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Please use headphones or good speakers for this. It won't "work" if you're listening on your phone (you need bass!) This video demonstrates all 7 relative modes of the major scale, and how simply changing the tonal center can create modal harmony. Combine this perspective with this video https://youtu.be/bwaeBUYcO5o and you'll have two different but effective ways to think about modes. 

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Tanscription

Please note this is a computer generated transcription and has not been reviewed for accuracy.

This is a random selection of notes from the C major scale and it will remain unchanged throughout this entire short video. Now if you were asked what key is this in you might understandably say C major but the notes of C major are the same as the notes of a minor so why isn't this in the key of a minor in. Actuality that question is not that fair to begin with we're really not given the whole picture here. It's almost as if I asked you whether this is a lowercase L or a capital I.  It could be either/or given the context and here we have no context.  For this random sequence of notes there is no tonal center that is to say a note that everything revolves around.  

Now you still might be getting a major impression off of this it might feel bright and happy to you, but we could change that very quickly just by introducing the tonal center that isn't C.  For example, we could make this sound and feel like minor and to do that all we need to do is to shift the tonal center to A by adding in lots and lots of A.   I'll bring in A on the bass and I'll also build A triad off of a using the notes of C major.  That will give me an a minor chord so by surrounding this sequence with lots of A it should be enough for our brains to think of A as the tonal Center, the home note of this sequence,  and then this sequence will feel and sound like minor ready and that's a pretty dramatic sound. Especially if you were feeling and hearing the sequences major before.

So if we were asked the question what key is that section in, the answer would unequivocally be a minor.

But once again now without a tonal Center we are left again hearing something ambiguous or vaguely major.  By shifting our tonal center to the sixth note we were able to make this minor but we could also make any of these notes our new tonal Center.  The fourth for example is F so if I built a triad off of F I get F major and surrounding the sequence with F on the base and an F major chord will give me a slid Ian since I'm using the notes of C. But treating the fourth tone as my root this should radically change the way we are hearing the same sequence engaging Lydian now so that sounds glorious and our original sequence now feels completely transformed from being ambiguous to having that classic weird and inspiring Lydian tonality.  

You can hear that the notes of the scale don't mean a lot all on their own without a tonal center and just by changing that tonal center we can access all the colors of the modes so since we're already here let's listen to the same transformative effect with the remaining modes. The second mode is Dorian so by playing the notes of C and using the second note D as the tonal center we should get a Dorian sound which I think of as minor but less dark and more adventurous.  Once again, I'll build a triad off of our new tonal Center which will give me a D minor chord, and this will also be played in the background. The third mode is Phrygian so by staying in C but treating the third tone E as our tonal center we should achieve a Phrygian sound which, in my opinion, is a very dark and exotic feeling.  

The fifth mode is mixolydian so our new tonal center will be G mixolydian to me feels bright like major but less happy and more energetic and cool and now Locrian the seventh mode of major our tonal Center is now B and building a triad off of that tone using the notes of C will give me a B diminished triad.  Our focus will be a B and will be surrounded by a diminished chord Locrian in my opinion is very unstable and difficult to write anything melodic with, but it can't have a great sinister and unsettling effect.

This whole time we were supposed to be in just regular c-major so lastly let's listen to that by putting a C in the bass and a C major triad behind it. If we are only thinking of keys by just counting up the notes in them we're kind of missing out on the possibilities of modal harmony has demonstrated here a simple melody can be transformed in a whole new way simply by changing the tonal Center. Understanding the tonal center is also an important concept to writing modal music and if you were ever just wondering what's the difference between C major and a minor.  Hopefully this video clears things up for you.





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