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2588 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  dylanroebuck
I'm looking for a clear explanation of the relationship of modes (Ionian, etc) to scales and chords. I know that the Ionian is the same as the major scale. I know that the Mj7th, Mi 7th and Dom. 7th chords are derived from the I, ii and V modes respectively. And I know that for there are seven modes which share the same key as their major scale (e.g. all modes of D Mj share that key, with F# and C#).

So I have this general understanding but I don't really understand the complete relationship of the modes to chords and scales, and I'm not sure I understand how one uses the modes.

I know this is a bit convoluted but I'm guessing that some of you shared a similar confusion at some point in time and can help me out here. None of the many books I have explain it very clearly. While they discuss the modes and some even lay out all of the modes for every note, none really explain the purpose of the modes.
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A different Mode name is required when explaining the difference in sound between a C scale starting on C and the C scale starting on D. They don't sound the same, but they are the same scale (series of notes).

Ionian is the 'collective sound' of all the white notes on a piano when you start and end on C.

Dorian is the 'collective sound' of all the white notes on a piano when you start and end on D.

The reality of the situation is that you're going to rarely start and end your phrases on a single note, so the talk of modes in relation to 'modal jazz' is incorrect use of the term.

When 'modal jazz' was coined it was done so by folks that really didn't understand the usage of the term in pre-existing 'classical' music. Once scholars/musicians thought about it some more, they realized that's not what 'modal jazz' was about at all.

Having said that, simply stated, a musical line is either 'being there' or 'going there'. With 'modal jazz' it's all about playing lines that are 'being there'. Sometimes it uses sounds that had traditionally been used as 'going there' sounds, but now making them sound like 'being there'...

Like making a mixolydian or lydian dominant sound settled -- 'being there.'
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