A husband, a father of 7, a runner training for 2 marathons this year as a Hammer Nutrition sponsored athlete,a guitar player,a digital artist and a computer programmer by day. I got this.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Learning Modes - Another Step
In my last post, we looked at a very simple chord progression with a couple of chords. Most likely you will be playing music that is much more complicated. So what happens when a Cm shows up in your song in G major? There is a note in that chord that is not in your key! Well there are a couple things you can do here.
Do not play an E during this chord
Switch to C Minor
Find some other mode that works
Well option 1 is simple enough, but we want to spice things up a little. Option 2 and 3 actually go together. If we look closely at C minor, we find that it is 3 flats. Bb,Eb,Ab. Now by looking at the key signature, we see that the relative Major to C minor is Eb Major. If we look at the relative Majors to modes of G, we have G-F-Eb-D-C-Bb-Ab. So Eb Major == 3rd mode of G, which is G Phrygian. To see what other modes of G we could play over this Cm chord, we simply need to see which of the modes of G contain a Cm chord. Well since Cm is C-Eb-G we can see that Eb Major, Bb Major and Ab Major have Eb's in them (as well as C's and G's). So our options for playing over a Cm in G are
G Phrygian (Eb Major)
G Aeolian/minor (Bb Major)
G Locrian (Ab Major)
Get ready for a little bit of information overload. If we take the notes of the modes of G
G Ionian G A B C D E F# G Major G Dorian G A Bb C D E F F Major G Phrygian G Ab Bb C D Eb F Eb Major G Lydian G A B C# D E F# D Major G Mixolydian G A B C D E F C Major G Aeolian G A Bb C D Eb F Bb Major G Locrian G Ab Bb C Db Eb F Ab Major
and then figure out what all the triads are
Ionian G Am Bm C D Em F#° Dorian Gm Am Bb C Dm E° F Phrygian Gm Ab Bb Cm D° Eb Fm Lydian G A Bm C#° D Em F#m Mixolydian G Am B° C Dm Em F Aeolian Gm A° Bb Cm Dm Eb F Locrian G° Ab Bbm Cm Db Eb Fm
we can make a list of the modes that contain each chord
G Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydian Gm Dorian,Phrygian,Aeolian G° Locrian A Lydian Am Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydian Ab Phrygian,Locrian A° Aeolian Bm Ionian,Lydian B° Mixolydian Bb Dorian,Aeolian,Phrygian Bbm Locrian C Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydian Cm Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian C#° Lydian D Ionian,Lydian Dm Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolian D° Phrygian Db Locrian Em Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydian E° Dorian Eb Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian F#° Ionian F#m Lydian F Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolian Fm Phrygian,Locrian
Then we can generalize them into a more portable method using chord numbers
I Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydian i Dorian,Phrygian,Aeolian i° Locrian II Lydian ii Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydian ii° Aeolian bII Phrygian,Locrian iii Ionian,Lydian iii° Mixolydian bIII Dorian,Aeolian,Phrygian biii Locrian IV Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydian iv Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian #iv° Lydian V Ionian,Lydian v Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolian v° Phrygian bV Locrian vi Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydian vi° Dorian bVI Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian vii° Ionian vii Lydian bVII Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolian bvii Phrygian,Locrian
Now if we use this chart we can easily get our list of available modes for many chords that may be in our tune. If we run across an Ab major chord in our key of G tune (which would be a bII), we see that G phrygian (Eb Major) or G Locrian (Ab Major) might work well. Which would make sense since playing Ab major over an Ab Major chord would make sense.
Does this mumbo jumbo make sense? Have I made a chordal miscalculation? Sound off in the comments.