Modal Scales For Dummies

Category : Blog, Guitar Theory For Dummies, modes, podcast, scales

The major scale has seven degrees, and technically any one of them can function as the tonal center, or primary pitch, of the scale. The sound and feel of the scale changes depending on which scale degree is heard as the starting point.

Ionian Mode
When you play the major scale over music that centers on the first scale degree and chord, you create the sound of Ionian mode, which is better known as the plain major scale. Think any song based on a standard I-IV-V type chord progression, like “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, which uses the notes and chords of the G major scale, centering on the first scale degree and chord, G.

Dorian Mode
When you play the very same notes and patterns over music that centers on the 2nd degree and chord in the major scale, you produce Dorian mode, a type of jazzy minor scale. Think “Oye Como Va” by Santana, which uses notes and chords drawn from the G major scale, but centering on the second degree, A, and chord, Am.

Seven Major Scale Modes
And so it is that each scale degree produces a different sound when it’s used as the tonal center of a piece of music. Each mode has its own Greek name. In all the seven modes in the major scale are called Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.

Modal Scale Patterns
Playing modal scales doesn’t require you to learn new patterns, only that you know how to properly apply major scale patterns. And guitar players usually prefer to apply modes right inside of familiar pentatonic boxes.

Free Guitar Lesson
Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of using major scales on guitar. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 34: Modal Scales For Dummies

Guitar Theory For Dummies

This free guitar lesson is based on my book, Guitar Theory For Dummies, Chapter 13. Click the link to learn more about the book and watch a free video trailer. Continue Reading

Two Tickets to Paradise Mixolydian Mode

Category : Blog

“Two Tickets to Paradise” by Eddie Money is a great example of using guitar modes. The song uses notes and chords from the D major scale, but with the fifth, A, functioning as the tonic. When the fifth degree of a major scale is the tonal center of a piece of music, it produces Mixolydian mode. Continue Reading

Beatles Modal Song “Within You Without You”

Category : Blog

“Within You Without You” is a modal song written by George Harrison, released on The Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song is mostly in Mixolydian mode. It centers around a C# major chord, but the notes used are from the F# major scale. This produces the C# Mixolydian modal scale. Continue Reading

“L.A. Woman” The Doors Mixolydian Mode Songs

Category : Blog

“L.A. Woman” by The Doors is a perfect example of using guitar modes. The song centers on an A major chord, but uses notes from the D major scale. This produces A Mixolydian mode. Continue Reading

Guitar Modes Explained

Category : Blog

guitar modes DVDAs I have stated many times before, everyone has their own convoluted way of thinking about guitar theory, especially guitar modes. What many guitar teachers overlook is the fact that most guitar players don’t even understand the fundamental modal concept. They start talking about Miles Davis and Joe Satriani which is light years ahead of where most guitar players are at. Guitar players need to understand standard use of modal scales first before they can venture into more complicated applications.

Guitar Modes Explained
To learn modes from scratch in a simple and accurate manner that is easy to understand and apply see my DVD Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music. Click the link to learn more and sign up for a free preview.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Review: Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD

Category : Video

guitar modes DVDOften times my customers can sum things up much better than I can. Rich bought my guitar modes video and finally found the answers he was looking for. If you’re serious about understanding music theory for guitar and developing into a great player, then I highly recommend reading his comments below.

“You are absolutely correct. EVERY book I purchased on the subject approached the topic the same way. That is, pattern number one is Ionion, pattern number two Dorian, pattern three Phrygian, etc. But you said something so fundamentally basic very early in the modes video that completely changed my perception of modes: “There is only one scale pattern and that is the major scale pattern that happens to be one large pattern on the fretboard.” Then you went a little further explaining the concept and it finally hit me…the mode is created by the underlying chord progression, not by any particular order that a note happens to be located within a major scale. The focus was on the wrong element, notes rather than chords.

Dude…what a relief from the frustration! For example, I would try to play something “Spanish” sounding using a “phrygian” pattern (because that is what everyone says to use if you want that Spanish feel). The problem is I would use the phrygian pattern in a chord progression that wrapped itself around a major sequence starting with the key (I). Guess what? It did not work out very well. Rather than sounding Spanish, it sounded sterile. …Yeah!….no kidding!….I now understand why. It isn’t because of a lack of talent (although that is entirely possible!) but rather a lack of understanding. (Pick a darker chord progression that wraps itself around a minor, iii in particular.) Now that Carlos Santana sound is just the correct chord progression away!

Thank you again for ending the unnecessary frustration.” -Rich

That’s as good as five stars to me. Thanks, Rich.

You can finally understand and use guitar modes too by getting Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD. Click the link and sign up for a free preview.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

“Ecstacy” by Rusted Root Uses Modal Interchange

Category : Video

“Ecstacy” by Rusted Root is a good example of using modal interchange. The entire song centers on a D chord, but the guitar modes, or parent major scales, change.

D Dorian Mode
From the beginning of the song up to 2:36 the progression is Dm C G which is ii I V in the C major scale (some would call this i bVII IV in Dm). There’s also a Dm to Em section which also stems from the C major scale. Play the C major scale over this and you’ll produce D Dorian mode because the second degree of the scale, D, is function as the root.

D Aeolian Mode
At 2:36 the chord progression changes to Dm Bb C which is vi IV V in the F major scale (or i bVI bVII in Dm). Play the F major scale over this and you’ll produce D Aeolian mode because the sixth scale degree, D, is functioning as the root.

D Major
At 3:10 you’ll hear two measures of D MAJOR chord which is yet another mode. It could be Ionian, Lydian or Mixolydian. I don’t hear any chord changes, melody or solo over this brief section, so the mode is probably irrelevant.

At 3:14 the progression and mode returns to the original D Dorian. From there the song revisits some of the earlier parts and modes. Can you figure them out and follow?

Modal Interchange
Notice how the root remains D through out the whole song, but the mode, or parent major scale changes. Sometimes D is the second in C (Dorian mode), sometimes it’s the sixth in F (Aeolian mode) and sometimes it’s major. Switching it up like this is called modal interchange.

Guitar Theory
To learn more about music theory for guitar, including guitar scales, chords, progressions, modes and more, download a free preview of my guitar theory book and DVDs.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

The Correct Way to Name Modes and Modal Scales

Category : Video

guitar modes DVDModes and modal scales are called by their roots, not parent major scales. For example, if you’re playing notes and chords from the E major scale, but the 5 chord B is functioning as the root, then you would call it B Mixolydian (not E Mixolydian). B Mixolydian means that B is the root and it’s the 5th (Mixolydian is the fifth mode). If B is 5, then obviously E is 1. With mode names, you must figure out the parent major scale yourself.

An example of a song in Mixolydian mode is “Fire On the Mountain” by Grateful Dead. It uses chords 5 and 4 from the E major scale with the 5 chord, B, functioning as the root. Play E major scale patterns over it and you’ll produce the B Mixolydian mode sound.

To learn more about guitar modes read Fretboard Theory Chapter 8 or watch the video Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

How to Play Over “Cocaine” By Eric Clapton With Modal Scales

Category : Video

There are actually a couple ways to play over “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton. Generally, Clapton treats it as minor in both his vocal melody and guitar solo, opting for strict minor pentatonic, no guitar modes. But in this live version at 2:53, Clapton treats the progression as ii I in D producing E Dorian mode. You can clearly hear him playing the full modal scale.

Because the root chord in the “Cocaine” progression is played as a power chord (root and fifth, no third), it could be treated as either major or minor. At 4:40 in this same live recording, Clapton’s sideman, Albert Lee, incorporates E Mixolydian mode, playing over the progression as if it were E major to D (V IV in A).

“Cocaine” is a good example of how sometimes a chord progression can be so sparse that you can actually fill in the blanks a couple different ways. Another option is to treat the progression as vi V in G producing E Aeolian mode. It’s only in circumstances like this that you can “choose” the mode.

Guitar Modes
Guitar modes are taught in Fretboard Theory Chapter 8 and also Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music DVD.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Phrygian Mode Song

Category : Blog, Video

“Space Oddity” by David Bowie may have a Phrygian Mode intro. The chord changes are Fmaj7 to Em. Play C major scale over it. I hear the Em as the root.

Phrygian Mode is created when the third degree of a major scale is functioning as the root. Continue Reading