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Thread: Musical theory question

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    Anyone with musical theory knowledge, I have a question. Musical modes, to my understanding, effectively have the applicable capability to remove the "black key" notes from different major scales. That's the reason I was taught they were used, anyway. For example, the Mixolydian mode (having a flattened 7th; 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8 of a major scale) pertains to the G Major scale, flattening the F sharp in G major, so then G Mixolydian becomes, G A B C D E F G.

    I was watching a Tosin Abasi video where he explained a solo in one of his songs with Animals As Leaders, CAFO. He said that it was a "Phrygian lick". The Phrygian mode (1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 of a major scale), basically being a Natural minor scale with a flattened second, could be played using any note as the tonic note, though by the application for modes that I was taught it pertains to the E major scale, flattening the F, G, C and D notes of E Major, making E Phrygian just E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E.

    Anyway, the question is... If it was merely stated that it was "a Phrygian lick", would I just assume that it was in E Phrygian? Kind of like saying simply "The key of C" to refer to C major. I know, kind of a short question, but...

    I'm a drummer, and far from pitch perfect, I can't distinguish the notes by ear. But this is more a general theory question, rather than one relating specifically to CAFO. Am I overthinking this? I could be wrong in my understanding of modes and stuff, but if anyone can help me out, I'd appreciate it.
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    As soon as I find someone to translate what you wrote into English, I'll have a definitive answer for you, but right off the top of my head I think it's ZIP A DEE DO DA

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    I'm by no means a musical theory expert, but I think the answer to your question is "no"

    Just because someone refers to "a phrygian lick" doesn't mean it's in E phrygian. You could have a phrygian scale with any note as its tonic. I.e., like you said the E phrygian scale is E F G A B C D E, but you could also have a phrygian scale in, say, C...which would be C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C. You could do it the way you said, taking any major scale (whether it's C, E, B etc.) and flat the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th to get phrygian. Likewise you could take any major scale in any key and flat the 7th to get Mixolydian, etc. etc. for all the other modes.

    Hopefully that makes sense haha.
    Matt

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    Thanks Yohin! I appreciate the reply.

    I know that the Phrygian mode can be built using any note as the tonic, I was just wondering that since that note was not specified, if it was meant to be taken as granted as something. I didn't think it would be, but, something worth asking anyway Thanks for the reply!
    Sonor - Pearl - Tama - Mapex - Paiste - Sabian - Roc N Soc - Pro Mark - Gibralter - Evans - Dixon - Mapex

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    As soon as I find someone to translate what you wrote into English, I'll have a definitive answer for you, but right off the top of my head I think it's ZIP A DEE DO DA
    Rick, I think you've got it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    As soon as I find someone to translate what you wrote into English, I'll have a definitive answer for you, but right off the top of my head I think it's ZIP A DEE DO DA
    Do you flatten the DO and if so does it become DEE?

    I think they do that in the Sound of Music the sequel. I could be mistaken. It might have been Mary Poppins.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    Do you flatten the DO and if so does it become DEE?

    I think they do that in the Sound of Music the sequel. I could be mistaken. It might have been Mary Poppins.

    I think it becomes "DUH".

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    Since I'm not even close to understanding theory, I hope you take my posts with no seriousness but with humor, almostmatt.

    I'm toying with you. I'm going to FLAT out disappear now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    Since I'm not even close to understanding theory, I hope you take my posts with no seriousness but with humor, almostmatt.

    I'm toying with you. I'm going to FLAT out disappear now.

    This is my theory on music:

    JUST PLAY THE DAMN SONG.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    This is my theory on music:

    JUST PLAY THE DAMN SONG.
    Sheeesh, alright already. What key?
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostmatt1 View Post
    Thanks Yohin! I appreciate the reply.

    I know that the Phrygian mode can be built using any note as the tonic, I was just wondering that since that note was not specified, if it was meant to be taken as granted as something. I didn't think it would be, but, something worth asking anyway Thanks for the reply!
    With the way the guitar is set up, those guys equate licks with shapes on the fretboard without thinking about a specific key, so I believe you assume he's starting on the root of whatever chord he's playing the lick over.

    The "only white key" method of remembering the modes is pretty convenient so you don't have to memorize ugly strings of intervals. Whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half is doable (major scale), but after that it's rough. It's much easier to remember something like this:

    Ionian C-C
    Dorian D-D
    Phrygian E-E
    Lydian F-F
    Mixolydian G-G
    Aeolian A-A
    Locrian B-B

    You can do the transposing part later to put these in different keys. It's rare enough that it shouldn't be too much of a hassle.

    Matt & Yohin - I'm assuming you guys know all this from your comments, but other might be confused (and probably still are - sorry).
    Last edited by Redeye; 06-17-2013 at 11:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneRoney View Post
    With the way the guitar is set up, those guys equate licks with shapes on the fretboard without thinking about a specific key, so I believe you assume he's starting on the root of whatever chord he's playing the lick over.

    The "only white key" method of remembering the modes is pretty convenient so you don't have to memorize ugly strings of intervals. Whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half is doable (major scale), but after that it's rough. It's much easier to remember something like this:

    Ionian C-C
    Dorian D-D
    Phrygian E-E
    Lydian F-F
    Mixolydian G-G
    Aeolian A-A
    Locrian B-B

    You can do the transposing part later to put these in different keys. It's rare enough that it shouldn't be too much of a hassle.

    Matt & Yohin - I'm assuming you guys know all this from your comments, but other might be confused (and probably still are - sorry).
    That's pretty much what I do as well, think of Ionian (commonly called the major) as C-C on the piano, vibraphone, etc, Aeolian (or relative minor) as A-A and so on, then learn to transpose those modes into all 12 keys (C, C# and so on, all part and parcel of keyboard theory). I find the keyboard layout a lot more logical than a guitar fretboard.....but then again it's like anything, if you do it as often as possible, the you get really used to it.

    Another thing that helped me a lot to understand scales and modes when I was first learning the ins and outs of mallet percussion was to sit and work out all the major triads in the Ionian mode in each key (yep, not as thrilling as playing stuff, but you got to knuckle that stuff down)....did the same with the minors, diminished as so forth, then worked on the blues scales in each key, with all their various triads, flat 5ths and flat 7ths. Mind you, I'm still working on and polishing this stuff up, certain keys are still a little tricky. But if you conquer it one scale, one mode, one new chord at a time, week by week, it's amazing how much you can recall, especially when in jam situations.
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