A Note About The Modes
An important distinction to make is that if you are simply playing a “mode on one string”, it is not the actual mode per se. It is really just a pattern. For instance, if you play the C Dorian pattern up and back you are really only playing the notes of the Bb major scale. Of course, it could be said that the sound of the mode can be implied. So then, what is a mode? A mode is that color, the flavor you get when the melodic notes are playing over and above the bass note. It is a relationship between the bass and the melody notes. In other words, the bass note “modalizes” the sound of the scale material. Think of it this way: Scales are simply abstract material – symbols on the music staff. I like to say that you never really hear a scale. You only hear the modal sound when the bass note creates that particular modal flavor with the melodic notes. This is all said so that you come to understand the modal system. If you remember only one thing it should be this: The bass note modalizes the scale, and this particular flavor is the modal sound – the mode.