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Modal Scale/Keys
What makes modal scales different?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (41 votes) 
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Gordon Shumway
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May 11, 2022 - 9:33 am
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Gordon Shumway said
  Eric Taylor says no music has ever been composed in Locrian (not unless someone has recently done it to try to prove a point).  

I rest my case.

"Heavy, yet flowing" reminds me of Strabo's mucus.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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I LOVE this thread - it's really been mind-blowing. 🤗 

So, I have more to add to all this 'Modes madness', from Charles Cornell! 

 

 

 

Actually thought about taking some of the rabbit holes started here & continuing them in another thread. 

🤔 ...maybe ready for more scales? 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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This video, by Ryan Leach, might really help people who want to try to remember the basic modes. 

I admit I was still needing to look them up - this seems easier to remember if I just think of which scale degrees of each mode is flatted... duh. 

 

 

...hope I didn't have this already buried in this thread somewhere. 🥴 

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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whatever clicks for someone is the way.   I think some of these things just come down to memorization.   Then finding songs or tunes that are examples of each and listening a bunch in a more analyzing way.  Seems to be how alot of the theory stuff just is... spending time trying to memorize, then playing it, then listening for it in favorite songs.  Decide if a song is in or uses sections in a particular mode... check resources to see if correct.. if wrong figure out why.  over and over until stuff starts to stick.   I say that feeling confident about mixo and major tunes.   possibly dorian.   but really in the grand scheme on fiddle hasnt got in the way.  its great to go after but as you need things they tend to work themselves into the mixolydian. 😁  opinion.  someone just cringed.. 🤣

But theres more than one way to look at it.   the scale way you just shared may be easier on violin and more on the fly friendly when you get it memorized.  you dont have the conversion step of thinking about what step in a mjor scale a certain mode falls...mixo is just flat the 7.   on the flipside of that you have to memorize..flat the 7 

great stuff you find and share and fun to discuss.. more! 🙂

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ELCBK
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I LOVE THIS THREAD!

Well, here's some VERY COOL sounding Modes - that you probably won't memorize!  Click on the links to see & hear the scales, plus more info. 

This fabulous site of Ian Ring's could be my lifelong playground!

The Enigmatic Scale 

(considered 1st Mode)

Phraptian 

(2nd Mode)

Mela Kantamani 

(3rd Mode)

Katythian 

(4th Mode)

Madian

(5th Mode)

Aerygian 

(6th Mode)

Mela Manavarti 

(7th Mode)

When you hear them all played - HALLOWEEN... beautiful! 

 

 

Check out music by Ian Ring!

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ELCBK
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I don't want to get away from the Modes Topic - but want to shed a little light on ways to think of the Enigmatic scale for improvisation.

mDecks Music starts by seeing it's part Altered Scale (Superlocrian Scale - ↑post #122) and part Dominant Bebop Scale (there are several Bebop scales). 

He uses the Circle of 5ths.

Using Substructures of the Enigmatic Scales for improvisation. 

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ELCBK
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Back to Modes and Ian Ring, LOVE the concept of Mutant Modes (Deep Scales)! 

The Exciting Universe of Music Theory - Mutant Modes

 

Now, when it comes to scales & modes, I find it MUCH easier to relate by keyboard, than guitar - so I've been targeting them.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/72/57/f7/7257f72c90bbfa7cafcbdf77d579f3f2.jpg

...we've come a long way from the OP! 

- Emily 

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ELCBK
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More about ancient Irish scales. 

A History of Irish Music Thread

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ELCBK
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https://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/317515-Halloween-Is-Coming.png

This thread has SO MUCH INFO & interesting conversations!   There's still stuff in here I'm not completely clear on, but every once in a while I skim back over it & I always learn something new or understand things better about scales & modes!  

This video is SO FULL of great info (too much for me to take in all at once) - there's no way to walk away from this without learning something!  It's a masterclass that ties into other areas of music theory - I'll definitely have to revisit it, which is fine, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to memorize some of these things I should. 

...must be why the computer gods made bookmarks!  😁

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/08/21/2a/08212ad9aea58eaf48eb9c343631d1c2.jpg

Way back in like the 6th post of this thread, I mentioned I wondered what made music from the "How To Train Your Dragon" film series so great. 

I finally found answers! 

One reason is PENTATONIC SCALES... I had never thought of the fact they don't have any half tones - no dissonance!  

...but there's more! 

https://webstockreview.net/images/costume-clipart-costume-party-3.jpg

 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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I have a NEW favorite "Circle of 5ths" Chart... with MODES! 

Actually, I saw Betsy Branch made up a more simple, easy to use version (in one of her workshops during Fiddle Hell) - but this one is close. 

It helps narrow down key & mode possibilities, by grouping together the ones that use the same set of pitches! 

You just need to determine what note your phrases end with & how it feels. 🤗 

 

Modal_Circle_of_5ths_Chart.pngImage Enlarger

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ABitRusty
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seems confusing to use this chart honestly.  maybe im missing something.  putting mixolydian 2nd would make more sense for this chart since lydian was put at top, which i dont get.  why do that.  why not ionian?  so if youre gonna put 4th at top ( left on wheel)  put 5th next ( right on wheel)

its late.. im probably missing something with this one.  

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ABitRusty said
seems confusing to use this chart honestly.  maybe im missing something.  putting mixolydian 2nd would make more sense for this chart since lydian was put at top, which i dont get.  why do that.  why not ionian?  so if youre gonna put 4th at top ( left on wheel)  put 5th next ( right on wheel)

its late.. im probably missing something with this one.  

  

I agree with you completely @ABitRusty 

I guess it’s this chart that puts the “Hell” in Fiddle Hell.  

Makes me so very glad that I learned my music theory long before the internet existed. No obtuse charts like this to contend with.

For anyone feeling intimidated, modes are actually quite simple.  Stick to the straightforward basics and keep it simple.  

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ABitRusty
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Unfretted said

ABitRusty said

seems confusing to use this chart honestly.  maybe im missing something.  putting mixolydian 2nd would make more sense for this chart since lydian was put at top, which i dont get.  why do that.  why not ionian?  so if youre gonna put 4th at top ( left on wheel)  put 5th next ( right on wheel)

its late.. im probably missing something with this one.  

  

 

I guess it’s this chart that puts the “Hell” in Fiddle Hell.  

Makes me so very glad that I learned my music theory long before the internet existed. No obtuse charts like this to contend with.

For anyone feeling intimidated, modes are actually quite simple.  Stick to the straightforward basics and keep it simple.  

 

Well to be fair to them..@elcbk explained...its not the one seen there..its like it.   

AND its not unique to FH...youll find these everywhere. 

 What i found someones model of these useful for was a quick chord suggestion dwpending on key/mode whatever ..but that was after just memorizing. 

I think people learn different and need different approaches.   Im not neccesarily saying these wheels are useless.. i just think THIS one seems confusing to ME.

And,  Im not sure of the intent and maybe more info on where this particular graphic was located would help.   It may have been in context to some point the maker was trying to bring across.  And again..it could just be the way im looking at it.   Im sure it was an attempt to help explain things not be confusing and if it does that for someone it worked.

 

  

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty , @Unfretted -

so if youre gonna put 4th at top ( left on wheel) put 5th next ( right on wheel)

...but it's got the SAME progression (right & left) as a regular 'Circle of 5ths' chart.

 

The only thing I didn't like about this chart is that the Ionian ring is redundant - since it's already the outer ring.

In each section (from the outer ring to inner) - ALL use the same notes.   

I realize there are other ways to memorize this info, but I don't use it enough to memorize it. 

I think it would be different if I had learned to play a chord instrument, but I don't, so I have to rely on where I can quickly look it up.  There's been many times I've wanted to identify a key & wondered if it was minor or a minor mode, but I can never remember how many sharps or flats are in each.

Also, on either side of each section are the 'normal' circle of 5ths neighboring chords you might look to for extending your improv range, BUT the modes listed within each section get me to think in terms of chord inversions and where they can lead - for more interesting possibilities of harmony & chord progressions. 

 

More discussion invited here!

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ABitRusty said

 

Well to be fair to them..@ELCBKk explained...its not the one seen there..its like it.   

AND its not unique to FH...youll find these everywhere. 

 What i found someones model of these useful for was a quick chord suggestion dwpending on key/mode whatever ..but that was after just memorizing. 

I think people learn different and need different approaches.   Im not neccesarily saying these wheels are useless.. i just think THIS one seems confusing to ME.

And,  Im not sure of the intent and maybe more info on where this particular graphic was located would help.   It may have been in context to some point the maker was trying to bring across.  And again..it could just be the way im looking at it.   Im sure it was an attempt to help explain things not be confusing and if it does that for someone it worked.

 

  

  

Hey @ABitRusty  I guess tongue-in-cheek humor doesn’t come across as intended in forum posts, especially with folks who don’t know us.  No meanness intended to @ELCBK  or Fiddle Hell.

(My friends and I always question why it’s called Fiddle Hell instead of Fiddle Heaven.  In fact, if the price drops when it’s over tomorrow morning, I’ll register to take a few rerun sessions of interest. Need to stretch the music budget for live summer festivals.)

The motivation for my post was to assure folks who are new to music theory that they should not be intimidated or dissuaded by this.  Maybe it’s useful in some way to someone.  Like you say, we’re all different with different styles of learning.  I have a solid theory background and this graphic makes my eyes blur and my head spin.  I said to myself What? Why?

I simply want to make the point that modes, and much of music theory, is simply understood when presented in an old school simple way.

Personally, I think the simplest way to simultaneously become a better musician while gaining an intuitive understanding of theory is to practice and internalize the basics:

Play arpeggios every day while reciting in your head 1, 3, 5… 5, 3, 1 and also do, mi, sol… sol, mi, do and then do the same, reciting the note names from whatever key you’re in such as D, F sharp, A… A, F sharp, D.   Do the same with scales.  The rest will fall in place.  This practice will internalize a slide rule of music theory in your brain and hands.

For those who find basic modes confusing:

What is the E Dorian mode?  Well, Dorian by definition begins on the second note of the major scale.  E is the second note in the D major scale.  Play your D major scale.  Now play the same scale again, but start on the second note, E, and add one more note at the end, another E.  Play a scale, E to E, but use the D major key signature.  That’s the Dorian Mode.  Repeat the concept for every other key.  Easy. You’ve got it.

Next, try Mixolydian mode.  It’s given that Mixolydian begins on the 5th note of the corresponding (parent) major scale.  Well, since we’ve already internalized our 5ths in all keys from that daily arpeggio (triad) practice, we know what the 5th is.  In the key of D major that would be A.  Warm up with a D major scale.  Now, play the same notes of the D major scale but begin on A, the fifth note of that scale.  Continue playing up the scale until you reach the A that is an octave higher.  You’ve got it.  A Mixolydian.

Dorian and Mixolydian are two of the most commonly used modes.  Just focus on them for a while.  You’ll quickly internalize that Dorian begins on the second and Mixolydian begins on the fifth.  Learn some tunes in these modes.  Later on, branch out and learn about the other modes if or when you feel the need for them.

My point, which I hope is taken kindly, is that this isn’t hard if you keep it simple at the start.  If anything in music ever seems mind boggling simply look around until you find a simpler explanation.

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ELCBK
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@Unfretted -

I appreciate your humor - thank you! 

You have always given me the impression you have a very good, solid, music foundation - and you make great points, especially for young people starting out.  

Did you start playing when you were young? 

...think Fiddle Hell might've already dropped the cost - check it out! 

 

Btw, I don't want to come across as condoning short cuts, just different learning aides - LOVE this discussion. 

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ELCBK said
@Unfretted -

I appreciate your humor - thank you! 

You have always given me the impression you have a very good, solid, music foundation - and you make great points, especially for young people starting out.  

Did you start playing when you were young? 

 

@ELCBK   Thank you for your kindness and compliments.

Yes, my music education began on the piano at the age of three!  

Violin followed at age 7, flutophone at age 10 😂, guitar at 12.  Of course music theory was interwoven with all of my childhood music studies.

I studied formal college level music theory and ear training at a fine conservatory.

I worked for a time transcribing lead sheets by ear and by hand for publication, long before the days of fancy computers with music transcription software.

Since then, I’ve learned to play Native American flute, six-string banjo, Poland Spring gallon-sized ribbed bottles (a percussion instrument 🤣), hammered dulcimer, and mandolin.

In adult life, the violin finally got put on the back burner for a while, and eventually into the freezer.  But I did come to my senses and returned to the violin with a vengeance several years ago.

There’s the resume.  Am I hired? LOL!!

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ELCBK
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@Unfretted -

I don't want to send this thread down a rabbit hole (like I'd ever do that), but YES - YOU ARE HIRED! 

LOVE to see you post more with info on the many things you must love about playing the violin & what music you love to play (and why)! 

We can always use tips that have helped you most over the years!  yaaaa_gif

 

...just finished watching & listening to an hour of Jennifer Wrigley & Laurence Wilson play wonderful Orkney tunes (also a few Jennifer composed)... at Fiddle Hell.  She also gave a great anecdotal glimpse of Orkney & it's music - love her very expressive bowing & articulation.  It was an extremely enjoyable hour!  coffee

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ELCBK
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Boy, it takes me awhile, but think I can finally better verbalize why I got so excited about the The Modal Circle of 5ths Chart and how it can help me make the music I choose to play more interesting! 

First, I LOVE the idea of changing the MOOD of a tune I'm playing.  I want to be able to do more than just change tempo, rhythm, or what note I start on.  MODES each have a different feeling and I want to make more use of them.

I look at a key signature and I know it means MORE than it's just a major scale (or it's relative minor) and there's MUCH MORE that can be borrowed for harmony, chord progressions and improv, than from just those 2 scales - only I can't remember what all the relative, or parallel, modes & scales are... for me, that's where the The Modal Circle of 5ths Chart comes in handy!

I still think it's important to be able to identify what key (or mode) a tune is in, but even at the beginning of this thread, "Sweet Home Alabama" was discussed - how the tonal center can easily be different than the 'tonic' if using chords from a 'Relative Key' (sharing the same notes, but different tonic). 

Everyone knows that switching from one key to it's 'Parallel Key' can cause a dramatic change in mood, e.g., E Major to E minor - but there are also Parallel 'Modes' to be considered, because they can offer different moods! 

The Modal Circle of 5ths Chart shows these:

  • ALL 'Relative Key' Scales AND Modes of a key signature are grouped together in EACH section.
  • ALL Closely Related Scales AND Modes, like a 5th to either side of a key signature section (the SAME progression around the circle as the 'regular' Circle of 5ths).  This still helps when choosing chords and chord progressions.
  • ALL 'Parallel Key' Scales AND Modes available - ALL Scales AND Modes with the same 1st Scale Degree/Tonic note. 

I'm getting much better at hearing what each Mode makes me feel, but I still get tripped up on a couple.  This video is helpful to practice hearing the differences between them by listening to them played in Parallel - all starting on 'C'.  When I get tripped up, I have to go back to the beginning if the video. 

Learn how to identify Modes by ear.

 

I really wish there was a way to incorporate the Blues Scales into this chart, because I think being reminded we can dip into the Blues is cool! 😎 There may be a way to link something - just never gave it any thought before now.  If anyone has ideas on a way, I'd appreciate it. 

...still don't see a reason to have the Ionian Mode & Major Scale indicated as 2 separate rings on the chart (just unnecessary) - they show the Aeolian/Minor as only one ring!

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/53/90/69/53906971dd35c86144a52482616c96bf.png

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i think a good practical video for someone to make would go like..

The video starts with a counter. counting backwards from 10

then either in text or voice its announced to play e.g Emixolydian

then someone on the video plays it and you are supposed to play along with e mixolydian

Then.. another counter starts and you are supposed to play say.. A dorian

an A dorian scale played...

so on so forth..

Probably better using keys of properly tuned piano.   but the maker would also need to say if its A=440 or 415 or ...etc..

they could even make a series of them with each video focusing on just one mode spread across several jey signatures.

free idea for anyone so willing

insert any video like that down 👇 there

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