modes of the major scale. After that, if you're feeling saucy, try these:

 

Modes of Melodic Minor:

 

 

*"Jazz Minor" - this is straight up melodic minor; major scale with a flat 3

 

"Phrygian (natural 6) / Dorian b2" - Major scale with flat 2,3,7 scale degrees.

 

*"Lydian sharp 5" - sharp 4th and 5th scale degrees

 

*"Lydian b7 / Lydian dominant" - sharp 4, flat 7

 

"Mixolydian b7" - This is natural minor (aeolian) with a natural 3rd

 

*"Locrian sharp 2" - It's got flat 3,5,6,7 scale degrees

 

*"Altered Dominant / Super Locrian" - root, b2, #2, 3, #4, #5, b7

 

 

* most important

 

And These:

Modes of Harmonic Minor:

 

 

*Melodic Minor - b3, b5, natural 7. Listen for the augmented 2nd.

 

*"Locrian Natural 6" - flat 2,3,5,6

 

Ionian Augmented - major scale w/ sharp 5th

 

"Dorian #4 / Dorian Lydian" - Flat 3, Sharp 4, Flat 7

 

*"Spanish Phrygian" - This is a dominant mode. flat 2, flat, 6 flat 7. Super-hip on the V chord in a minor ii-V.

 

"Lydian sharp 2" - #2, #4

 

Can't remember the name of the seventh mode of harmonic for some reason... it's not very useful, though.

 

 

If your student starts to look at you like you don't know what you're doing, send her away to learn all these modes in all 12 keys. That'll show her.

 

/w

 

Edit: Oh... I see I'm pretty late to the thread. Sorry for the bump. I'm a drummer, I don't take things like thread age into account before I post!

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