How to think about modes?

I have a question regarding modes. I think this is one of the theory aspects I still can’t fully wrap my head around.

Elsewhere I learned that the Dorian mode, which starts on the second degree of the major scale, is when you play the notes of the previous key, i.e. so to play C dorian, you basically play the notes of Bb scale. E dorian, play the notes of D scale, etc. This is how I already think about Dorian.

Should I forget about this way and instead see Dorian in terms of b3 and b7 each time? Which way of thinking will be most efficient while improvising?

Good question Diana.

Both methods are correct - it’s simply 2 ways of looking at the same thing.

I do mention both methods in the modal lessons.

Some musicians prefer the ‘parent scale approach’ which you are describing, whilst others favour the ‘scale tone approach’ which is how I learnt modal theory.

It’s good to have an awareness of both methods, but ultimately use whichever one works best for you.

Another great question!

Thinking just in terms of modes can be limiting when improvising.

This can lead to mindlessly running up and down scales which isn’t very musical and expressive.

Jovino talks about this in the following masterclass which I think you will find enlightening:

Also check out this post where we discuss a similar topic:

The Importance Of Chord Tones:

It’s also important to understand the role of chord tones in the improvised line. We discuss this at length in the course on “12 Bar Blues Improvisation” and then analyse an improvised solo:

Take a look/watch over the above links and it will give you some extra insight into modes, chord tones, and the choices we have when improvising.

Any other questions here let me know :slightly_smiling_face:

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oh yes… seems complicated
hold on with Hayden)))
ear is quite helpful (modes, major, minor…)
by the way… you can try for fun to combine scales …
for example, for fun
harmonic minor scale (left hand) with major correspondance (right hand)… then begin scales not only off the root… the turn all this until this preparation works… as in pastry))) nb : don’t be afraid to fail a lot))

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Awesome practice sheets Mark, thank you!

could be interesting too as it is at the border of jazz and contemporary music. it is a nice perspective