Help with the 7 modes

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by WhoThenNow7, May 11, 2013.

  1. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    That said, there is a way to know that you are listening to dorian and not some other relative modal area. After all, I've been saying that you can't just rely on the note names to tell you everything - you need to look at the relationship between one note and the next and the next and the next.

    As I said back on the first page, we need to establish a tonic. The way that we do that is with cadences and by harmonic progression. The diatonic modes, unfortunately, make this difficult, so we'll go with the major scale for the moment.

    [​IMG]

    As you may be aware, there are two half-steps in any major scale (or any other diatonic scale, for that matter): one between steps 3 and 4, and another between steps 7 and 1. As it turns out, those half steps are involved in important harmonic tendencies. 7, or the "leading tone" wants to ascend by half step to arrive at the tonic. 4, or the "subdominant" wants to descend by half step to arrive at 3, or the "mediant". If you put together the tendency tones (4 and 7) in a diatonic scale, their intervallic distance is a tritone, which is a dissonant interval. When these tendency tones go where they want to go (3 and 1), then the dissonance is resolved, leaving a consonance. And you can either spell that tritone as an augmented fourth (leading tone on top) which expands to a minor sixth, or as a diminished fifth (leading tone on bottom), which collapses to a major third.

    You might notice that this resolution gives us what is basically the makings of a tonic triad (1 3 5), minus the fifth of the chord (1 3). This is why the major scale is quantitatively easier to deal with than the other diatonic modes: the tritone is already in there, pushing our ear toward the resolution to the tonic. Even if the tritone isn't so explicit, if you're running up and down any mode of the major scale, your ear is going to gravitate toward the relative major key area. It's the tritone's fault.

    The tonic is always going to be our point of resolution, so in a single voice texture, things won't sound resolved until get to 1. Let's have a look at all the ways that we can approach 1 with diatonic intervals.

    [​IMG]

    I've laid out approaches from above and below by second, third, fourth, and fifth. Sixths and sevenths are not included because they're too wide of an interval. You can try, but it doesn't sound right (even though Bach does it, but even he approaches it as an octave displacement). You see our friend the leading tone in the first measure. Stepwise motion is always good, and the half step resolution is all the nicer. The second measure is approaching from a second above. 2 is called the "supertonic", because it's above the tonic. Woo, Latin. Next is 5 1 from above - the dominant to tonic. This is a very harmonically stable interval, and our ear likes hearing it. We can also approach it from below, where the interval becomes a perfect fourth - 5 to 1 is still dominant to tonic, no matter how you flip it.

    Let's take a moment to look at what we have so far - 5, 7, and 2, all going to 1. If you play 5, 7, and 2 at the same time, you get A C# E, which is a major triad. More specifically, it's V. You'll often hear about the dominant-tonic relationship, and you might know that V-I is the fundamental chord progression. Consider that V consists entirely of tones that want to go to the tonic, either because of stepwise motion or something to do with the overtone series, and that 7 is the strongest tendency in there.

    Proceeding, we get to relationships that are not quite as strong as those found in the previous measures. We have 4 1, both from above and below, and that might be involved in a plagal cadence, but 4 3 is more natural, because of that tritone resolution thing. 3 1 works quite well actually, but those are both members of the same chord (in other words, no harmonic motion is happening in 3 1), so it doesn't possess the same urgency as one of the members of V proceeding to 1. The last one, approaching the tonic from a third below, is not a common approach, because 6 1 seems to outline a vi or IV triad more than anything else. Not an effective cadential figure.

    When you add 4 (G) on top of 5, 7, and 2, (A C# E) you get V7 (A C# E G). The seventh chord is a lot more dissonant than the triad, because it possesses that tritone that so firmly defines tonality.

    What we're looking for in order to establish tonality is the V I relationship, preferably with V7. But, there's a problem: the major mode is the only one that has this built in. One of the ways that we cope with this issue is by making temporary alterations to our pitch palette.

    [​IMG]

    This is the most famous example of getting around the tritone's tendency to pull us into the relative major key. First, we start with the natural minor scale on D, D E F G A B♭ C D (or 1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7, if you want key neutrality). There is a tritone in there, between E and B♭. That's cool, but it's between 2 and ♭6. That's not going to get us to 1 and 3 very easily, we really need a tritone between 4 and 7. As it stands, that D minor scale risks becoming an F major scale. What we can do to fix this is raise that C (♭7) to C# (7), which will give us that 4 7 tritone we wanted. This gives us the half step between the leading tone and tonic, but a whole step between 4 and ♭3. The ♭3 is something we can live with, because resolution to 1 is the more important part. If ever you wondered why harmonic minor is called harmonic minor, wonder no further: harmonic minor facilitates the harmonic progression of V7 i. In this way, you can get V7 in a mode that does not normally have it.

    One thing that troubled the guys that were founding these practices was the augmented second interval between ♭6 and 7. When played in order, 1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 7 1 sounds, to be blunt, Middle Eastern. Western music does not typically contain augmented seconds prior to 1900, and there were those Crusades things, so to further the distance between Christian Europe and the Muslim world, we dropped the augmented seconds. We still liked the leading tone that harmonic minor made for us, though, so raising the sixth degree of the minor scale to turn that augmented second into a major second was a good compromise. This gives us the melodic minor (1 2 ♭3 4 5 6 7 1). Melodic minor is used whenever you want scalar motion and have something going on between 7 and 6. 5 6 7 1 is common, as is 6 7 1, and 7 6 7 1 (where 6 is a neighbor tone), and so on. Also, rarely something like 1 7 6 5. In any case, the melodic minor is not meant to have harmonic implication. 6 is usually a melodic non-chord tone. Hence, you know, being melodic minor and not harmonic minor.

    The next bit of information that you need to know is how chord progressions work. Our basic goal is to go from V to I, so we can abstract any functional progression as [whatever] -> V -> I. It gets more delicate than that, of course, but that's the gist of it. If you want a more methodical approach, it's subdominant functions (IV and ii) -> dominant functions (V and vii°) -> tonic functions (I, occasionally vi for deceptive cadences). Notice that I am using the numerals for the major mode. If you want to do minor or any other mode, different things are capitalized or lower case.

    ========

    Excuse the long preamble. We have to have some idea of the problems we encounter in other modes before revisiting our analysis. But now that we've done that, look at what's going on here:

    [​IMG]

    (I am extrapolating the chord progression by the notes that we hear, as well as what sounds correct to my ear. For the most part, the melody outlines a triad in every measure. The only ambiguous part was measures 9 and 13, where we might have Bm, but I decided that G sounded more correct.)

    We know that this is somehow related to E minor, because we hear a very clear outline of the Em triad at the beginning, and we have harmonic reinforcement of Em as the tonic. The first two chords, Em D, do not give us a lot to go on, but as soon as we get to the end of the antecedent phrase, we have D# a couple of times, which is the leading tone of E. The last chord of this phrase is V, meaning that the antecedent ends in a half cadence. The consequent phrase starts the same as the antecedent, making the first eight measures a parallel period. Fancy words. For our purposes, this is reinforcement of the harmonic context, since it's the exact same thing that we just heard. Measures 7 and 8 are where we get a cadential figure in E minor. That i6,4 V pairing is the dead giveaway. We call that the "cadential 6/4". I6,4 (or i6,4, in our case) acts as a prolongation of the dominant harmony, and is a signal that we are approaching a cadence. You can hear a little more on that from this video. He uses "c" to indicate a second inversion triad. I prefer the figured bass symbol.

    Look over the next phrase really quick. Do you notice that it, too, is a parallel period? Both measure 9 and 13 start the same way. The way that these phrases start suggest a visit to the key of G major, because we have what could be I V in G, but since there's no V I, it never takes off. Instead, we know that we are still in E minor because we get a few instances of V i in E. Also check out measures 3-4 & 11-12, then 7-8 & 15-16. Same thing, huh? Tight little tune.

    To address the dorian parts of the song, notice that the sixth scale degree, whether it be 6 or ♭6, is never part of the functional harmony. We see C (♭6) first as a neighbor tone to B in measure 1, and between that and the next measure, that suggests natural minor (1 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 in mm.1, 1 2 4 ♭7 in mm.2). We see C# (6) in measure 7 as a neighbor tone to D#, and C# D# E should spell out E melodic minor to you. We get C# again in measure 9, this time as a passing tone between D and B. The presence of D and C# is what gives us the E dorian feel.


    Leading tones are great for establishing tonality, but we do not always want to use leading tones. In fact, that's the main problem we deal with in modal composition, so we have to find ways to cadence without tritone resolution.

    Koji Kondo - Song Of Time


    [​IMG]

    Another piece from Ocarina of Time. There are a number of dorian pieces from that game, owing to the compositional limitations that Koji Kondo had to conform to. Anyway, let's look at what's going on here. There is a lot of arpeggiated Dm, so much so that there is almost nothing else. We have to assume that D is the tonic by default. He does use that 5 1 relationship from the get go, so there is something resembling a V i progression. The dorian part comes in on the downbeat of measure 3. The modal color tones always come in after some amount of preparation. The cadence at the end is what we want now: C E D, no raised seventh, no half steps. What we do have is stepwise motion from both directions, surrounding the finalis.

    A lot of what I see in these modal pieces is this pattern: use the tonic triad profusely at the beginning, have very simple harmony that primarily serves to expand the tonic, use the color tones as non-chord tones, rely on degrees 5, 7, and 2 (altered or unaltered) to approach the tonic at cadences. I've written a couple short melodies with this scheme, and it seems to work so far. This is probably better for short forms. As soon as you get to longer music, the ear yearns for harmonic variety. But, as they say, start small.
     
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  2. Dani2901

    Dani2901 SS.org Regular

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    copied that from Wikipedia?!?!?!:lol:
     
  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    If I copied from Wikipedia, it might sound a bit like your posts. ;)
     
  4. Dani2901

    Dani2901 SS.org Regular

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    When did i say C Ionian an D dorian sound identical???

    please quote!!!!! I never did

    I just said that it is the same collection of notes... and thats absolutely correct...
    and why don't working with it that way???
     
  5. Captain Butterscotch

    Captain Butterscotch SS.org Regular

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    ^ I seriously can't tell if you're trolling.

    Thanks everyone for this thread! Lots of good stuff in here to digest.
     
  6. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Everybody and their mom knows that. It was in the OP. We like new information here, so please get on to the next step or stop trolling.
     
  7. Dani2901

    Dani2901 SS.org Regular

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    sounds like you're agreeing with my concept...

    if you do we can get to the next stage, if you don't it wouldn't make any sense to go on here with new information!
     
  8. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I agree that G# locrian represents the same diatonic pitch collection as E mixolydian. I do not agree that either one may be treated as harmonically identical to the other, or that any understanding of those modes' workings may be deigned from pointing out their commonality of pitches.

    Proceed.
     
  9. Dani2901

    Dani2901 SS.org Regular

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    OK!!! Once again :wallbash: !! I never said anything about that it is identical in the harmonical way!

    If I did... please quote!

    I'm not bad with you, but please don't be that deadlocked!!

    What I do is showing up some kind of a bridge!! just another way for orientation!! This way it is easier to implement!

    ok then I will come up with some chord progressions later... I've got to do some other work before ;)
     
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  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    That was the winningest post ever! It took me over an hour to read,
    And somewhat understand it. Thanks a MILLION for taking the time to map that all out.
    So now I have one more question: you said that in modal pieces you don't always want to use leading tones, and that makes it difficult to cadence (without being able to use the tritone). Why is that? Why would a modal piece be any different that a diatonic piece in using the tritone? Is it because it would pull it away from the mode because of the need to have that 7 a half step down from the 1? So it would make everything sound major or harmonic/melodic minor? Or am I totally missing the boat? (I'm just guessing here).
     
  11. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    There's also one more possible temporary alteration for minor, the b2 in place of the major 2.

    It can be used in a phrygian cadence. Ex: Bb > Am

    or using it to make a slightly stronger III i cadence. Ex: C7 > Am instead of C > Am
     
  12. fantom

    fantom Misses his 6 strings

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    III7 -> i "cadence" is just a Phrygian progression...

    However, the bII7 -> i/I cadence is not specific to Phrygian. It's just a substitution for a V7 -> i/I cadence. For example, in C Major:

    V7 is G,B,D,F.
    tonic notes: G,D (D resonates with G and is considered not important).
    non-tonic chord tones: B,F (major 3rd and dominant 7th).

    These are a diminished 5th away from each other. With the D, there is a tritone. As SW mentioned many times, it wants to resolve. But what if you make another chord with the B,F in the other order (dominant 7th, major 3rd)?

    You get Db,F,Ab,B, which happens to be the bII7 chord. And if you have fancy memory to impress girls with big words, it is called a Neapolitan.

    Everything said above works in Am using harmonic minor or melodic minor to create the V7 chord. You have E, G#, B, D. G, B are the 3rd/7th. Flip them, you end up with Bb, D, F, Ab (G#), which is still a bII7.
     
  13. stuglue

    stuglue SS.org Regular

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    What you are describing there is a tritone substitution of G7 with Db7, as you state they both share the F and B notes because tritones are symmetrical in there shape. Flip them on there heads and physically they are the same shape on a guitar.
     
  14. fantom

    fantom Misses his 6 strings

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    Yes. You are right... this is just a tritone substitution. I obviously don't have the fancy memory to impress women :eek:
     
  15. stuglue

    stuglue SS.org Regular

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    Totally off topic, but i had a go at playing this. Cool riff. Now do you want a challenge?

    Try playing this riff AND count aloud 8th notes (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &). The triplet accent will throw you. I guarantee it. Seems simple but is deceptive.

    Im sure you can all play it without counting but just have a go. A real head mash.
     
  16. dudeskin

    dudeskin SS.org Regular

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    Sorry to bump off to the side a tad, but im getting my head around these a bit better now.

    if i have a track in my band we havent managed to finish the ending too properly yet, its a simple idea, very simple. and i want to put something over the top of it (we arnt a chug on the open band, just this riff is haha)
    so if this riff is basically B, repeated. what interesting mix of modes should i look at for making it more interesting to listen to. i was thinking semi- tapping idea over the same rhythm part but changing the feel of it by using mode changes.
    sorry if im not explaining well enough.

    any pointers of where to start? what modes are slightly more sinister and unusual and go well together etc. (i never understood how to change between them before)

    thanks
    joe
     
  17. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Phrygian and Locrian are considered to be the dark sounding modes of the major scales. Have a look at some modes of harmonic and melodic minor, as well, i.e. superlocrian.
     
  18. stuglue

    stuglue SS.org Regular

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    It depends what comes after the low B stuff as to how you approach getting out of that part and into the next.

    If you are riffing away on the low B then it depends on what vibe you are after, is it bluesy slightly uplifting but a little mean, then Dorian, if its a Spanish moody vibe its Phrygian.
     
  19. dudeskin

    dudeskin SS.org Regular

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    cool, cheers guys. i have an idea in my head just not got the guitar vocabulary to get it out.

    if someone gave you freedom just to play some animals as leaders/vildhjarta inspired stuff over B coming from B Phrygian but not right next to it, what would you play till end? its the last riff of the track (so far atleast so i guess anything goes) .

    im just interesting in whats possible kind of thing. i end up doing Phrygian to death a tad but i love it haha.

    Joe
     
  20. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Careful - "modal" and "diatonic" are not exclusive terms. "Diatonic" encompasses major and minor scales, as well as the church modes. I generally use diatonic to mean anything that comes out of the major scale collection, which makes things easier when dealing with atonal music that is still diatonic. "Tonal" and "modal" form a dichotomy, however (even though there is some crossing over at points).

    Tritones make it easy to have a convincing cadence, because all they want to do in harmony is resolve. Tritones have a natural pull, so they are going to influence any melody or harmony that you deal with. This means that our ear will tell us that a bunch of notes in a diatonic collection will naturally want to pull toward a tonic that will have the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 organization (as opposed to 1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7, or whatever). But what if we want 1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7? We have to make the music melodically strong and convince the ear of a tonic in order to bypass that natural tendency to go toward the relative major. This is not as big of a deal for the ears of today as it was for the ears of the 1800's, because we are surrounded by music that uses a variety of modes, but we run into this issue on occasion where you desperately want something to sound like tonic and your ear won't have it.

    Do what sounds right. You need context for any decision, and "B" really isn't enough of a context for us to tell you anything. You know the song, so play around with it. If all you're working with is a B pedal tone, then your job is easy. Let this video be an inspiration:



    He's calling out the names of the modes after he plays them, by the way. And, despite the cutoff sentence at the end, he's not changing the key. Key stays the same, the mode above it is changing. (B lydian, B phrygian, B dorian, all have the same key, despite the fact that they might have different key signatures; E lydian, G lydian, and F dorian all have different keys, because their tonic notes differ).

    Yeah, I don't know how convincing III7 i is, either. I tried it, and by itself E♭7 Cm sounds alright. However, I couldn't find a diatonic chord leading up to it that would make it sound right to my ear. Doesn't mean it can't be done, but I worry that the dominant quality of E♭7 more strongly wants to go to A♭ or D, and that there are too many common tones between E♭7 and Cm to be effective as a cadence. I can see it as a two-chord vamp.

    Neapolitan is a subdominant function chord, so it's a substitute for IV, not V. ♭II7 is most often called a "tritone substitution". You could also call the chord some sort of +6/i, provided you have the resolution of an augmented sixth interval to an octave.

    Below: voice leading for the Neapolitan chord, tritone sub (note the parallel fifth) and a French augmented sixth chord (used to avoid the parallel fifth, and I think it sounds cooler than German or Italian).

    [​IMG]

    Neapolitan chords tend to favor minor keys, because of the ♭6. The other two are not as picky, though I think that they sound better with a major tonic. Neapolitan chords are traditionally found in the first inversion in order to mimic the bass movement of a root position iv moving to V. The ♭2 in the Neapolitan chord is used to surround the tonic chromatically with the leading tone (♭2 7 1). The same ♭2 is being used as part of a straight chromatic line in the tritone substitution (2 ♭2 1). It's a linear harmony. The augmented sixth chord uses the ♭2 in the same way, but it doesn't necessarily have to be part of a chromatic line. The important thing is really to create an +6 interval that will expand to an octave (♭2-7 > 1-1)

    Some tab for all y'alls. Notice the treatment of the note B in the ♭II7 I progression. It's held as a common tone to get the seventh in the tonic chord. Now check out what B does in the Fr+6/I I progression. It is like a leading tone. Together with the D♭ in the bass, there is a chromatic expansion to the tonic octave.

    [​IMG]

    Brahms uses an It+6/I at the end of the B section of the B minor sarabande:



    [​IMG]

    I don't see why something like that wouldn't be a good way to approach the tonic in the phrygian mode.
     
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