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Thread: Modes of the diatonic scale?

  1. #26
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Oops! Thanks Mark, I meant move outside the first diatonic scale of the two diatonic scales.
    As in the example, if you play a mode, say E dorian, in the key of D and then shift to a different mode, say F lydian, in the key of C by flattening the F#, and the C#.

  2. #27
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Is the minor scale always the sixth degree of the major scale and the major scale always the sixth degree of the minor scale?
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  3. #28
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    So should the whole chord be written capital when it is major VII I have seen Vii but wonder if it was a major or not. Thanks!
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  4. #29

    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    So should the whole chord be written capital when it is major VII I have seen Vii but wonder if it was a major or not. Thanks!
    I would interpret Vii as being a V major chord followed by a ii minor chord but then there should be a space or a dash. Often you will see ii-V-I for the two five one progression. It could just be sloppiness or inconsistency.

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  6. #30
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    That kind of thing makes it hard to get things straight. Thanks for the clarification!
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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    John, have a look at the Nashville Number System for chords - loads of good info if you just put "Nashville Numbers System" into your search engine. It will give you an insight into this very useful way of writing a chord chart. I think it developed in the recording studios in Nashville where the sesssion men would be handed a chord sheet with the numbers and they would work from this without the need to write out the actual chords by name (G major, C7, Amin, etc). It meant they could play in any key just from the numbering of the chords.
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  9. #32
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Carl is right. This 'overview approach' is too much if you don't have a grasp on at least one mode. However I'd suggest a music theory book or Wickipedia page as a reference to write out your chart using intervals for each of the 7 church modes. Ioianian for any note is WWH W WWH, Dorian for any note is WHW W WHW etc. Then work out the note names from the resulting intervals. Each note in a diatonic scale will have thoes intervals but they will have different names based on where you started. Most people start on C because there are no sharps or flats.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    I hear that the "Music Theory for Dummies" book is real good. Not just as a way to "plug in the gaps" but also as a quick and dirty reference when stuff you don't use every day threatens to fall of the back porch. And I know first hand the "Mandolin for Dummies" authored by our own Don Julin is real good. I have used the "Dummies" books for other things and found them extremely useful.
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Actually Don's book has all you need for music theory. It has practical application of theory and even a chart in the appendix.
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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Instead of concentrating on theoretical explanations worthy of Beldar Conehead and the Institute of Prearranged Sonics of Remulak, you'd really be a lot better off just putting the stuff into your ear with some simple sol-feg vocalizations.

    You have MAJOR and Natural MINOR. Sing both (based off of "Do") until you can hear the difference. It's staggering the number of players who can't vocally hum a simple minor scale.

    The other primary modes are just one-pitch alterations of Major and Minor. (leaving out Lydian)

    Mixolydian - Flat the 7 of MAJOR (te instead of ti)
    Lydian - Raise the 4th of MAJOR (fi instead of fa)

    Dorian - Raise the 6th of MINOR (la instead of le)
    Phrygian - Lower the 2nd of MINOR. (ra instead of re)

    FORGET about learning this stuff through overthought Mathematical explanations. Just sing your scales and your modal alterations. Once it is in your ear...it's in there FOREVER. And it doesn't take that long!!!

    If you just have to get your theory geek on... I would recommend that you investigate the Kodaly Method.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodaly_method

    NH

    (and don't forget to "narfle the garthok".)

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  15. #36
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    Is the minor scale always the sixth degree of the major scale and the major scale always the sixth degree of the minor scale?
    Niles advice about taking the practical approach is best, but to answer this specific question, the relative minor begins on the sixth degree of its relative major scale; that is correct.

    The relative major begins on the second degree of its relative minor scale.

    Examples: The relative minor of C Major is A minor … A is the sixth degree of a C scale.

    The relative Major of A minor is C Major. C is the second degree of the A minor scale.
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  17. #37
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Stop thinking about RELATIVE MINOR (D, B minor) all the time and start thinking in terms of PARALLEL MINOR (D, D minor). Wobble back and forth between D and Dm for a little while, and it will sink in.

    This relative minor stuff just programs your brain to think that minor is just another starting place in a major scale. And when you play D major scale, and then play Bm scale, the latter doesn't sound as different (from the major) as it should

    IT IS A DIFFERENT SCALE and SOUND. It may have the same pitches, but it's NOT THE SAME!

    The relative Major of A minor is C Major. C is the second degree of the A minor scale.
    Actually - the third degree.

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  19. #38
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    You will know when I try this because all the dogs and coyotes will start howling!
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  20. #39
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Niles advice about taking the practical approach is best, but to answer this specific question, the relative minor begins on the sixth degree of its relative major scale; that is correct.

    The relative major begins on the second degree of its relative minor scale.

    Examples: The relative minor of C Major is A minor … A is the sixth degree of a C scale.

    The relative Major of A minor is C Major. C is the second degree of the A minor scale.
    I will check out this method. I also found a couple of books I forgot I got years ago. Work and travel and they got set aside without me getting too far into them. The Sounds of Music Perception and Practica Musica. I'll need to dig into those now as well. I need to use what I have and I know so little that they can't help but help as well. I remember it was someone here that recommended them about the time I first joined up here. Sadly life sometimes has a way of sidetracking things at times. Kids are older and don't need me as much, Dad is gone so he certainly doesn't need me and my mom whom we care for isn't much longer here. This is a pleasant diversion.
    Thanks everyone!
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  21. #40
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Niles advice about taking the practical approach is best, but to answer this specific question, the relative minor begins on the sixth degree of its relative major scale; that is correct.

    The relative major begins on the second degree of its relative minor scale.

    Examples: The relative minor of C Major is A minor … A is the sixth degree of a C scale.

    The relative Major of A minor is C Major. C is the second degree of the A minor scale.
    3rd degree, so that John isn't confused.

  22. #41
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    One thing about these discussions is that it prompts me to 'do some homework'.

    I agree that using your ears to recognize the sound of scales and modes really helps in understanding the intellectual stuff.

    And then 'getting it under my fingers' yikes, this takes some time.
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  23. #42
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Hahahah to late but I will figure it out. I am working on remembering the wheel above. I am starting with Call Dwayne Eddy For Guitar and Bass. Iíll come up with something to help me remember the shapes and flats and naming shortly.
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  24. #43
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    3rd degree, so that John isn't confused.
    yes thanks, that was a lapse in synapse or something - Niles corrected it at the bottom of his last post.

    I agree itís best to play and hear the differences with this stuff. I do it both ways, playing a major scale sounding the major chord, playing its relative minor scale surrounded by the minor chord. Playing the parallel major & minor scales to hear the intervals compared to one another, playing the natural minor, then the harmonic, then the melodic, etc.

    Writing out scales on paper - I do this stuff rather than crosswords or video games when Iím stuck waiting somewhere.

    Basically, all the things I encourage the reader to do in my music theory articles are the things that Iíve personally done in order to comprehend the theory. I think it all has value. Been playing songs in minor keys since age 12, Iím 66 now, thereís nothing better than learning to play and sing songs IMO but putting in the time and effort to expand oneís understanding of theory is also a good thing. Mr. Bertotti (and anyone else here) is to be commended if they find this stuff interesting. It is a fascinating study that seems to be of infinite expanse, and I wouldnít discourage anyone from studying into it when theyíre inclined to do so.
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  26. #44
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    56 here but I obviously do not believe in the old saying, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, honestly I learn as much or more now than I did as a school boy. Some of it is because I figured out how to look at things many ways to get it to sink in. Anywho, I appreciate everyone’s help. It is involved and I do tend to put the cart before the horse sometimes. Today I am focusing on my Peghead Nation classes. The two I have are in sync somehow working in the same key so I figure to take advantage of that and these discussions to hammer some things home.
    Last edited by John Bertotti; Aug-04-2021 at 2:00pm.
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  27. #45
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Don't know if it'll help you, but I did this attached chart for people who like information visually.
    It shows you how the intervals relate to each step of the modes.
    I did them in resistor number colours for any engineering/ computer types out there.

    To play the required mode, choose your key, (top line) then move on one step for your next starting note. So if you choose G, then move down a step for each mode (start on A for Dorian etc) and play the Tone & Semi-tone intervals as listed. I found it a handy way to just play the modes without having to analyse too much. I just choose a key then execute the intervals for whatever mode I want to hear. (you may notice everything shuffles a step to the left as you move down the list)

    I found it got me "living in the mode" very quickly because I just had to listen to what I was playing.
    Then the ear very quickly gets to know what to expect a given mode to sound like, without much more than thinking of the name. Eventually they just sank in by playing the intervals. Then if you want you can apply other additions to see what pops out
    Like I say some people like a visual guide, others think differently.
    Not just one way for everyone to learn.

    (It hasn't come up very clearly, I'll see if I can find the original & attach that.)
    attaching a tweaked image to see if it comes up any better

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Beanzy; Aug-04-2021 at 4:44pm. Reason: attaching a tweaked image to see if it comes up any better
    Eoin



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  29. #46
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Ever since field and manufacturing work has gone to mostly swapping boards I haven't had to use the color codes, 25 years or more. Sad really, was much more interesting when we did component-level repairs. I barely remember the colors. BBROYGBVGW. Thanks for the chart.
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  30. #47
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Maybe this well help those like me who sometimes need visual aids to understand this stuff. It's a graphic I found somewhere on the web that includes modes in a Circle of 5ths chart. It helped me understand why the music I play -- mostly Irish and Scottish trad -- often has sheet music where the number of sharps doesn't mean what you might initially think it means for the key (mode).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    For example, Irish trad music (and related music like many OldTime tunes) is generally based around the keys of D and G Major (Ionian) with their relative minors, but what that really means in practice is more often the related Dorian mode. This is probably due to the influence of the pipes, whistle, and flute with a bell (lowest) note in D, and the ease of playing tunes in G and D Major in first position on the fiddle.

    So on this chart you can see the relation of the outer keys G and D Major (Ionian) with their Dorian relatives just below and to either side in the circle -- A Dorian, E Dorian, and B Dorian, which you'll hear in many Irish traditional tunes. D Dorian is also there to the left of G, although not as common as the others.

    Now, step way down the inner line from G and you'll find D Mixolydian, another common mode for Irish tunes. Step the same way down from D and you'll see A Mixolydian, common in Scottish pipe tunes. These aren't the only modes used in Irish trad, there are a few tunes in things like F# Dorian and G Dorian, but you won't find Dorian or Mixolydian modes far from the "home" keys of D and G.

    This explains why you can't trust a key signature on Irish trad (or OldTime) sheet music like one sharp and think it's "in the key of G Major," because it could also be in the minor-sounding A Dorian or the "bright major" sound of D Mixolydian. Similarly, if you see two sharps in sheet music it might be the key of D Major, but it might also be E Dorian instead, and so on.

    One might ask why are these the only modes used in Irish trad? Why not Phrygian, Lydian, Aeolian or Locrian? Well, each folk musical culture has "a sound," and for whatever reason, the sound of say the Phrygian mode just wasn't as attractive to these players. I'm no ethnomusicologist, so someone else will have to explain this one.
    So, I mentioned earlier I came up with a way to help remember this. With C at the top moving in I am using Call Dwayne Eddy For Guitar And Bass. Circle of fifths moving around the circle clockwise or counting backward but counting forwards counterclockwise it would be fourths. So this is also a circle of fourths? seven steps forward, five steps back? C D E F G Seven steps, C D E F five steps. Is this correct or am I overthinking it? You don't do the notes backward when going counterclockwise do you then I am back to seven steps, right? C B A G F

    Honestly not sure how I use this yet but it feels like I am onto something.
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  31. #48

    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    I didnít see this in the thread, so if you need a memory aid:

    I Donít Play Lounge Music Any Longer

    I learned the modes back around 1976 (on guitar) and I can say that they really confused my rochíníroll playing brain at the time. When I started playing [guitar] again a bit over 12 years ago I found them a nice warmup, though applicability still eludes me sometimes.

    I havenít started working on them on mandolin, yet, but Iím getting there.

  32. #49
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    I like it thanks!
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  33. #50
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modes of the diatonic scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Don't know if it'll help you, but I did this attached chart for people who like information visually.
    It shows you how the intervals relate to each step of the modes. without much more than thinking of the name. Eventually they just sank in by playing the intervals. Then if you want you can apply other additions to see what pops out
    Like I say some people like a visual guide, others think differently.
    Not just one way for everyone to learn.

    (It hasn't come up very clearly, I'll see if I can find the original & attach that.)
    attaching a tweaked image to see if it comes up any better

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	6B8A43AC-F55B-4FB1-B066-DEC9FB2DC987.jpeg 
Views:	25 
Size:	278.0 KB 
ID:	195606
    S = Semi Tone or half step
    T= Tone or Whole Step

    I prefer to approach this by 'ear' and just listen to a recording of this chart. (Then address the fingerings, staff charts et. al.


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