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Thread: HELP please, need help understanding modes before my dad gets home

  1. #1
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    Exclamation HELP please, need help understanding modes before my dad gets home

    So to keep things short and sweet i really haven't been practicing much theory like he thinks i have and hes gonna flip out if i dont have something to tell him. i dont wanna go into details, but last time this happened i couldnt use my right 5 finger for like a month and i know itll b worse this time, ill probably have to switch to tuba or something where you dont have to use all your fingers. i did a ton of research online but none of it makes sense and my dad comes back from iraq tomorrow

    so the question is:
    say i'm in the key of Bbmaj/Gmin with a treble and bass staff (piano)

    if my left hand plays a sustained Gm chord and my right hand plays G A Bb C D Eb F G, is that phrase in ionian?

    Same thing, except sustained Gm chord and my right hand plays A Bb C D Eb F G A, did i just play a phrase in dorian?

    -is a mode simply which scale note the phrase starts on against the backing notes?
    -wouldnt this reset every time the bass notes change? Like if i went from I to III in the next measure, now my left hand is playing a Bflat, if i play the same G A Bb C D Eb F G run would it now be an aeolian phrase since its being played over a Bb and the starting note of the phrase is a 6th above Bb?


    -am i erroneous in using a triad for the bass, should it just be a single tone?

    thanks so much, in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    There are 7 modes coming from the major scale. Each one beginning on each scale degree (step) of that major scale. They are called:
    1st-Ionian
    2nd-Dorian
    3rd-phrygian
    4th-lydian
    5th-mixolydian
    6th-aeolian
    7th-locrian
    The 1st is the same as the major scale, and 6th the same as natural minor. You can harmonize, like you said, or play the single note the scale starts on. If you play Bb left hand with g-minor in the right, it will soon sound like Bb major. You will hear the different modes easier when the bass or triad in the left hand is the same as the starting note of the scale of the right hand. So play an a-minor triad and play the G-major scale starting from a, the 2nd degree of G
    This webpage is pretty good for some theory.
    http://www.musictheory.net
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Nov-17-2016 at 01:52.

  3. #3
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjetil Heggelund View Post
    There are 7 modes coming from the major scale. Each one beginning on each scale degree (step) of that major scale. They are called:
    1st-Ionian
    2nd-Dorian
    3rd-phrygian
    4th-lydian
    5th-mixolydian
    6th-aeolian
    7th-locrian
    The 1st is the same as the major scale, and 6th the same as natural minor. You can harmonize, like you said, or play the single note the scale starts on. If you play Bb left hand with g-minor in the right, it will soon sound like Bb major. You will hear the different modes easier when the bass or triad in the left hand is the same as the starting note of the scale of the right hand. So play an a-minor triad and play the G-major scale starting from a, the 2nd degree of G
    This webpage is pretty good for some theory.
    http://www.musictheory.net
    thanks for the response kjetil. i like that site, but its what confused me in the first place. i re-read what you said over and over, but im still slightly confused. Is what i said in my original post wrong? And how could i play Am, wouldn't it be Adim since im in the key of Gm? the picture im getting is :

    1st -Ionian - G A Bb C D Eb F G
    2nd-Dorian A Bb C D Eb F G A
    3rd-phrygian Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
    4th-lydian C D Eb F G A Bb
    5th-mixolydian D Eb F G A Bb C D
    6th-aeolian Eb F G A Bb C D Eb
    7th-locrian F G A Bb C D Eb F G

    which is stupid since its just the major scale starting in a different spot, like whats the big deal? i feel like im missing something

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Your example is wrong. 1st step should be major! Your 3rd step should be 1st. ans the rest follows. Ionian=Major. Your ionian should be aeolian, meaning g-minor is the 6th degree of Bb-major, and called aeolian.
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Nov-17-2016 at 02:17.

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  6. #5
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    thanks again for your patience. lets start over
    a major scale as i understand is W W H W W W H
    so if i am in the key of Bb i have Bb C D Eb F G A Bb this is the Bb ionian, yes?

    is a mode applying the WWHWWWH pattern to a new starting note?
    for instance, Bb dorian would be applying the same WWHWWWH pattern to the 2nd note of the Bb scale, in this case C: essentially playing a c major scale over Bb root?
    C D E F G A B C
    doesnt that just staright up change the key and cause a ton of disonant sounding crappy notes?
    seriously this isnt making any more sense ( sorry for my ineptitude)
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Nov-17-2016 at 02:33.

  7. #6
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    upon re reading your last post it seems like youre saying that
    1st -Ionian - Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
    2nd-Dorian C D Eb F G A Bb C
    3rd-phrygian D Eb F G A Bb C D
    4th-lydian Eb F G A Bb C D Eb
    5th-mixolydian F G A Bb C D Eb F
    6th-aeolian G A Bb C D Eb F G (natural minor)
    7th-locrian A Bb C D E F G A

    so every note is still within the key signature... its just the note the phrase starts on that defines its mode?
    so if i play Bb left hand, right hand goes Bb C D Eb im ionian.
    next measure i play Bb left hand, right hand goes C D Eb F G im dorian
    so on so forth?

  8. #7
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    NO! Well, the 1st point is right.

    1st -Ionian WWHWWWH
    2nd-Dorian WHWWWHW
    3rd-phrygian HWWWHWW
    4th-lydian WWWHWWH
    5th-mixolydian WWHWWHW
    6th-aeolian WHWWHWW
    7th-locrian HWWHWWW
    The steps all "move to the left"

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  10. #8
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Well, now you get it soon

    The bass should be the same as the scale:
    Bb ionian=Bb bass
    C-dorian=C bass
    D-frygian=D bass
    etc

  11. #9
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    so say i wrote a piece in Bb and im doing a I III V progression. 1st measure is in Bb, how do i make that measure, say, dorian mode? according to what you said i'd have to play a Cmin, and then start my melody on a C as well, wouldn't that simply be a II

  12. #10
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Good morning from Norway!
    The chord progressions and modes correlate. A chord progression like I III V with a slow harmonic rhythm, will give you Bb ionian, d phrygian, and F mixolydian. Try a vamp of II & V. That's dorian Chords in our key is c-minor & F-major.

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    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjetil Heggelund View Post
    Good morning from Norway!
    The chord progressions and modes correlate. A chord progression like I III V with a slow harmonic rhythm, will give you Bb ionian, d phrygian, and F mixolydian. Try a vamp of II & V. That's dorian Chords in our key is c-minor & F-major.
    good afternoon from california.

    Okay, the II is dorian, wouldn't the V be mixo ?

    what if in my I III V Bb progression, on the III i play the Dmin with my left hand and Bb C D Eb, would that be ionian since im starting my melody on the dominant note of my key (if thats the correct term)

    is it all relative to the starting note?
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Nov-17-2016 at 22:37.

  14. #12
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
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    also, i dont really have any classical music associates do you think i could send you a song i wrote and you could critique it? i understand if you dont wanna but its pretty short and it involves classical instruments so it think you'd like it
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Nov-17-2016 at 22:54.

  15. #13
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    You are welcome to send me your song
    I believe you should read some music theory and learn musical terms. Start with easier things to check if you know the right terms.

    "since im starting my melody on the dominant note of my key (if thats the correct term)" This sentence made me say that

    "Okay, the II is dorian, wouldn't the V be mixo ? " = YES!

    I took my MM at SFCM (San Francisco!)

    cheers from Kjetil.

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