Thread: Thread On Modes
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Old 2008-10-16, 11:39
CalledToArms CalledToArms is offline
New Blood
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 3
great thread so far! I've really been digging into modes later (Dave Weiner has some great videos on youtube for an introduction).

You guys are lucky to have some of the people here that are answering your questions in this thread. I am not as advanced as them but everything I have learned on my own or asking friends has been restated correctly here by Davie and the others. Its great information! I just happened across this forum today while I was thinking about a progression I wrote and was trying to apply modes to for my band.

On to my question...Its a long one (mainly because I am long winded and not trying to leave info out haha). So bravo to anyone that reads the whole thing and can provide feedback haha. ie let me know If I am thinking of/applying modes correctly and any other suggestions are welcome.

The progression is PART 1 E-F-Am (x2) then PART 2 C-Am-A#/Bb (x2) in each case the first chord is a whole note and the last two chords are half notes

I wrote it without thinking in terms of music theory, it was just a progression that sounded cool to my ears, but now that I want to put a lead on top of it, I have started to kind of evaluate it this 1) so I can ultimately get a cool lead laid out for it, and 2) it seemed like a good exercise for modes after I looked at the progression I had put together. And maybe it will be a good example for others here if we analyze it together.

First thing that I noticed was the presence of 2 major chords 1 half step apart to start my first progression (the E to F). They immediately gave off a cool vibe which is why I liked them when I was writing. After looking some stuff up, it seems like the E-F-Am leans very hard to being an A harmonic minor progression - more specifically an E Phrygian Dominant progression since I started with the V-VI (and phrygian dominant is the 5th mode of harmonic minor). To me, this calls for using E Phrygian Dominant on top of the first 2 chords to really bring out the sound that those 2 Maj chords next to each other evoked -or- maybe E mixolydian over the E to E phrygian dominant over the F if starting on E phrygian dominant was too "specific" to start with. This 2nd option provides a b7 which then moves into the adding the b2 and b6 over the F which might be kind of cool.

This brings me to the Am chord after the E and F. First thing I thought of was simply playing A harmonic minor of top of this since it is the key that my E Phrygian dominant was based off of – thus it shares the same notes and would flow pretty well even though it would have a slightly diff sound. The 2nd idea was to play A Phrygian to kind of keep the Phrygian sound and A gets Phrygian if you look at it in terms of Fmaj. The 3rd thought I had dealt with looking ahead to chords 4, 5, and 6 in my progression. I noticed that C-Am-A#/Bb is certainly NOT in A harmonic minor. These chords seemed to come from F major – or more specifically they formed a C mixolydian sound because it didn’t include an F but instead started on the C and ended on the chord based off a b7 of C. (and C is the 5th of F major hence mixo)

This led me to think of doing something interesting on top of the Am chord in PART 1 to indicate/transition smoothly into F maj / C mixo. Perhaps on the last time I am playing Am from PART 1, I could think about using E Locrian over the Am chord since this is the mode of E found in F maj - and A minor is in F maj. It seems it would both flow well after the Fmaj chord and segueing into the C mixo progression. This would also make my lead be something like E mixo – E phryg dom – E locrian which kind of keeps it congruent and adds darker tones each time ie (b7, then b2,b6,b7, then b2,b3,b5,b6,b7) I liked this because PART 2 of my progression has significantly lighter/brighter sound (F maj) and would be a good contrast to PART 1.

This of course brings me to the 2nd part of my progression, but this post is already long so I think Ill save analyzing part 2 for later and see what any of you think.


Part 1 of my progression:

E – F – Am

Possible lead structures I was thinking of at work:
E mixolydian (or major) to E Phrygian dominant to A harmonic minor
E mixolydian(or major) to E Phrygian dominant to A phrygian
E mixolydian(or major) to E Phrygian dominant to E Locrian

Thanks guys, you all have always helped me a ton!
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