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Thread: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

  1. #1

    Post Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Here's a little webapp I've been working on for some time (version 3 now, rebuilt from scratch.)

    If you've ever struggled to understand what modes "look like" and how they are constructed, this is what I made the app for. I haven't seen any other representations similar to mine, at least not in common usage.

    LINK

    Feedback is welcome, but keep in mind I'm neither a professional programmer nor a professional musician - "I know enough to get in trouble but not enough to get out of trouble."

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  3. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Another cool tool

    Thanks!
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  5. #3

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Loboguy- it is a cool tool-good work. Here's my feedback to make it more functional (sorry to give you homework). First I really like that you can hear the notes in the modes. I'm not sure what the white and black bars represent. And, for example, in the key of G you show notes out of key F#/Gb that's confusing because in key there is only F# (Also you have a Typo Fb rather than Eb). If you move to Dorian, B and F# disappear. So in reality the key of G is G A B C D E F# G and A Dorian is A B C D E F# G A. The modes have to stay in key. Also if you can highlight the tonal center of the mode...that would be A Dorian.
    Rob

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  7. #4
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Nice work. I like it.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

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  9. #5

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    I'm not sure what the white and black bars represent.
    It's meant to be a representation of piano keys, one octave rolled up in a circle. The bars aren't really a necessary detail, but I liked the visual - you can hide them by clicking the center of the circle.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    And, for example, in the key of G you show notes out of key F#/Gb that's confusing because in key there is only F# (Also you have a Typo Fb rather than Eb).
    Lol I was actually considering changing the note names in each scale, but it takes a bit of effort to change the letter names based on the key, more effort than I'd like. It gets more complicated once you leave the Diatonic pattern, so I just decided to show all the note names as they are, and the user can ignore the ones that are out of key, it's better for remembering enharmonic notes. After all, F# and Gb are the same note. Fb is correct, if you think about it. F is E#, and E is Fb. Same as C is B# and B is Cb. Useful in higher music theory, and all that, lets not get into double-sharps and double-flats :sigh:

    You did give me an idea for another function to add though, by locking it to use only the one set of notes at a time. I'll try to add that in the next week or so. If you can afford to drop in a donation I'll work double-time xD

    What I'm eventually hoping to do is show a small image of the sheet notation with each scale, with accidentals and all - but that will take time because I have to make all the notation images manually, and hard-code them in the app. 12 keys * 5 base patterns * 7 modes per pattern means over 400 images (and that's not counting the "other scale" patterns hahaha). That'll take time so it's what I'm working on at the moment.

  10. #6
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    I'm not sure what the white and black bars represent.
    Using the white and black piano keys to differentiate the natural notes from "accidentals" was one of the details I found to be interesting when I first looked at it. It's a cool idea and a nice visual IMO.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    I like the white and black keys - took me a bit to figure out what they were, but cool!
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  14. #8
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Great concept, great execution. Thanks1
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  16. #9
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes


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  18. #10

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Fun to play around with, well done. As well as being able to play a note by clicking on it or numbered key, I think it'd be nice to have a button that plays the scale.

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  20. #11

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Lol looking at a bunch of boring text isn't particularly intuitive or interesting for me, I made my app specifically for the visual aspect of seeing the pattern and understanding intuitively. My app has more than just 7 "diatonic" modes in the key of D, though - it shows the notes for all 12 keys in and 7 modes each in 5 different kinds of scale patterns - diatonic, melodic minor, harmonic minor, harmonic major, and double harmonic scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by ampyjoe View Post
    Fun to play around with, well done. As well as being able to play a note by clicking on it or numbered key, I think it'd be nice to have a button that plays the scale.
    Thanks! I literally just made a big breakthrough of loading the images of scales/tabs in the app dynamically, rather than loading them all (about 600 pictures) at the beginning and bogging down the computer, it should look different now, and load fast.

    Unbelievably, I sat down for about 2 hours straight and just got an auto-scale player to work! But I haven't made it an obvious button hahaha. Figure it out xD
    Last edited by ohnoitsalobo; Jul-16-2020 at 2:10pm.

  21. #12
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by Loboguy View Post
    Lol looking at a bunch of boring text isn't particularly intuitive or interesting for me, I made my app specifically for the visual aspect of seeing the pattern and understanding intuitively. My app has more than just 7 "diatonic" modes in the key of D, though - it shows the notes for all 12 keys in and 7 modes each in 5 different kinds of scale patterns - diatonic, melodic minor, harmonic minor, harmonic major, and double harmonic scale.
    Ouch! Okay, I enjoyed your app (as I posted above) but no reason for a cheap shot at Niles re: his very brief article from years ago. He has done a service there by presenting a lot of information in a nutshell. If a person understands what the modes mean, what the modes are, with a single key example, he or she can extrapolate that information to other keys. And if you can understand how to alter major or minor scales to find a mode, that information is incredibly useful on the fly while playing. I use a similar approach to teaching minor scales here: http://www.markgunter.net/cool_stuff...ale-lesson-six i.e. weaving between theory, and practice ... finding the natural minor by its relative major, then showing how to alter the parallel major, etc., etc.

    Cool apps are cool, but you can't refer to them while you are playing. Any teaching source that helps you in your musicianship or your music studies is a good teaching source.

    Thanks for providing your tool.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  23. #13

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    no reason for a cheap shot at Niles
    lol I get what you're saying, but it wasn't aimed at Mr Niles, it was aimed at the textual format itself.

    Modes tend to be an advanced topic - as well as Mr Niles' page is written it is not an easy topic to easily grasp from a bunch of text, especially since a person starting out might make mistakes counting.
    In any case, people have been learning modes like that for years, right? So I'm not putting anybody down - I just said I couldn't do it myself. It says it right in the name, my app is a "cheat sheet". So the app was made specifically to dumb it down to pure visuals and bring it to the masses, which Mr Niles' page can't do (with all due respect to him).

    That being said, I'm happy to say I've added more under-the-hood improvements including the auto-scale-player and a bunch of helpful pop-up descriptions :-)

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  25. #14
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    I didn't realize it is was so "complex" to think of Dorian as a minor scale with one altered note (a major 6th instead of a minor 6th)!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That Cafe Lesson must be really old... early 90's (?) before everyone had to re-register on the Cafe in 2002. Workshop handouts after 2000, also included the sol-feg syllables so one could sing the scales/modes while playing them on the instrument. And one would wobble back and forth - natural minor ascending/descending, then dorian ascending/descending a dozen times or more, in order to ingrain the pitch differences and the sol-feg "lyrics" into your mind FOREVER. Repeat with natural minor & Phrygian, etc.

    Natural minor: do re me fa so le te do
    Dorian: do re me fa so la te do

    Soooooo difficult.

    Loboguy
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    That pretty much sums it up.

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    PS: That's "MISTER NILES"

  26. #15
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Does no one use tetrachords to remember modes these days? I found that thinking in tetrachord shapes greatly simplified the process.

    Tetrachord patterns
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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  28. #16
    Registered User MB-Octo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    PS: That's "MISTER NILES"

    Mister Niles, I still have a copy of your "Pocket Guide to Mandolin Chords". It's lasted longer than all of the cell phones I've owned in the past 20 years! Thank you for that and the mountain of other information you've provided! Apps are great, but books don't need charging.

    Loboguy - It's just boring text, but you should take a look here http://www.mandolin.myzen.co.uk/hokkanen.html
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  29. #17

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Soooooo difficult.
    mandocrucian, there's no need to be condescending. My post was a self-burn, I think you missed that. Talk about cheap shots ... read what I wrote. I said "people have been learning modes like this for years - and I couldn't, so I built this app". I'd say that's a pretty obvious self-burn. Where did I insult you, or anyone else?

    What's easy for you may not be easy for everyone else, and not everybody gets the same training in the same way. I started mandolin very late in life, I learned about modes very late in life, and I did not learn solfege. You're basically making fun of me because I don't know what you know, or couldn't learn the way you did? We don't all have the privilege to live in the Western hemisphere.

    As I also said, with all due respect, the text format is exactly that - text. It's not visual. End of story. I don't see what's wrong in stating that fact, and you being condescending is not going to change that. If your article is "Modes Made Easy", my cheat-sheet is "Modes Made Easier" - and that's a fact I'd be really impressed to see you disprove, considering mine shows notation and tabs in all keys, and plays all of them for the beginner to hear. I had to sit down and make ~600 images manually and link them to show up correctly in the app, it wasn't a walk in the park. And I'm still adding more text descriptions.

    Being older, or better at something than someone else, does not ever legitimize being condescending to anyone.
    Making fun of my post count? Really? How is that even relevant?

    Quote Originally Posted by MB-Octo View Post
    Loboguy - It's just boring text, but you should take a look here http://www.mandolin.myzen.co.uk/hokkanen.html
    I don't give a damn about his credentials if he's going to be condescending, not everyone has the privilege to get the same training. I'm struggling to even pick up my mandolin for the past two months so the cheat-sheet has been my sole way of keeping something musical going. Must be nice to have the privilege of long years of musical training? I didn't have that, so my app is all I've got so far.
    Hell, in my part of the world it's incredibly hard to even find good mandolin strings, jeez.
    Last edited by ohnoitsalobo; Jul-18-2020 at 11:42pm.

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  31. #18

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Goodson View Post
    Does no one use tetrachords to remember modes these days? I found that thinking in tetrachord shapes greatly simplified the process.

    Tetrachord patterns
    I'd never even heard of tetrachords. That was extremely interesting, thank you.
    A bit late for me to learn, but it'll be cool to link to in my app.
    Last edited by ohnoitsalobo; Jul-18-2020 at 10:35pm.

  32. #19

    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    I think the web-app is pretty much finished! Or I hope it is, anyway ... I've spent altogether too much time on it the past week or so in fine-tuning, and writing up the text descriptions.

    Here's the LINK again so you don't have to go hunting for it. Works best on computer.

    Basically, click on as many things as you can, and text descriptions should pop up.
    I have a strong feeling it's a bit wordy and intimidating, and I wanted to keep the app understandable, so definitely let me know if you think I've overdone it.

    Gonna take a break from the app for real this time, lol

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  34. #20
    🎼 Play Pretty 🎶 Greg Connor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theory: "cheat sheet" for Western modes

    That’s pretty neat. I’m a songwriter, focused at the moment, on writing in modes other than Ionian. I just finished Sacred Place (sailing Lake Superior) in Dorian Mode.

    For me there is still a lot of mystery.
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