Join Julian Velard for an in-depth discussion in this video What are modes?, part of Music Theory for Songwriters: Harmony.
- The diatonic scale is represented…by all the white keys of the piano.…If we play all the white keys starting with C,…we hear the C major scale.…I showed you earlier…if we play all the white keys starting on A,…we hear the A natural minor scale.…Both follow the diatonic formula…of whole steps and half steps.…
But the difference between the major and natural minor scale…is the position of a tonic in that formula.…Since the first degree of each scale…appears on a different note in a diatonic scale,…the resulting interval pattern is different.…What if we would apply this method of shifting the position…of the tonic to other points along the diatonic scale?…The resulting change in interval relationships…yields different interval patterns…with their own characteristic sound.…To illustrate this concept clearly,…we use C major as our reference.…
We know that the tonic of the C major scale…is its first degree, C.…So what happens when we treat the other scale degrees…as the starting point or tonic?…Like starting the scale on E…
In this installment, musician Julian Velard digs into more intermediate-level music theory topics. Starting with minor scales, he shows examples of classic songs in minor keys, and then explores the modes of the diatonic scale (e.g., the mixolydian mode). Next, Julian dives into chords with 4 or more notes, covering 7th chords, chord extensions (e.g., 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths), suspended chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, and inversions. Finally, he covers key centers, modulations, pedal points, alternate bass notes, and polychords. At the end of each chapter, Julian explains the techniques shown within the context of his own original songs.
- Working in minor scales
- Using Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian modes to write songs
- Extending chords
- Using 7th chords in a song
- Transposing a song
- Building different harmonies from a single melody