The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 8 – Major Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

Welcome to the part eight of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

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In the last lesson, I took a look at adapting minor chords to modes and modal interchange.  In this lesson – I’m going to apply the same process to major chords.

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Note:

I’ve outlined this process thoroughly in part 7, so if you have questions – just check the instructions there.

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One Chord Modal Interchange Exercise – Major

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 Of the parent major scale modes I’ve been covering – there are 3 that can be used over an A major chord:

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  • A Lydian (E major):

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A Lydian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Ionian (A Major):

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A Ionian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Mixolydian (D major):

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A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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Here’s the major-based chord progression:

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Repeat each bar 2-4 times ** Click to enlarge**

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Here are the steps (repeated from Part 7):

  • Record or loop the pattern in time 
  • Playing over the loop practice switching modes each bar.  I’ve outlined the fingerings above (see earlier posts in the series if you want to see how I derived them) with a sample rhythm.  As an initial step – just practice ascending and descending the patterns in a scalar fashion.
  • As the level of familiarity with the modal interchanges increases, try removing the repeats and increasing the tempo (thus increasing the difficulty level).

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Note:

Make sure you don’t start every bar with the low A root!

The goal of this is to be able to switch between modes “mid-stream”.   As a first step, when playing these ascending and descending make sure that wherever you are in the pattern ascending or descending that you transition into the next mode smoothly.  The initial goal here isn’t speed – it’s fluidity and being in control of switching between modes.

(See the melodic note below for some other tips once you get comfortable with the transition).

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Now let’s examine each chord (and mode) individually:

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  • First measure: A Major

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A Major – Play A Lydian, A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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The modes could be played over this chord are:

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A Lydian (recommended), A Ionian (be careful of the 4th) and A Mixolydian

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  • Measure 2: A Major 7

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Lowering the root to G# creates an A major 7 chord – which works with either A Lydian or A Ionian.

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A Major 7 – Play A Lydian or A Ionian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 3:  Lowering the G# to G produces an A7 – stick with A Mixolydian for this one.

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A7 – Play A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 4:  I’m going to start the process of chromatically ascending certain pitches rather than descending.  So I’ll go back to A Major here.

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  • Measure 5:  Raising the 3rd (C#) a 1/2 step to D produces an Asus4 chord.  The #4 in Lydian will clash with the natural 4th – so go with Ionian or Mixolydian for this one.

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A sus4 – Play A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 6: Raising the 4th another 1/2 step results in an A major (add #11) – a chord firmly in the domain of A Lydian.

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A Major (add #11) – Play A Lydian – Click to enlarge

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The chord progression then goes back to A major where any of the 3 modes could be used.

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Notes:

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  • Harmonic – If you’re playing with another musician try taking this one chord vamp idea and using your ear to change the chord when the soloist changes modes.  You can make other chordal alterations as well creating melodic movement in the voicing –  is a great approach to use both in comping on a single chord as well as creating melodic movement between 2 chords (more on that in another lesson).

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  • Melodic – As the soloist in this approach – try to change modes then the rhythm player changes chords.  As soon as you get comfortable with the shapes – try making melodies and taking them through each modal change.  (See part 5  for an example of that process with one modal shape).

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The nice thing about playing with human beings (rather than sequences) is that people can introduce random factors into playing.  A person can make all kinds of melodic or harmonic decisions that require the other person to change and adapt.  It develops a dialog and allows people to become more attune to playing with other people (and ultimately more musical).

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The next lesson will cover a go a little deeper into modal chord progressions and offer some new challenges.  As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.  Also please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

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I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

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-SC

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P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 7 – MINOR POSITIONAL MODAL INTERCHANGE AND COMPLIMENTING MODES WITH CHORDS

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 4 – MODES AND CHORDS

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Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

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PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

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GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

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Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

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