In The Study of Theory,Guitar Modes and Scales Need Not Be That Difficult. Find That One Missing Element That Gets You Through This Quick!
Learning scales and modes is something all guitarists have to do at some point or the other as it is a great way to deepen one’s understanding of the guitar.
And just like notes and chords, scales and modes are fundamental building blocks of many a great tune. What? building blocks no way you say! For a moment lets be kids again and go take a look at some blocks we can play with.
Scales Are the Majority of Your Blocks
But what are these scales and modes? A scale is any sequence or group of notes with a start and an end. They are the organizing structure of any composition and have a tonal centre towards which the ear gravitates.
Traditionally, there are two main kinds of scales – the major scale (from where the modes come) and the minor scale, of which there are three (the Natural Minor Scale, the Harmonic Minor Scale and the Melodic Minor Scale).
Modes Have Far Less Blocks
A mode, on the other hand, is a type of scale derived from the major scale. So all modes come from a parent scale, which means that they all share the same notes. Despite this, however, each mode has a different sound quality.
How come you ask? Because the root note of each is different. So what actually define a mode’s sound are the notes it contains relative to the root note.
True, there are hundreds of different kinds of scale derivations, there are only seven modes. With origins in ancient Greek music (hence the Greek names of these modes are: Ionian,Dorian,Phrygian,Lydian,Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian) each mode has a different sound quality.
Guitar Lesson – Soloing – Scales and Modes
Modes Are Feelings of Your Blocks
While the Ionian and the Lydian modes are Happy Ones, the other four (Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian, and Locrian) are Sad Sounding. The Mixolydian mode, however, has a dominant bluesy tone.
And while modes may look like standard diatonic scales, their origins are different. For example, the Lydian mode, which looks a lot like the C major but is actually F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F rather than C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
This difference naturally means that C major is: whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half, while the Lydian mode is whole-whole-whole-half-whole-whole-half.
So why should you learn all these modes and scales? Because all our favorite genres of music like rock, pop, blues and country use scale patterns based on the pentatonic scale and the major scale. Practicing your scales daily will help you develop finger strength and dexterity.
As you might have well guessed, this does fall into Theory. And if you’re having a hard time connecting the dots, don’t worry it didn’t come easy to any of us. But before you hit up Youtube to solve this, see why I wouldn’t recommend Free Music Theory Lessons Online.
Some Final Points
Learning your modes well will help you understand as well as improvise solos and help you write your own music. But most importantly, scales and modes are great fun once you learn how to make music with them.
So, no matter what, talk to your Guitar Teacher, practice daily on your Guitar Modes and Scales.
And above all! don’t be afraid of making mistakes and trying new things or asking questions.
Question! If you add a # to a Major, what do you get?
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