Need help on modes.

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by kripesh, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. kripesh

    kripesh New Member

    Hi all there...
    I have a confusion while composing some guitar solos that-
    1. If notes are all same for every mode of a scale but their order changes and
    2. In a solo, same notes lay in random fashion then

    how the mode of the solo will be determined?

    If anyone know how please help....
  2. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    a) You have to realize that the most essential quality of the mode is the relative interval between the two notes being played. eg- playing a D dorian in ascending order gives you different intervals than the phrygian. You wouldn't normally mix them up if you're trying to get a specific modal sound.

    b) Even if you mix up the notes, the notes you consider your start and end point influence the mode to a great extent. If your solos are resolving at D
  3. kripesh

    kripesh New Member

    Thank you very much...
    One more question-
    For mixing up the notes should I study the importance of every note in the scale like what tonic does, what dominant does etc...
    Or is there something else?
  4. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    More than the scale, what determines the importance of the note is the chord playing behind it. Since you're usually not playing in isolation, how the specific note sounds over the chord playing in the background is what makes the difference.

    However, you certainly should study the importance of every note in the scale and try to see if it makes sense when you're playing. Along with this, you should study chord theory and try and find the impact of playing a certain note on a certain chord and it will help you understand theory better.

    Take for example a C major chord.

    The notes are:


    If I play a G major arpeggio over this, the notes are:


    If we superimpose the two, we get:


    which is basically the C Major 9th chord.

    Now, what if I'm playing both chords and playing one bar of C and one bar of G. I can play the C major 9th notes on top of the C chord and for G, since its a Dom chord, I decide to play a Dm chord on top of it since it gives me an over G9th sound.

    Notes of G: GBD, Notes of Dm: DFA


    So now, instead of playing the whole C major 9th and G9th arpeggio, I only play G major notes over C major and D minor notes over G.

    so maybe I play something like:

    C%C%C%C% G%G%G%G

    and it sounds nice and smooth and it's just simple logic. I have no idea if it sounds nice because I've made this up while sitting in a boring office meeting but I think it should. It's just one idea in a million. The more you understand about chords, the better you get at making these little licks. Someone might look at this and ask "Why would you use a D minor arpeggio on a G major?". Well, now you know. It's also relative though since you should only use a Dm to try and accentuate G with a 7th. If you use it where the G is a tonic, you wouldn't sound as nice (usually).
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  5. wylder

    wylder New Member

    Nice explanation...

    We rock/metal guitarists keep focusing too much on cramming so many notes into a bar that we cannot truly appreciate the contrasts that the note you are playing can create with the backing chords.

    On paper, C Ionian is same as D Dorian or E Phrygian but they sound distinctly different only due to the backing chords and the way you emphasize notes (by duration or placement).
  6. kripesh

    kripesh New Member

    Thanks a lot. Very nice explanation. Loads of things are clear now.

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