Diatonic Theory - Putting Things Together

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Ok, so what does all this mean when playing??? This is the cool part really! Try this exercise.

1. Play the notes of the C Major Scale from Root to Root:

C D E F G A B C

2. NOW, play these chords (Harmonies) of the C Major Scale:

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bmb5, C

Can you hear that it sounds exactly like the C Major Scale, except with chords?

3. Now take it one step further with the four note chords:

Cmaj7, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5, Cmaj7

Can you hear these are bigger chords, colors, harmonies that still represent the Major Scale?

4. Now, let's play each mode from Root to Root and you'll be able to hear each mode carry you through the Major Scale just like the chords did, but with single notes:

CDEFGABC = C Ionian
DEFGABCD = D Dorian
EFGABCDE = E Phrygian
FGABCDEF = F Lydian
GABCDEFG = G Mixolydian
ABCDEFGA = A Aeolian
BCDEFGAB = B Locrian

The Root note of each mode is the focus point, or the tonal center, of each mode. So, you hear the Root 
notes climbing up the Major Scale. This is why it sounds like it's related to the function of the Major 
Scale.

Pretty cool, huh?

Don't be fooled by the Mode Names. A lot of people think that just because they have these puzzling names they have to be THE piece to the Musical Puzzle. The names have NOTHING to do with it...it's the Intervals, Chords, and Harmonies that have EVERYTHING to do with it. Forget the names, they are only used for memorizing and communicating to others. The names themselves hold no secret to the mysteries we know as Music.

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