Art • Music • Education
232 | Morphing Music with Modes - Pachelbel’s Canon
Playing with modes to make new music
August 28, 2023
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When you write music, modes give you a range of emotional options to choose from. The major modes (Lydian, Ionian, and Mixolydian) are relatively bright … while the minor modes (Dorian, Aeolian, and Phrygian) are sonically more dark. And based on the mode you pick, you can create the kind of vibe you want, as I explain in this video:

And what’s really cool is that even once you’ve composed a chord progression, you can morph it using modes. Reshaping the overall sound of a song by shifting from one mode to the next. And the result can be amazing — like morphing a Norman Rockwell painting into a Picasso, or vice versa -- to produce entirely new art.

To see what I mean, take the key of B major (a.k.a. B Ionian), which includes seven basic chords.

On a guitar, these chords are played like this:


And using just these seven chords (or even only a subset of this group), you can come up with all sorts of songs.

But using modes, you expand your palette as a songwriter, accessing even more patterns from which to build chords — and by extension, chord progressions.

Each mode is simply a permutation of the major scale — like these in the key of B. In other words, it’s all the same notes. Only each respective mode begins and ends on a different note.

And just as there are 7 chords in the Ionian mode, these same 7 chords appear in all modes derived from the underlying pattern. For example, C# Dorian includes the same chords as B Ionian … as does D# Phrygian … E Lydian … etc....

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February 11, 2024
269 | Lesson 19 - Quick Update

Hey there. I worked on Lesson 19 (Circle of Fifths) all day yesterday. Here's a short update that we filmed last night. Enjoy!

264 | Lesson 18 Update
November 26, 2023
On the Topic of Holiday Discounts

Hello! 'Tis the season for this message:


can someone direct me to the best video/post to explain the shapes and colors? i can't find anything that explains it directly.

282 | Do You Really NEED Music Theory?

In music, there is serious debate (and confusion) about music theory. The question is -- do you really NEED to learn it or not? Well, the answer may surprise you....

Join the live stream -- Monday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain:

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hi all, where do i go to get started on learning the colour music

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287 | Guitar Strum Patterns

To play the guitar, you must know chords. That is, how to press the strings to form harmonies. But of equal importance how you strum the instrument with your other hand. In this video, we explore art of strum patterns to make great music.

Join the live stream -- Monday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain:

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Open Hour Q&A - Saturday, May 25

Hey -- I'm answering your questions and hanging out via live stream Saturday, May 25 at 9:00 a.m. Mountain. (Ask any questions Live or post them on Locals in advance.) This Open Hour is for supporters. THANK YOU!

Here's the link to join:

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286 | Key Change using the Circle of Fifths

How do you change keys during a song? Is there a smooth way to make this shift? Here, we look at a classic song by George Harrison to see how the chord progression effortlessly moves between keys. And it's easy to see using the circle of fifths....

Join the live stream -- Monday, May 20 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain:

To dive into the details yourself, here are the diagrams we explored in the video:

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