Do you practice the Modes?
Years ago when I started out on bass and guitar I worked on learning the Modes so I could bring different approaches and flavors to original music, such as Dorian, Lydian, Super Aeolian etc. is this something Violinists do in their personal studies?
Basically it's just starting a major scale on some note other than the tonic, right?
That's about it, but not every position is going to be in a major key, if you began in a major key in Ionian, then the Phrygian would be in a minor key, as well as Dorian, Locrian and Aeolian.
I used to, but I decided it was too painful and stopped.
Some jazz teachers belabor the learning of modes. It is counterproductive in my opinion as an experienced amateur jazz pianist.
As a jazz musician, I would agree with Paul ;-) . But it depends on what one wants out of music. The whole modes thing is more of an academic thing then a stylistic thing. Kinda like learning words from the dictionary. Could be fun, but in the end making coherent sentences is more fun for me :-)
Denis is entirely correct and as we all know, the coherent sentence can communicate meaning even with errors in grammar and punctuation. That's how you order food in a restaurant in another country!
What it showed me is how to connect everything from the bottom of the fretboard to the top (on a bass) but it really isn't necessary. How often does anyone do a descending or ascending riff that's that long?
Paul Deck, what about quarter tones? I've been following Samvel Yervinyan and he tends to use them a lot while soloing. Are they a shortcut?
I don't see any reason to practice modal scales because the fingering is identical to the major scales.
OK, so, in playing the modes, "the fingering is identical to the major scales". ????
'Basically it's just starting a major scale on some note other than the tonic, right?....' That's correct.....
Jeffrey, I can't get with quarter tones. One of the problems with jazz improv on the violin is that if your intonation is not quite good, there will be ambiguity as to what notes you are actually playing, and your line will not convey to the listener. That's only going to be worse with quarter tones.
'I've never heard anyone call it a G Dorian scale. What would be the point of that?....'
I'm saying this as a composer who has written an entire movement of a piece for orchestra in F Dorian. When performing, it's easiest to think of it as a major scale starting on a different note, as Paul Deck says. That's what I mean by "same fingerings as the major scales" and that exactly how I've done it when I've played modal music. Isn't the whole point of practicing scales to be able to immediately know the finger pattern you're going to use for any particular key or mode? Does it really matter how you think of the key/mode as long as your fingers end up in the right place?
'Does it really matter how you think of the key/mode as long as your fingers end up in the right place?....'
I wouldn't touch western church modes with a bargepole.
I agree Gordon, I like the Armenian players, Gypsy style with lots of quarter tones and Persian scales
Are the Armenian fiddlers playing true quarter tones, or are they just taking "expressive intonation" to an extreme?
I believe Samvel is right on the money
I don't think there's any real reason to specifically practice any modes besides major or minor (which are modes, by the way). What do most students really have problems with?
If you have studied the first page of Galamian Contemporary Violin Technique (two octave scales), as instructed, - you did all the major and minor modes already.
Not quite Elise, talking out of the top of my head - Melodic minor is only minor mode when coming down.
Tonic solfa notation denotes modes with headings like:
'What they'd do with Phrygian is anybody's guess!....'
As somebody that did a jazz postgraduate studies - yes!
Henry replied to
The best improvisers I've heard are the ones who spin out what's in their mind's ear. I can't imagine Keith Jarrett or Michel Petrucciani worrying about modes. For ordinary mortals, it might be a means to an end. And maybe those guys used it at some point too. But my own experience -- having relied on that stuff for many years because I was basically taught from the "Aebersold school" -- is that it's a crutch and an impediment to actual improvisation. Now that I'm starting to play jazz on the violin, I can see myself doing it all over again, too, and it's kind of frustrating.
Somewhere along the interminable list of music scales you'll find this oddity, the super-Locrian scale (the lower case "b" indicates the flat sign):
Along with the whole tone scale comes the augmented arpeggio. Nobody practices it because it's not in Flesch. But Fischer has it!
Agreed. The whole-tone scale and the augmented triads are difficult and useful for learning the crawl-shift. The church modes are technically not very useful, but the scales with the aug. 2nd gaps, like the harmonic minor, help expand the hand. There are lots of common chords that are not in our standard scale books. I find the half-diminished, [b5-7] to be difficult to remember.
If an experienced sight reader that's never practiced, say the Super Locrian, came across it while sight reading a neo classical piece, would they have an issue with it?
No problem. I'd read it as having the same notes as an ascending melodic minor scale. I wouldn't care much about where the tonal center is.
Note: I play viola and compose, but I don't improvise. My mind works differently when composing and when playing someone else's music; I actually have a hard time doing both less than two or three hours apart. In fact, I don't even think about modes when I play my own modal music!
10 minutes in is something to watch if you are coming from up and down classical scale practice.
Practicing some form of the blues scale has been a lot more useful to my improvisations than modes. I use the minor blues scale, but any form is useful practice. Jazz came out of the blues. The blues scale is a foundation. Notes in the blues scale can be used in any chord, in any song - to change "the flavor" a bit. It comes down to how do you want to spend your practice time to get improvisation skills that are useful to your performing.