modal playing

Discussion in 'Lessons & Techniques' started by living room rocker, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    I understand the difference between relative and parallel modes. I understand that guitar positions are simply that.....positions. I understand that each position contains all 7 modes but I'm having a harder time understanding what it means to "play modally". I'd define, maybe incorrectly so, that playing modally means "to draw the listener's ear to a tonic other than the song's key tonic". As a general rule, does the term playing modally typically mean using picked notes (i.e soloing) to accomplish this diversion or does it mean playing strummed chords?
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    It just refers to the use of the particular modal scale you are using - nothing to do with strumming or picking. Just use notes that live within the mode. For example, if you are using C Lydian, your palette of notes is C, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C
     
  3. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    I should've used a better choice of words in my question. Should've asked if playing modally meant picking specific targeted notes to achieve the desired mode or using specific chord progressions. For example, if I asked you to play a piece in D Mixolydian to project a bluesy sound, what would you do different than just noodle around in the key of G major? Likewise for your example of C Lydian, what would you do different to project a Lydian sound other than just noodle around in G major?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    The notes are obviously the same as in those scales but the chords and consequently the root and dominants are from the modal scale. The sound is different. I mean, the notes in the A minor scale are exactly the same as those in C major. But there is never any doubt as to which scale you are playing in, purely because of the choice of root and dominant.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  5. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Thanks donepearce, appreciate you chiming in. I totally get your example of being able to discern A minor from C major even though they both use the same notes. Going from the textbook to the actual fretboard has been a bit allusive for me. Guess I'm under the impression one can take a happy uplifting country tune written in major and by targeting certain notes/chords, give it a darker sound. I'll get this modal thing eventually, thanks for the help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    donepearce likes this.

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