Which Scales and Modes Can I Play?
OK, after you learn all these modes, which scales and modes can I play
over what chords? To determine what scale you wish to play, you must first identify the key
you are playing in. To learn to identify a major key
or one of the various minor keys,
click the appropriate link. Once you know what key
the song is in, use the following chart to identify the scale you can play:
type of key
Note that for any given song, more than one key may be used.
Some possible combinations of different keys are:
two major keys (e.g. G major & D major)
a major and a minor key (e.g. G major and E harmonic minor)
two minor keys (e.g. G harmonic minor & D harmonic minor)
two different minor keys (e.g. G harmonic minor and G melodic minor)
If such a key change occurs, simply change the scale you are using to match the key.
Now, let's move on to some examples. Let's say we have a progression in G major:
We know from the above table that you have to play the G major scale
over this chord progression. This means that you can play any mode of the
G major scale. You do not
play modes of the G major scale, then C major, then A minor, then D major.
If you played those scales, your music wouldn't sound right, because your music
is not in those keys. Therefore, as discussed, for progressions in G major, you can play
modes of the G major scale.
Now we know that we can only play modes of the G major scale when we are in the key of G.
But which modes do we play, and when? Basically, you can play any mode over any chord.
If you had a C chord, you could play any one of the seven modes over it.
Which mode you choose depends on the sound you want.
You can play C lydian over a C chord and get a different sound than you would by playing
a E aeolian. Both modes are in the key of G, but they will sound different over a C chord
because each mode will require you
to use different slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends.
Now, let's use the verse chords to the Eagles' Hotel California
to study key changes. This example is very complex, but the only important
thing is that you follow the logic of what scales go with what keys.