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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: mode curious

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

cdnew34 - Posted - 09/03/2007:  22:03:48

I watched a jazz guitar vid on music moose about modal harmony. The instructor pointed out that normal triadic chord theory doesn't apply to modal jazz.

Further, he said that the chords and progressions are built on fourths instead of thirds. What is he talkin about?

Jody Hughes_Starcreek - Posted - 09/03/2007:  22:43:02

i havent a

carteru93 - Posted - 09/03/2007:  22:50:13

I'm with you there!

Pick till yer fingers bleed!

leshok - Posted - 09/03/2007:  23:23:46

send a link to the video


Looking for banjo players to jam with in georgia, send a message if you wanna get together.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 09/04/2007:  08:40:20

A major chord is built from the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale. If you're in a G chord, you have the notes G, B, D for the triad.

As far as using 4ths, someone else who is more into jazz will have to answer that one. I would presume (although I'm not sure) that if they use 4ths, you would use the 1st, 4th, and 7th notes of the scale. I know in jazz they often flat the 5th or the 7th.

Again, I'm not into jazz and my take on 4ths may not be correct.

I watched the same video and tried to see where he was making the chords, but they were mainly barre chords and I couldn't figure it out.

Let's Pick!
Texas Banjo

Banjophobic - Posted - 09/04/2007:  11:41:42

You'r3e starting to get into DEEP waters here-. Modal harmonization is very complex and involves complex ideas like "shifting chord centers" and vamps using non diatonic harmonies, using suspended chords for domiant chords in rythum,etc.
Alot of jazz is bulit upon the 4ths. You have the basic triad chords,based on the 135 , or "third" intervals. These are the basis for traditonal harmonies and chords that we use all the time in folk music. The proper term, is I think "Tertian"(?)hu, dont know if thats the right term but it refers to thirds stcked harmony/chords. If you go outside of that then you have "non'tertian" types of harmony.chords like "2nds, 7ths, 4ths, and 5ths".
If you look at simple harmony ideas you can start to see this hopefully

In BG banjo we use thirds all the time in some of our banjo licks/ideas


These are positons that we banjoists use all the time in soloing. These notes are also part of important CHORDS in the rythmic progression. These are "Tertiary"(hope thats right) based harmonies.
If you look at the notes on the 1st string, you see that they are the notes of the G major scale and the other note is a 3rd away and is harmony

Ok, if you decide to harmonize with 4ths you would use notes that are 4ths apart. You then get "Quartial" harmonization (Quartial meaning by 4s):


Ok, so you can hear a big difference in the voicings of these 4ths. Now imagine the chord progressions being based on this too. You get very open ended sounding chord structures that dont really stcik with the tonal benter of the key you're in. So if you imporvize in a jazz situation using 4th harmonization, in G maj, you'll get some pretty complex and floating type harmoies. This may sound disjointed and not always be in what you consider 'harmony' with the melody. This is what gives jazz its unique voicings. IF you look closely at some of these positons, you'll see how they also correlate to many common sus4 chords-the reason is that 4th harmoization parallels the use of sus4 chords too. Anyway, thats just a very basic explanation. Once you get deepley into jazz, you'll soon see how deep it gets and how your head can hurt.......mines starting to throb now.........

Joe Larson - Posted - 09/04/2007:  18:42:20

Good Job explaining that and making it understandable.

Any dern fool can be young, it takes guts to get old.


cdnew34 - Posted - 09/04/2007:  22:02:32

Yes, that helps a lot understanding the chord structure.

I am also wondering how the progressions are arranged. I am assuming it is not based on a simple ii v i situation. Is there any rhyme or reason to how the modal chord progressions are arranged?

I mean there has to be a way for the chords to resolve.

RPM - Posted - 09/05/2007:  14:04:38

You can certainly play using "normal" theory in modes. After all, the major and minor keys are just two of the modes.

But playing in fourths in modes comes from an idea by Coltrane, I think, or his piano player.

Anyway, say you're in a D Dorian.
The notes in the mode are D E F G A B C D.
So start on the first D and "stack" notes in fourths: D G C F.

If you consider the D as the bass note, those notes could be considered a partial Dm11 (D F A C G)

If F is the root, it could be a partial F13 (F A C Eb G D) or F6 or F9.

G as bass, and it could be G7sus4 GCDF.

And you can do that on all the notes in the mode. So it really opens up a lot of harmonic possibilities. You can head out in a lot of different directions from those notes if you consider them to be particular chords.

(Just consider that the notes for D Dorian are the same as the notes in C Ionian (major).
So if you're doing a ii V i progression in C major, you could grab the quartal harmony (chord) starting on the d note in D Dorian, and you've got a ii11 and V7(sus) chord, depending on where you want to go next. Or if you're in C, you could consider the same notes an extended IV chord--F13.)

As BP said, jazz theory can be downright brain cramping. Frankly, I'm not sure how useful this would be for the banjo because of the limits on its tunings.

Ryan Cavanaugh - Posted - 09/07/2007:  19:11:03

Did you check out my banjo instruction in the modes at musicmoose? I give a very indepth tutorial for beginners. You'll also learn how to read it in notation!

cdnew34 - Posted - 09/07/2007:  23:16:48

oh wow . . . ok i'll see if i can find that one.

brokenstrings - Posted - 09/08/2007:  01:12:48

I'm staggered.


Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

cdnew34 - Posted - 09/08/2007:  12:48:28

Hey Ryan,

Is there some place to get banjo music written in notation? I guess it would be called banjo sheet music.

I would like to learn to read music for banjo.

Ryan Cavanaugh - Posted - 09/09/2007:  15:09:59

Standard notation for banjo would look no different that notation for anything else. Maybe you should get an old copy of the Earl Scruggs book. He has the notation written above the tab! You could reverse learn it and then go get a copy of a fiddle fake book or something. All notation. Treble Clef. Good luck.

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