Diatonic Theory - Using the Modes


How about USING the modes?

Once you understand the things already discussed you can do a two things, neither is wrong and neither is 
the only way to do it, but in practice and in playing you use both quite frequently...

When people play "in a Key", all the chords, all the harmonies, all the notes really come from one 
scale...the Major scale of the Key.

So when soloing, as long as the chord progression stays in one Key, you can think of it as one scale you 
are playing everything out of. This is a very simple concept. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple either. 
Here's a chord progression in the key of C Major with the "one scale" solution:


||: Cmaj7 Am7 | Dm7 G7 :||

Play C Ionian ( the C Major Scale) for the whole progression.


Some people try and take that concept and make it deeper, more of a "concept". Some people like to take 
each chord and make sure they are playing the appropriate "Mode" for that chord.

For instance here's the same progression using the "Mode for each chord" solution:

||:   Cmaj7      Am7        |    Dm7         G7       :||
     C Ionian   A Aeolian    D Dorian   G Mixolydian

While this is really slicing it and dicing it, isn't it really the same as the simple concept?

All of those chords come from the key of C Major, and all of those modes are nothing more than the notes of the C Major Scale.

And in addition, if you only play those four Modes from their Root notes in that order...you will 
practically "hear" the chord changes going by without any chords playing underneath.

Even though we've spelled out a specific mode for a specific chord...they are all really just the C Major scale landing on notes "that sound right" while the chords are moving/changing.

This is why I say neither is the right way or the wrong way. I encourage you to experiment looking at it both ways as you will start to see how they are the same thing from different perspectives. And, it will 
also help you communicate things to yourself and see things from a broader sense, as either way isn't 

One way is just simpler, but really no different from the more in-depth way.

Another way to look at it is, even when you are play one scale over a chord progression within a key...you 
ARE automatically playing modes as your melody/licks/riffs follow the chords.