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Modes over a static chord

Posted by Rex Hamilton III 
Modes over a static chord
May 07, 2017 10:19AM
Minor modes: dorian, phrygian, aeolian. Thus these scales with a root of A can be played over Am, right?
So if I have a static vamp of Am I can alternate between the three, right?
And this would be pitch axis a la Joe Satriani, right?

Moving on.....

I discovered that when playing modes over a static chord, the strongest notes are those that make the triad of the chord of the mode Eg: practising the modes of G major: ionian over G, dorian over Am, phrygian over B min, C lydian over C etc. Thus it makes sense to aim for these notes when soloing. But, what do we do when we have a chord progression? Let's say we have a mixolydian chord progression of D, C & G - should we still aim for the D, F# and A notes to drive home the overriding essence of D mixolydian or should we switch to the triads of the respective chords? This would make more sense but then we'd drop out of playing D mixolydian and would be simply playing D Ionian over D, C ionian over C and G ionian over G. Also, some chord progressions move too quickly for us to get any individual modular vibe so it would make more sense to just stuck to D mixolydian (but then that leads me back to my question of what notes to target when the chords change)?
Re: Modes over a static chord
May 07, 2017 09:57PM
Rex Hamilton III Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Minor modes: dorian, phrygian, aeolian. Thus these
> scales with a root of A can be played over Am,
> right?

Yes

> So if I have a static vamp of Am I can alternate
> between the three, right?

Yes

> And this would be pitch axis a la Joe Satriani,
> right?

Don't know
>
> Moving on.....
>
> I discovered that when playing modes over a static
> chord, the strongest notes are those that make the
> triad of the chord of the mode

Yes - because they're consonant with the chord root

Eg: practising the
> modes of G major: ionian over G, dorian over Am,
> phrygian over B min, C lydian over C etc. Thus it
> makes sense to aim for these notes when soloing.

Right

> But, what do we do when we have a chord
> progression? Let's say we have a mixolydian chord
> progression of D, C & G - should we still aim for
> the D, F# and A notes to drive home the overriding
> essence of D mixolydian or should we switch to the
> triads of the respective chords?

NO - Here's what happens. Every note of D Mixolydian is either a chord tone or a non-chord tone of the chord being played at the time. For example, when the chord is D major, the note D is a chord tone. It sounds strong because it's consonant with the root and so is a natural 'target tone'. When the chord changes to C major, The note D is no longer a chord tone but becomes a dissonant non-chord tone. Its role changes and it now makes a natural passing tone between the chord tones C & E. Or take F#, which is a chord tone of D maj - and consonant with the root of D maj. When the chord is C maj or G maj, then F# is no longer a chord tone but a dissonant non-chord tone with a tendency (expectation) to move up a semitone to the chord tone G.

>This would make
> more sense but then we'd drop out of playing D
> mixolydian and would be simply playing D Ionian
> over D, C ionian over C and G ionian over G.

No - You'd only be doing that if you stick with chord tones - and nobody does that when improvising. It would be the world's most boring solo with no melodic interest. If a guitarist in a band played only chord tones when soloing, they'd soon be out of a job because they're contributing nothing that isn't already there - in the chords played by others in the band.

So you don't confine yourself to chord tones. Regardless of whether the chord is D, C or G, You can still play all the notes of D Mixolydian, but you treat them differently depending on whether they're chord tones or non chord tones of the current chord. Music needs BOTH.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2017 10:10PM by Fretsource. (view changes)
Re: Modes over a static chord
May 08, 2017 10:06AM
Fretsource Wrote:
> No - You'd only be doing that if you stick with
> chord tones - and nobody does that when
> improvising. It would be the world's most boring
> solo with no melodic interest. If a guitarist in a
> band played only chord tones when soloing, they'd
> soon be out of a job because they're contributing
> nothing that isn't already there - in the chords
> played by others in the band.
>

Thanks for another detailed and clear response.
Viz
Re: Modes over a static chord
May 09, 2017 10:32AM
Rex Hamilton III Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Fretsource Wrote:
> > No - You'd only be doing that if you stick with
> > chord tones - and nobody does that when
> > improvising. It would be the world's most
> boring
> > solo with no melodic interest. If a guitarist in
> a
> > band played only chord tones when soloing,
> they'd
> > soon be out of a job because they're
> contributing
> > nothing that isn't already there - in the
> chords
> > played by others in the band.
> >


Unless it was Coldplay.
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