Using Modal Mixture for Dreamy and Epic Melodies/Leads

Practice to the Jam Track Video here: https://youtu.be/lsabEEamY78  Modal Mixture is the use of multiple scales that share a common tonal center. Traditionally, we only use modes of the Major Scale but in the jam track video that accompanies this, I include other non-modal options as well. Even if some of this stuff is too advanced for you, I encourage you to turn on the track and play along with the notes on the screen- even simple melodies and movements can sound very pleasing over this chord progression. 


 Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors.  However, I do hope you find it helpful.   

Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

If you already have some knowledge of scales and modes and you've already experimented with playing and writing with those scales in. It's you may have become curious about how to switch and change things up and do more than one scale and mode at the same time. So in this video, what I want to do is explore the idea of modal mixture, there's lots of ways to change keys and scales. But modal mixture is one of my favorite. I love the sound effect that it has I love the way it makes me feel when I hear it and it's really good practice as a musician because it makes you switch between scales on the Fly and it really helps you see the relationships between different modes and the chords in those modes. So I think this will be a really fun lesson and if you're not familiar with The concept it should be some pretty advanced stuff. That should get you thinking and writing things out and more importantly getting new sounds that you might not have been able to access otherwise, so let's get started and talk about what is modal mixture modal mixture is when we start shifting between scales that have the exact same route or the same tonal Center.

So if I was using the notes of the a minor scale and then all of a sudden I start using the notes of the a major scale we can think of that as modal mixture.

Let's take a listen to what that actually sounds like though because saying it is one thing but hearing it is something totally different. Here's what I'll do, I'll play a little bit of the notes of a major and I'll try to develop an a major tonality just by playing the chord tones of the a major chord and the a major scale.

So hopefully hear you're hearing a little bit of a major and that'll make it pretty dramatic when I switch to the notes of a minor.

All right, so they've got this little Melancholy sound and now back to the notes of major really highlighting the notes of major and then all of a sudden bringing in the notes of minor.

And then back to the notes of right. So hopefully you can hear there's kind of like this otherworldly pulling effect. We're in major were in minor and there's a pretty distinct change their it's not like a really pronounced. I think it's kind of subtle but it's very unique and I don't think I hear that anywhere else except for in mixolydian Flat 6, and we'll talk a little bit about that at the end. Now we could do this with any two scales that started on a I could have gone to a phrygian and then gone to a lydian and you can guess there's going to have their own sound. And effects for each one of those it's going to have its own emotional context in my experience the most common form of modal mixture is major and minor and that's what we're going to focus most on in this video, but I want you to experiment and even with this Jam track, there's lots of options. It's not like you have to just stick to using major and minor. So please I really encourage you to try out the different options and hear how they sound and if you do like something or don't like something try to figure out why it's good work to go in there and see if there's you can find out if something's clashing or try to figure out why something isn't sounding the way you want it to now, let's talk a little bit how the chords fit into modal mixture and usually when we talk about modal mixture and chords you hear the word modal interchange or borrowed chords, but the Jam track I'm practicing over here is just two chords. It's an E major and an A Minor. So here's how I'm going to parse this track the entire track. She is home base e is the tonal Center everything always wants to come back to E major.

So we want to be thinking of everything in the context of the E something when I see this first chord pop up, I think okay, what kind of scales could E major? Be the tonic of it could be the tonic of the major. It could be the tonic of e lydian and it could be the tonic of e mixolydian all those scales and modes. They all have a major one chord.

Okay, so I could play those scales over E. Major. What about my a minor chord? What are the different easy scales that have an A Minor as my four chord?

Well, I've got e-minor as an A Minor in it. He phrygian has an A Minor at it. Andy locrian has an A Minor in it. So those would all be choices for me to play over that a minor chord. ORD now I'll tell you right now not all those choices are going to sound good. The one we're going to go with is going to one sounds best in my opinion and that's just major to minor. But like I said, you should experiment I like using the mixolydian one a lot locrian not so much. But anyways, now that we know we're going to be switching between major and minor over these two chords. Here's how I want you to practice this as a guitar player. If you're not on a guitar, this concept should still apply. I'm in the key of E major. So every time my E major chord pops up, I'm going to play the notes of e major then when that a minor pops up I'm going to take Third note and I'm going to Flat it and I'm going to get the notes of a minor. That's six note. I'm going to Flat it and I'm going to get the 7th note flattered as well.

So this is what I'm playing over the a minor chord and this is what I'm playing over the E major chord.

So to practice along with us track step one is just play up the E major when the E major chord his play up the E minor when the a minor chord hits and it'll be kind of boring right now, but at least you'll start hearing this modal mixture flavor start to develop while you're playing take a listen.

Now if you've got some skills on your instrument, you should be able to embellish just going up and down the scale by may be adding in some slides some slurs anything to make it sound more interesting. But let's keep that same idea of going up and down just phrase it a little bit better.

Now I really like to highlight that change to the listener between these two tonalities and a good way to do that is to kind of come up with a motif or a lick that constantly uses a references one of these notes that will be changing and that way they really prominently here the difference between those two scales. So for example, like that third note has to get flattened when we switch from major to minor. So let's come up with a little scale run or a little pattern that prominently features the third and I'll keep it. Simple right now. We'll just go like 1 2 3 5 3 2 1 something like this. I'm using the first the second the third note of the scale and the fifth and the third will have to Flat when a minor comes around.

Right, and once again, even without the Jam track behind me, that's really nice effect, because your brain has really completed the a major tonality in its head when I do this and now all of a sudden you're shattering it by bringing in that flat 3.

So let's take that same idea and put it in over the Jam track. I'll do it in a few different incarnations different patterns, but you'll hear one common theme is that there's one note that's going to keep popping up and then when the chord changes I'll make sure that that note is a note that gets flatted so you can really hear that the tonality is That the scale has shifted completely what may be my favorite way of accenting. One of these changes is to to bend a note through the notes of the scales as the chords kind of move around it. So here's what I mean by that like in the key of E minor, right? We have an F sharp and a g and then in the key of E major, we have an F sharp and G sharp. So we've got a little bit of chromatic passage here. Basically, what I'm going to do is I'm going to try and bend through those chromatics.

So I'm hitting the second note. I'm bending to the minor third. This is still while I'm in the minor key and then with soon as the major chord comes up, I'll kind of bend it. So it finally gets to Major third and this been just kind of gradually follows that change of our shift from minor to Major. I think it's a really really cool sound. I love the effect. Take a listen.

Now. I mentioned that major to minor sounds the best to be in this instance. I just want to bring up I think mixolydian is a great substitute for major in this context. The reason I don't like phrygian so much is because Annie phrygian were bringing in an F natural and I really don't like the way that F natural sounds in the context of E. I think that's great for a darker sounding Jam, but I don't all would like a sudden like that appearance of f natural in this context. So you might I just personally didn't now I've isolated myself to a very small scale shape here and you don't want to just do that. But I think it's a good place to start because this can be very overwhelming if you're taking entire shapes of scales and trying to run all the way up and down them instead of just focusing on the change of the chord tone, you know, if all I'm doing Running up and down. I'm never going to be able to develop these really cool little Nuance changes between those two chord tonalities and really kind of highlight that change there. So right now we're starting off small, but obviously take whatever skills you have whatever shapes that you have and trying to apply this same concept to those now a quick note. You don't have to use modal mixture just to play over this Jam track. There is a scale that contains all the notes of e major and all the notes of that a minor chord and that scale is E mixolydian flat 6. I have done a video on that scale. I highly recommend that if you like the way that this Jam hsiao sounds because E mixolydian flat 6 is kind of very indicative of this chord change to me and I just love that sound all together and it is another option here. I just want to bring that up even though it doesn't really include modal mixture. It just sounds a lot like modal mixture because that scale is like half major and half minor it gives us the same effect kind of of what we're hearing here between switching between major and Now a quick little note here when you have a cord that pops up and it's not in the key depending on how long I get to work with that chord like at that chords going to stay around for like 16 measures. Then you have a lot of options to develop a All new tonality over that chord, but when a chord pops up for just a small amount of time.

I really like to use modal mixture to accommodate it because it kind of helps reinforce my tonal center. It's not like I'm going into some unrelated key that has nothing to do with my tonic. No, I went from Annie scale to another E scale and I think my brain really likes that it appreciates the fact that we maintain some tonal Center there. But if I have enough time, we know that cords around for 16 measures or something like that. Then you got time to really go nuts and really develop a whole new flavor out of it. So this isn't the The only way to approach a chord and I don't recommend you only think of changing keys this way, but it certainly is a fun way and it's definitely one of my favorite. So I hope you liked this video and I hope you learned something and I hope it gets you practicing and learning the relationships between your scales a little bit better. If you did enjoy this video you can thank my patreon subscribers for making it possible. If you really liked this video, you can join them and check out my patreon page. I've linked to it in the description, but if you can't do that, that's fine. Just like subscribe comment all that stuff helps me out. Thanks for watching.


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