Demystifying Modes Lesson PDF


Demystifying Modes (Part 1) using Key Signatures is my lesson for teaching modes which eliminates much of the unnecessary confusion about modes.

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Here is my complete lesson on Demystifying Modes by using Key Signatures. This lesson corresponds to my YouTube episode of the same title. My downloadable PDF contains the lesson plan, several charts, exhibits, transcriptions and scores (26 pages).  With this lesson you will learn how to create, recognize, hear and apply modes to your writing and playing.  I discuss the modes in relationship to each other using key signatures, tetrachords, interval sequences and inversions.  I teach the 7 modes of the major scale by starting each mode on the same note (C).  This will allow you to see and hear them in parallel (e.g. C-Ionian, C-Dorian, C-Phrygian, C-Lydian, C-Mixolydian, C-Aeolian and C-Locrian). Benefits of this lesson include: ability to see and hear how modes work; understand how to derive modes; improved ear training; improve key signature knowledge; provide harmonic and melodic tools to transform your playing, writing, and arranging.

The most important way to understand modes is to apply the modes to a familiar song. To that extent, I provide a transcription of the tune “Silent Night” for each of the 7 modes. In this method you can hear how the modes affect both the chords and melody of a song changing the moods from major to minor to diminished (brightest to darkest).

Finally, I provide my complete orchestral score to an E Mixolydian piece that I wrote for brass entitled Lonely Hearts Band which I recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with some of the greatest symphonic players in the world.  You can hear that piece at the end of my YouTube episode as well on my album called Silent Nights.  Silent Nights is an album where I composed 10 different settings of the song Silent Night using modes, negative harmony and several other compositional techniques to honor the 200th anniversary of the writing of this song.  You can purchase the album on my website as well.

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