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pepito

song structure, key

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I plunked out a bass line off a record I was listening to last night. It was simple, so I decided I would apply my amuzing powers of music theory analysis. I started off assuming the song was in C cuz the first chord was C (major) and then it went to a (minor). There was also an Fmaj chord.

But then I started to get confused by a Bbmaj chord. The song structure was like this

Cmaj for 3 bars (///)

amin /

Cmaj /

Fmaj //

Cmaj /

Bbmaj for half a bar and Fmaj for half (Bb/F)

Cmaj/

Bb/F

Cmaj/

The progression is twelve bars long. When I think of 12 bars I think blues- starting on the I to the IV to the I to the IV to the V to the I with maybe a turnaround on the V. If you're gonna have one minor chord it's likely to be the vi (a minor in the key of C), but probably not the iii.

But now I think the song is in F, notwithstanding that it starts on C (the V) and includes a minor (the iii).

What do you all think?

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The song is in the key of F.

Perfect use of the myxolydian (5th degree) mode.

Very common in blues.

 

The guy probably didn't think of it in those terms.

He actually used the minor 7th of the C (Bb) as a passing note instead of the B for easier resolution to the F.

 

major 7ths hardly resolve to anything. If he had used the B, he would have had a tritone (diminued 5th) between the B and the F coming next. This interval is difficult to make sound right, especially in a major key.

 

Using the myxolydian mode is an elegant way of solving this problem.

 

 

Anybody correct me if I'm wrong. That's how I see it.

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If you were to write it out, you would probably give it a key sig. for F (one flat) but if you were to jam along with it, it would be easiest to think in C mixolydian (shares the same key sig as F).

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This is a very subtle point, the C mixolydian. Really beyond my depth. Can someone expand on the difference between thinking C mixolydian and F major?

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Originally posted by pepito

This is a very subtle point, the C mixolydian. Really beyond my depth. Can someone expand on the difference between thinking C mixolydian and F major?

They're the same key, but not started on the same note, leading to a different scale.

Here comes the mode theory.

 

Take your F scale.

F

G

A

Bb

C

D

E

 

 

Each note corresponds to a degree. Number them.

F - I

G - II

A - III

Bb - IV

C - V

D - VI

E - VII

 

 

To each degree corresponds a mode with a name.

I - Ionian

II - Dorian

III - Phrygian

IV - Lydian

V - Mixolydian

VI - Aeolian

VII - Locrian

 

 

Those modes are always associated with the same degree, whatever the key. Each mode brings a different scale with different intervals sounding different.

I - Ionian - 1 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2

II - Dorian - 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2 1

III - Phrygian - 1/2 1 1 1 1/2 1 1

IV - Lydian - 1 1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2

V - Mixolydian - 1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1

VI - Aeolian - 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1

VII - Locrian - 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1 1

 

Each mode brings different colors and feelings :

Ionian - Regular major mode. Majestuous, festive, very strong. You know how to use it.

 

Dorian - Minor mode, very sad, nostalgic, romantic. Perfect for lullabies and love songs.

 

Phrygian - Typical flamenco mode. Minor yet very dancing.

 

Lydian - Very harsh major mode, mainly due to the augmented 4th and major 7th. Sounds great for metal songs. A lot of war anthems and military songs are written in this mode.

 

Mixolydian - Major mode, not as happy or powerful as the ionian, mainly due to the minor 7th. Wonderful for blues soloes.

 

Aeolian - Regular minor mode. Incredibly versatile, so many things to do with it.

 

Locrian - Odd sounding minor mode. Nice if you want to corrupt a tender song with a strange melody. Definitely the one I preffer for my solos.

 

 

In your case (key of F), it makes :

I - Ionian - F G A Bb C D E

II - Dorian - G A Bb C D E F

III - Phrygian - A Bb C D E F G

IV - Lydian - Bb C D E F G A

V - Mixolydian - C D E F G A Bb

VI - Aeolian - D E F G A Bb C

VII - Locrian - E F G A Bb C D

 

 

Whoof. One had to do it I guess.

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Excellent, Jazz Ad. But why? Is the mixolydian scale suggested because the song starts on C, but is in the key of F? Or is there more to it? The progression goes C, a, C, F, C, Bb, F, C. The bass line ascends each chord in turn (C, E, G, C; A, C, E,A; F,A,C,F; etc.).

The first bar of the bass line, for example, C,E,G,C, takes notes from the C chord only. Those notes are also found in the C major scale, the a minor scale, the F major scale, and, as Jazz Ad has just explained, the C mixolydian. And that's just the first chord. It doesn't adress the overall tonality of the song. I'm thinking out loud here. Is the difference really because the true tonal center of the song is C, rather than F?

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Originally posted by pepito

....Is the difference really because the true tonal center of the song is C, rather than F?

Yes. The whole song revolves around the C. ie, the song starts and ends on a C.

From the chosen chords, you could tell the song in the key of F.

Yet, the most common chord is the C.

C is the degree V of the F scale.

Degree V = mixolydian mode.

 

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Originally posted by Jazz Ad

Yes. The whole song revolves around the C. ie, the song starts and ends on a C.

From the chosen chords, you could tell the song in the key of F.

Yet, the most common chord is the C.

C is the degree V of the F scale.

Degree V = mixolydian mode.

 

Excellent, Frenchie.

 

+1

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Originally posted by Jazz Ad

They're the same key, but not started on the same note, leading to a different scale.

Here comes the mode theory.


Take your F scale.

F

G

A

Bb

C

D

E



Each note corresponds to a degree. Number them.

F - I

G - II

A - III

Bb - IV

C - V

D - VI

E - VII



To each degree corresponds a mode with a name.

I - Ionian

II - Dorian

III - Phrygian

IV - Lydian

V - Mixolydian

VI - Aeolian

VII - Locrian



Those modes are always associated with the same degree, whatever the key. Each mode brings a different scale with different intervals sounding different.

I - Ionian - 1 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2

II - Dorian -1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1 1

III - Phrygian -1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1

IV - Lydian -1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1

V - Mixolydian -1 1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2

VI - Aeolian -1/2 1 1 1 1/2 1 1

VII - Locrian -1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2 1


Each mode brings different colors and feelings :

Ionian - Regular major mode. Majestuous, festive, very strong. You know how to use it.


Dorian - Minor mode, very sad, nostalgic, romantic. Perfect for lullabies and love songs.


Phrygian - Typical flamenco mode. Minor yet very dancing.


Lydian - Very harsh major mode, mainly due to the augmented 4th and major 7th. Sounds great for metal songs. A lot of war anthems and military songs are written in this mode.


Mixolydian - Major mode, not as happy or powerful as the ionian, mainly due to the minor 7th. Wonderful for blues soloes.


Aeolian - Regular minor mode. Incredibly versatile, so many things to do with it.


Locrian - Odd sounding minor mode. Nice if you want to corrupt a tender song with a strange melody. Definitely the one I preffer for my solos.



In your case (key of F), it makes :

I - Ionian - F G A Bb C D E

II - Dorian -E F G A Bb C D

III - Phrygian -D E F G A Bb C

IV - Lydian -C D E F G A Bb

V - Mixolydian -Bb C D E F G A

VI - Aeolian -A Bb C D E F G

VII - Locrian -G A Bb C D E F


Whoof. One had to do it I guess.

 

bowdown.gif

ITT

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Looks like it's in F to me. I know a song we do in church that is in Eb but it starts on Bb (the 5th)...looks to me like that is the case here. In fact that whole backwards thing with the chord progression (V IV I...or in that case C Bb F) is quite common in modern pop/rock music. Some examples of that include Sweet Home Alabama and Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi).

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It still amazes me though.

 

All our occidental music theory was made up by Bach 250 years ago, and it didn't require any serious mod since then.

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Basically a mode is using the same notes of a certain scale but starting and ending on a different note. There are different names (which Jazz Ad showed) for each mode of a scale. For example, out of the key of F, Ionian starts on F and ends on F,

Dorian starts on E and ends on E, etc. It's like making a scale out of each scale degree in the F major scale...but you must use those notes in the F major scale (meaning the only accidental in this case is a Bb).

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Ya know, I was wondering that myself but proceeded to assume Jazz was right since he seemed more knowledgable on the subject. I know how modes are formed but if you told me to play Db Phrygian on the spot I'd probably have to spend about 5-10 minutes to figure out where the hell it is.

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Originally posted by Basslord1124

Ya know, I was wondering that myself but proceeded to assume Jazz was right since he seemed more knowledgable on the subject. I know how modes are formed but if you told me to play Db Phrygian on the spot I'd probably have to spend about 5-10 minutes to figure out where the hell it is.

 

apart from pure intellect is there a way to remember these names

i practice them and set up on a song in the 'right' position to get the roots to fall easily in one section of the fretboard, and i am beginning to understand some of the theory.

i also have noticed some songs when the singer is singing a C the bass note is D

and also tunes starting in Am resolve and finish on a C

its interesting

and i have just had a look at some gershwin scores and he just doesnt seem to care:D nice work if you can get it.:cool:

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Now that I have memorized all the modal scales in every key and each position ;), can we discuss practical uses? How is my new understanding of modes going to help my bass playing?

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Originally posted by pepito

Now that I have memorized all the modal scales in every key and each position
;)
, can we discuss practical uses? How is my new understanding of modes going to help my bass playing?

 

One way is by playing every other note of a mode scale. In doing this, you are playing an arpeggio of the chord that this mode denotes. i.e Dorian G Bb D F= Gmin7.

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Originally posted by pepito

So every modal scale has it's own special chord?

 

Yes, if for instance, you play every other note of the Dorian in F (Starts in G), you get Gmin7.

 

F modes and their related chords=

IMaj7=F Maj7

IImin7=G min7

IIImin7=A min7

IVMaj7=Bb Maj7

V7 = C7 (dominant 7th) or C Maj b7

VImin7=D min7

VIImin7b5= E min7b5

VIII= Octave F Maj7

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Here are some practical examples of different modes.

Mixolydian - Warning by GreenDay.

Dorian - Rappers Delight.

Aeolian - the chorus of Crazy Train by Ozzie

Lydian - 2nd bass lick of Longview by Greenday (not the whole scale)

 

If you know these songs, it'll be a little easier to learn the scales and associate the sound. I'm sure you guys can find some more.

 

 

Good Luck,

 

Rob

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Back to G mixolydian, then. (G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G) This scale takes it's notes from the C major/a minor scale, but it's tonal center is actually G. It's "special" (tonic) chord is G major or G7.

My next question is: how does the ear relate the modal scale to the tonic chord of that scale?

In the song we've been dealing with, the bass line sticks to root, third, fifth, octave of the several chords. What's the consequence of taking say, the seventh note from the G mixolydian, rather than the G major or G "blues" scale?

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Modal names - for some reason I have the worst time remembering these. I wish we could just use numbers. I can remember E - Second Mode a lot easier than E Dorian, just because immediately you know which step you're on. But everybody looks at me weird if I use numbers instead of the name. :(

 

:) Either way, they're fun to play with.

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