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Tip of the Week

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The modes are easily one of the most misunderstood concepts in contemporary music. They are either shrouded in mystery as some sort of elite music theory knowledge, or they are simply dismissed as just a major scale which starts on a note other than the root. The latter concept is not necessarily incorrect though it does leave one wondering what the point of relearning the same scale starting on each of its 7 notes is. The way I approach modal theory is exemplified below (for an outstanding in depth explanation check out Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book). In this instance we will be using a drone note (the low E string) and starting from E on the 5th string we'll build a major scale. We then number the notes on the major scale 1 through 7. We can build modal scales by simply altering (lowering or raising) the different notes. Check out the examples below, come up with your own and E-Mail me any questions at jorge@firehousemusic.net

 

E Major

Scale

e--------------------------

b--------------------------

g--------------------------

d--------------------------

A-7-9-11-12-14-16-18-19----

E-0-0-0--0--0--0--0--0-----

E Lydian Scale (#11)

Scale

e--------------------------

b--------------------------

g--------------------------

d--------------------------

A-7-9-11-13-14-16-18-19----

E-0-0-0--0--0--0--0--0-----

E Dorian #4 (b3, #4, b7)

Scale

e--------------------------

b--------------------------

g--------------------------

d--------------------------

A-7-9-10-13-14-16-17-19----

E-0-0-0--0--0--0--0--0-----

E Locrian #2 (b3, b5, b6, b7)

Scale

e--------------------------

b--------------------------

g--------------------------

d--------------------------

A-7-8-10-12-13-15-17-19----

E-0-0-0--0--0--0--0--0-----

Jorge Maldonado, Master Instructor at Firehouse Music