Topic: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Hi,

I am new to music and trying to make sure I understand the concept of how modes work in the greater scope of guitar. I am looking for someone to look at what I think I understand and confirm or correct it.

A greatly simplified song…

    [*]We start with determining the [B]Key[/b], which provides us with the [B]Scale[/b].
    [*]Then we determine the type of tone we want [B](Mode)[/b] by choosing one of the degrees (I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii) from our scale as our central tone/root chord. We play the root chord in a progression which provides the [B]Harmony[/b] and make sure the root is the dominant tone.
    [*]Then we overlay the harmony, with the notes from the original scale which makes the [B]Melody[/b].

I am just looking for a high level confirmation that what I have defined above is correct.

Thanks

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

I would find some chords that sound good with the melody you have chosen and not worry about the mode smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Russell_Harding wrote:

I would find some chords that sound good with the melody you have chosen and not worry about the mode smile

Amen!

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

You are technically correct but this is a very sanitary, unfeeling way to write music. Russell has the right idea. smile

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Russell_Harding wrote:

I would find some chords that sound good with the melody you have chosen and not worry about the mode smile

Baldguitardude wrote:

You are technically correct but this is a very sanitary, unfeeling way to write music. Russell has the right idea. smile

Well . . . maybe.  Upfront disclaimer:  I know squat about songwriting.

Having said that, it seems to me that Russ would be right assuming that USMC has a melody already "chosen".  That's not necessarily a valid assumption.  Maybe the intent here is to find a nice chord progression within a particular mode of a particular key.  Once that is established, then work on harmony and melody lines using the appropriate scale to go along with the chords.

I would think that is how a lot of songs are written, i.e. chords first, followed by melody.

But like I said, I know squat about it.

"Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." - Despair, Inc.

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

For most western popular music the motion from tonic => subdominant => dominant and subsequent resolution back to tonic is a heck of a lot more important than the chord(s) that go along with your melody note in some mode or another. If this is what OP is looking for he'd be better served doing research on chord structure, substitutions and voicings rather than  worrying about what mode a song's in.

In fact, the whole notion of modality is better thought of in terms of melody and scales vs. chord progressions. Consider a blues song in C that goes:
C7       F
C7       F       G

When we talk about what key that song is in, we say C or C major. You wouldn't generally say "it's in the key of C mixolydian" because "C mixolydian" isn't a key. It's a scale.

However when I'm jamming with my guitar buddies I might say "here are the changes. Think C mixolydian when you're soloing."

7 (edited by Astronomikal 2013-01-04 00:02:35)

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

I still haven't gotten my head around the whole modes thing.  I think I need to find a music theory course at my local community college or somewhere.  There is only so much I can teach myself.

For example, I pretty much get the whole 1-4-5 thing and can usually hear it when I listen to songs.  But I sometimes get thrown off when I hear a song such as the Eagles' version of "Seven Bridges Road".  The progression in the verses is:  D - C - G with resolution back to D (1-b7-4).  So the song is in D, but it obviously doesn't follow the 1-4-5 pattern.

One could argue that it's in G, which would follow the 1-4-5, but my ear recognizes that the D is the "home" chord.  (Would that be what you'd call the tonic?)

Your explanations help.  Thanks again.

PS:  Apologies to the OP for threadjacking.

***EDIT:  This conversation seemed familar, and it turns out that it was:

http://www.chordie.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=19937

"Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." - Despair, Inc.

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Home chord is the tonic. Seven bridges Road is an example of a song that is not written diatonically - but your analysis of the song is correct. The chord progression is I - bVII - IV. The lowered 7th chord uses a note from C mixolydian. Same thing in "can't you see."

Here's an analysis that applies to SBR. Might skip to the part that talks about lowering the root."

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Baldguitardude wrote:

Here's an analysis that applies to SBR. Might skip to the part that talks about lowering the root."

Did you intend to attach a link?

"Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." - Despair, Inc.

10 (edited by christopaul 2013-02-11 15:17:35)

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

I hear the sound of a topic going clean over my head. I've tried to understand it.  I've read about it in books. I've practiced scales which I'd been told would help me understand them. Now, I'm beyond trying to understand. That's what I like about the guitar. You can learn as much or as little as you want to about theory.

I can't do maths either.

I see friends holdiong hands, saying "How do you do"
They're really saying, "I love you"
Louis Armstrong. Wonderful world.

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Oops just saw this. Yeah I intended to attach a link but now I can't find it!!!!

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

I posted this a while back or at least it seems some time ago.  Funny thing is it was really only at the beginning of the year.  Time Flies....

When I made the original post I was going through the book and videos associated with Fretboard Theory by Desi Serna.  I consulted with him on this and he confirmed that my description is correct when you are starting from scratch in writing a song.  Of course the opposite would be true on an existing song.

I just wanted a very high level understanding of what Mode is and how it interacts with Chords, Keys, and Melodies. 

I come from a strong engineering background and the learning methods for us left brainers are significantly different then most really good musicians who are "traditionally" right brainers, although there are always exceptions to the rule.  Those of us who view the world from the left side of the brain need to see the whole picture and how everything fits within that whole.  Right brainers approach things very differently...   Again, I am not saying anything about those who have right brain views.  But if you read the thread, you can see there are a variety of views about how to go about this subject.  Again, I am not saying anything is wrong with that. 

This is just how I need my left brain centered mind to go about understanding how Modes fit into the entire picture.

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

USMC7312 wrote:

I come from a strong engineering background and the learning methods for us left brainers are significantly different then most really good musicians who are "traditionally" right brainers, although there are always exceptions to the rule.  Those of us who view the world from the left side of the brain need to see the whole picture and how everything fits within that whole.

As someone who has that exact same background and has that same "why" need, the book that cracked it open for me was "Scales over Chords" by Wilbur Savidge.   It is based on the CAGED method, which should make complete sense to your left brain.

Someday we'll win this thing...

[url=http://www.aclosesecond.com]www.aclosesecond.com[/url]

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

thanks...  I will check it out Jerome.oneil

Re: Help Confirm My Understanding of Mode

Scales over Chords. Perhaps I'll give it one more go too.

I see friends holdiong hands, saying "How do you do"
They're really saying, "I love you"
Louis Armstrong. Wonderful world.