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Fiddle Lessons: Modes

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All right.
Well, we're gonna start on some
theoretical analysis stuff, using our
instruments here.
And the first thing we're gonna do, is
talk about modes.
Now those of you who have been scooting
in the bluegrass section know that we've
covered a couple of modes, and
modes of course, are scales, different
kinds of scales.
Modes were well, modes we're talking
about, and there's many kinds of modes but
the, the modes, if you hear the word, the
or modal theory, generally referring to
the church modes.
Also called at invented by the Greeks, a
long time ago.
They have greek names, and they are all
based on a scale.
And they're all based on the major scale,
which is fantastic.
Because the Greek probably sort of
invented the major scale.
It's that seven note scale, we know it
well, by now.
But let's just, we're gonna do everything
in G.
And if we were on the piano, we'd probably
doing everything in C.
Because that involves all the white notes.
All the all the white notes on the piano,
because we have this violin instrument
[COUGH] we're gonna do it in G,
because that's the easiest key, easiest to
visualize right now.
This is a little bit complicated in a way,
but we're gonna take you through it,
and so I want you to have your instrument
out, and we're gonna play this stuff,
as we think about it.
Which is always the best way to think
about this because,
as we all know, with theory, theory
follows music,
and theory is built to explain why stuff
sounds good,
and it's a way to recapture a sound.
It's a way to communicate to other people,
why, you know, and
what we want instead of saying oh, could
you play that really cool scale that
we played about three weeks ago that had
like, a high third and had another
seventh in it and like, low seventh and it
was really, it was really good.
You remember that?
For you say, Mix-O, or Lydian, or
you know, so, anyway, so, the modes.
The Greeks kind of invented, somewhat, the
major scale.
So, we're gonna start with a G major
scale, for argument's sake,
and coz it's easy on the violin.
So, I'll, I'll play the major scale
together, here we go.
Back down.
So, we're just gonna working within the
octave here, to some extent.
So, the Greeks named that major scale,
the Ionian mode, and that's our number one
mode, and
that is our basic mode, that everything
comes out of.
So, everything is built off, this very
familiar, basic,
major scale, that we all know and love.
Now, the Greeks were not into the concept
of minor, or
minor seven, or anything like that.
They had this other way of doing it.
Very systematic.
They had the Ionian mode.
All these modes are named after areas in
Greece, regions.
And I can just imagine you know the
Well, I, Ionian Peninsula is that main
peninsula where Athens is, and Sparta, and
all the big cities back then, when they
were inventing this stuff.
And so, I can just see the Ionians going
oh, we're gonna organize this for
you guys.
Okay, the major scale.
That's the coolest scale, and that's gonna
be our scale,
because we are running the show here.
So, we get the Ionian mode, and some of
those weird modes like the Phrygian
mode and Locrian mode those crazy scales.
Well, those guys, the, the Phrygians,
they're way up north.
We never see them.
You guys can have that scale.
You know, we'll have, we'll have thee nice
major scale, the Dorians, well,
they're a little bit farther away.
They're out in the suburbs.
They can have that kinda nice scale.
So I don't think, I don't know if that
really happened, but
I kind of suspect that's probably what was
going on.
Anyway, so.
We have the Ionian mode, a major scale,
same thing.
So, how do we get all these other modes?
I mean, there's there's six other modes.
The Ionian.
And then, okay.
The next mode, all these modes are built
off successive
notes of that same scale, so, what do we
We have the next note in the G major
scale, the Ionian mode,
same thing, is the A note, right?
So, if we start on the A note, and
play the same notes, that are in the major
Right, and we just shift our thinking, so
that, that second note, becomes the tonic,
becomes the key that we're in.
what does that scale, sounds like some
kind of minory kinda.
Right, it's got a minor third.
So, we've just
shifted our perspective, one note up, and
we get this completely different scale.
It's a minor [INAUDIBLE] kind of a minor
scale, and it's called, the Dorian mode.
Well it's kinda, it's
kinda like a minor scale, but it's not a
true minor, a real minor scale would be.
That's what we call in western European
notation, the natural minor scale.
This a is a minor scale, with a high
Because we're using those same notes.
Okay, what's the next, the next,
mode in the series, we're just gonna go up
to the next note, in that G major scale.
G Ionian.
Starting on, what was, the major third,
We're gonna start and
play the exact same notes.
now that's kind of weird, because
actually, the, the, the two.
Is flat, it's like a flat two, and,
it's a minor.
So, that is a little bit like it's kinda
got a Spanish, Moorish kinda sound.
So, you can think of it that way.
As that, that kind of Spanish scale.
The Phrygian, Phrygians.
>> So what's the next one?
Okay, we're going to go up, we go through
the second, which is Dorian.
We've got the third, which is the Fregen
We've got the, starting on the fourth
degree of the scale
It's a C note.
Now we're in the.
Okay, there it is.
It's the Lydian mode.
Instead of a regular.
It's, we've got that raised fourth.
But it's a major.
It's a major scale.
It's like even more major than major,
Kinda happy all the time.
In fact, they're a little too happy.
So, the Lydians,
they're maybe just a little bit too much
of that Dionysian wine and stuff.
They're kind of overly happy, the Lydians.
So, that's a Lydian mode.
Okay, next one,
Again, we're just building from those
successive notes of that G
major Ionian scale.
Starting from the D.
It's like a major scale, right?
But, we've got that.
Flat seven.
Instead of
We've got the C note.
We've got, it's like.
It's mix old Lydian again, the mix old
Lydian mode which is like seventh.
Yeah, so it's happy, but with, kinda mean,
as well.
And it's also a very important mode.
It's one of the ones that we have been
covering the fiddling, because it's so
And it's very, very super important scale
in Western music generally,
because it's the mode that [COUGH] wants
to push us back into another chord.
It's the part of the cycle of fourths that
we'll be talking about later.
So that's mix of Lydian.
Okay we got just two more, building on the
sixth degree.
That sounds like a classic minor scale,
and indeed it is.
It's the aeolian mode.
Aeolia was a very windy place in Greece.
It's the sound of the wind.
Very, very sad, it's a, it's the minor,
it's the natural minor scale, same thing.
Aeolian mode is the natural minor scale.
All right, so that's built on the sixth
degree of the Ionian mode,
and okay, last one.
Again, very weird one.
Certainly built on the seventh degree of
that Ionian mode.
And this one's got a lot of tension in it,
it really makes you wanna kinda like snap
back to.
Right, because it's the same scale, but
starting on that last note of the scale.
So it's got a flat two
And a flat three.
And a flat five both.
And a flat seven so it's got a lot of
flatted notes.
Very popular scale with the modern French
composers like Debussy and
Ravel, they love that scale.
The and this is the Locrian mode,
and even though it sounds like local, it's
definitely not local.
It's way far away from stuff that you
know, from the major scale.
It's funny because [SOUND] it's,
starts with a note right next to the, the
home note.
So, in a way it's local, because it starts
so close to the,
the note of of a major scale.
But it, it definitely sounds totally
So, that is how we get all those modes,
those seven modes, church modes.
And these are hugely useful for any kind
of understanding
the structure of western music, which
means jazz and everything else.
So let's go through again how we derive
We go.
We start with the Ionian mode we're doing
this all in, against the Ionian basis on
G, right?
So major scale, Ionian.
And last but not least, Locrian.
Now, I would like you to go ahead and
play those just work them out, just work
them through.
And just remember that you're playing all
the same notes in that basic major scale.
And then we're gonna talk about a way to,
in part two we're gonna talk a way,
about how to organize the sound of these
get them in your head without thinking of
Just slices of the major scale cuz it's
kinda hard to hear exactly.
You know, we're just, we we're just
Oh well, how do we get these?
Where do these come from?
These seven modes?
And that how we do it.
So, one more time.
Play with me.
We're gonna start with Ionian.
And Locrian.
Back to Ionian.
All right.
So, I want you to work through those on
your own, try them in the key of G.
Try them in another key.
Try them in the key of A.
Everything's the same.
We just.
Okay, start with A Ionian.
And then work up.
So that is a great way to just start
thinking about how these modes derive.
They're all the same notes, but they have
a this completely different characters.
Okay, I just played through all the modes
there, and.
You know, when you're working on these
modes, it's kind of hard to hear
them sometimes, because if we play them as
slices of that scale.
just sounds like, kind of the same scale,
Because it is.
You know, we're just starting on different
So it's hard to shift, your head into that
next tonality.
So a way that a really good way to start
really hearing these modes,
and kind of figure out how they really
sound, and how they.
Make sense next to each other, is to start
all the modes on the same note.
And organize them in an organized way.
Organize them like what's the most major
sounding mode going to the most minor,
most crampy, crabby weird sounding mode.
So this is a jazz technique.
And we're going to start in a closed
We're gonna start with our first finger
We're gonna start in E.
We're gonna play in the key of E, right?
And we're gonna start.
On D string, with our first finger, right?
All right, we're gonna start with that.
So everybody, let's, let's just go ahead
and play, find your E.
All right, so this is a moveable position.
I've been talking about this, in the
bluegrass thing.
We can, we have this nice position that's
across two strings.
We can get an entire scale without having
to move our hand, or
go across too many strings, so we can move
this to F.
Sort of like hand position number one,
that we can move that around because,
I say number one because the tonic starts
on the first finger, right.
So we can move that anywhere.
We can move to G.
Same fingering.
All those relationships.
All those hand, finger positions are the
same, no matter where we move that.
So, we're coming back down to E here.
So, what is the most, absolutely most
happiest sound of all those seven modes?
Well, you might think oh Ionian, right?
Because it's the major, it's the same as
the major scale.
According to many Jazz musicians, and a
lot of other people as well.
Even more major than the major scale, the
Ionian mode is.
The Lydian mode, because it's that happy,
overly happy.
Remember those Lydians, there, they must
be like, you know,
they've got laughing gas coming out of the
ground or something like that.
And or Lithium, they got Lithium.
Lydia is just the same Lithia, right?
that is the mode if we remember the raised
forth, right?
So, that is even more major than major.
it doesn't have that forth that's pointing
away from the chord.
That's sort of like a.
But note, it's like wa.
But, and then we come back in.
But the Lydian is.
Very, very happy.
So we're gonna start with the Lydian mode.
In fact, we're gonna us an acronym for
this, and as we all know, an acronym.
Uses the first letters of whatever words,
you're stringing together.
So our acronym for this way of organizing
the modes is lindapl.
Lindapl, lindapl, lindapl, lindapl,
L-I-N-D-A-P-L and
that L, first L, stands for Lydian, the
last L stands for Locrian,
and in between we have the spectrum of
super major.
Getting minor, more minor, more weird,
over here.
Way over here in Locrian where everything
is like all crammed up in, in crazy.
So, we're gonna start with that super
happy Lydian scale.
Lydian mode.
Let's play it, starting on E.
This is E Lydian, right?
If you a C okay oh say,
yes F mix of Lydian.
You're gonna play, a mixed Lydian scale
based on the note F, right?
So here we go E Lydian.
So, almost exactly like a major scale.
Except we have that raised fourth.
Where we should be playing with our fourth
finger here.
And this is a great way to organize this
Because, we really start to see those
relationships in
a sort of a geometric way as we visualize,
or look at our hands.
Seeing what's going on.
So we have all, the whole, the whole
bottom half, the whole.
One, two, three, four.
The whole bottom tetrachord, remember the
bottom have of the scale.
Bottom four notes.
Are whole steps.
And then.
The top.
Just one half step, right,
when you get to the last roll.
Okay, so
what's the next most major, or let, or
next least major chord, and that's gonna
be our Ionian.
Classic major scale so let's play that,
again starting from E, so we, because we
start from the same note here,
we can really start hearing these
relationships, how things change.
Now we're only gonna change one finger
position as we go from Lydian.
To Ionian, and that's the beauty also of
this way of organizing this because
every time we change to the next mode,
we're only changing one finger and
the fingers drop in a very systematic way,
it's actually rather beautiful
Beautiful thing, you know.
And that's another way that we can kind of
really start getting the sound,
and the feel of these modes in our hand by
watching the fingers drop,
and watching this beautiful little
geometric progression.
So, classic Ionian, classic major.
On E, E Ionian.
We'll play it one more time with me.
Here we go.
And did you notice something about
the bottom tetrachord, and the top t,
tetrachord they're symmetrical.
Again, it's a symmetrical type of scale,
where the bottom shapes,
spaces are the same as the top.
You have a, we have a half step,
we have two whole steps, and a half step.
When we go to the next string.
And that's another reason why I like to
start with this finger position, is
because we really see the top four and
the bottom four, whether or not they're
the same, or whether they're different.
So, on the Ionian, on the major.
Same hand position, so that's great.
What's our next less major?
We're going from super major to super
Next one would be, well, what's that
The next one is gonna be the Mixolydian.
So, it's still a major.
Where does the next finger drop?
It drops in the upper half.
So, it's gonna be.
That seventh.
All major.
Flat 7.
Play it one more time with me, here we go.
So that's the miscellaneous scale still,
it's still major.
Now the next scale, in this system where
the fingers keep dropping is gonna be
the first O R minor, minor modes, okay?
And that is, the most major or the minor
modes, which is the Dorian, and
that's because we have a high sixth.
So, the only thing we change.
From the Mixolydian to the Dorian is the
third, right?
So it becomes a minor third, major third
becomes a minor third.
That changes to
So now we're in the minor scales.
So this is Dorian, here we go.
And this stays the same.
High sixth and then we have the flat
seventh, still.
So only one note has changed between the
mixolydian and the Dorian.
So that's why L-I-M, lim Dorian.
Hope you're playing this along with me.
Hear it one more time on the Dorian.
Okay, so we're just gonna keep dropping
A for Aeolian.
The natural minor and this is the same on
the bottom.
And then instead of this we drop the six.
Right so that's the only difference is
that six gets dropped.
To a flat.
Okay, so here we go, here's the Ionian
In E
Okay, we've got two more to go.
We've got PL.
P and L.
So P is obviously, what's the one that
starts with P?
Even though it's a silent P, if you say
it, it's still there.
And so we've got the P, Phrygian.
Here it is.
Okay, so what note drops?
Remember that flat second, the moorish
So, everything is the same as the Aeolian,
except we're flatting the two.
So, here we go, Phrygian.
Flat two.
So, the top four, it's just like the
Now this is interesting because thinking,
you know, if you derive,
if you're playing here, the Phrygian.
The Phrygian's kind of a weird one, it
sounds weird.
It's like one of those weird but, if you
look at it.
From this perspective.
From the, the, you'll see that, wow.
The phyrigian is actually one of the
symmetrical scales.
The bottom four notes are just the same
fingering, same spaces,
as the top four notes.
And all of a sudden becomes a little bit
more transparent, little bit clearer.
Right, so we've got our half step at the
Half step, two whole step, and then the
top four half step.
So that's kinda cool.
That's so we get a little bit clearer
understanding of one of those weird ones,
the Phrygian.
Okay, now, what about the last one?
The Locrian?
That, we flatted just about everything we
Except for the five note.
And the Locrian is famous for having the
flat five.
So it's a minor seven, flat five.
Now, I've, I've heard a lot about minor
seven flat fives in jazz, as chords.
But this is the minor seven flat five
Happens to be the locriat.
So, we actually have the Greeks,
had a jazz scale already back 2,000 years
ago, or whenever.
I don't know, I don't think they were
using it as a jazz scale, but
I'm sure somebody was improvising.
So here we have [SOUND].
Where, remember it's like, okay so what
are we changing?
We're changing the five.
So we do the Phrygian on the bottom
And then we gotta flat that five.
So we reach back with our first finger.
Instead of the six, five, natural five
we're gonna go.
Move it back a half step.
And then we have
The flat six and the flat seven.
And then the octave.
So look at that.
We have a whole tone scale on the, on the
The top tetrachord is all whole tones
Let's play that slow, here we go, Locrian.
Flat, get that flat five, flat six, flat
seven, again, down.
That's a half staff between the top and
the bottom tip note in the tetrachord.
That's worth rocking back and forth a
little bit, and
making sure you got that relationship
together there.
And down we go.
Here's your half step.
One more time on the Locrian.
Now one of the, some of the great things
about organizing the ways
is watching those fingers drop and, and
the different patterns develop.
And one, you know, one note changes
between all of these modes.
And the nice thing is that we see, you
The, the symmetrical stuff, the
non-symmetrical stuff.
And there's some other nice things.
Like, in, for instance, in Locrian mode,
we have a,
a whole tone scale in the top four note.
Well, how 'bout that Lydian mode?
We had our whole tone tetrachord in the
And so at the beginning we have the whole
tones at the bottom.
And at the end we have them at the top.
So the whole tone [INAUDIBLE] has migrated
through to the top four.
So that's another kind of a beautiful
little geometrical relationship,
it happens.
Remembering limdapl, L-I-M-D-A-P-I,
Lidian, Ionia, Mixolydian, Dorian,
Aeolian Phrygian and lastly but not
leastly Locrian.
Let's play through, [SOUND] that entire
starting on the same note, starting on E.
Okay so start with our, ultra, overly
happy lideon, right?
Here's, Aeolian.
Mix the lady in.
Four major.
Okay, here's the first of the minors,
Aolian, we drop in on the top four.
And the last two, the weird ones.
Minor seconds
And Locrian.
All right, so what I want you to do with
Is to do the Lim dapple.
Which is, basically, you're just gonna
play a one octave scale in this position.
You could do it in E, you could do it in
F, you could do it in G,
you could do it in A, you could do it in
you could do it in C, you could do it in C
down here.
You could do it.
You could do it on a chair.
You could do it in the square.
You could do it with your eggs and ham.
You know?
But do it.
So start with.
I think I played through them all.
So, what we're, we're thinking.
While we're playing those, we're thinking
Lydian, Ionian,
Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian,
What we wanna do is get to where we can do
just like a major scale, without thinking
about it, our hands just do it.
And it's going to take, a little bit of
time because it's all seven modes.
But, we can do it.
[SOUND] It's very doable.
So again.
Again from the E.
[NOISE] So, we go, thinking limdapple.
Lydian and, and as we do this, and don't
go for speed quite yet.
Just look for the beauty of those change,
in one note change each time.
Is that does, do notes change?
Do the notes all change?
Do they alternate between the top and
bottom half?
I believe the do.
Okay, and now this then, alternates the
changes in the bottom half, right?
And the next one changes in the top half.
Next one changes in the bottom half again.
Next one changes in the top half again.
All right back to the bottom half.
Again in the top half.
So we just see these beautiful
relationships developing, and that's gonna
help us organize this in our mind.
We're using every possible way to hear
this and feel it, you know, in our hands.
To start getting the sounds of these
modes, in our head and really, you know,
get them organized in a way that is gonna
make them musically
useful to us and that is spelled Limbed
All right so good luck with that and take
your time.
And play it, run this lesson again, couple
of times.
I know it's kind of long, but this is a
hugely important and
it's gonna completely help your whole
harmonic understanding and help your ear
and all the stuff.
And, and get you into a space where you
can really do some serious improvising
without having to think too much because
you do all your thinking ahead of time.
All right.