Happy New Year, folks! Ready to get back to work on this stuff? Since we ended up the year talking about modes, let's pick up again there. Awhile back, i was having a discussion about the modes with a bass player friend, and he mentioned that he never really understood them because he always heard them in the parent key. i explained that the issue was this: there are at least two distinct ways of thinking about and utilising modes. The first is what we have been doing here so far: We have been discussing the modes as they apply diatonically to a specific key, and in that system all of the modes will refer back to that same 'Ionian' tonal centre. However, i believe that in order to experience its true 'flavour', you really need to hear each mode as it relates to a common pedal tone or tonal centre. This is a different approach, and the one i consider truly 'modal', as opposed to diatonic. It is the approach that Joe Satriani talks about below: In order to really experience the 'modal' aspect, one needs to listen to each mode starting from the SAME pitch, and using that pitch as a pedal tone or drone... so play a C Ionian, then a C Dorian pattern, then a C Phrygian, etc. etc. Then try playing the 'minor' sounding modes (Aeolian, Dorian, and Phrygian) over a C minor chord, and the 'Major' sounding ones (Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian) over a C Major. Now we're not really playing diatonically at all, since each of those modes would actually refer back to a different diatonic tonal centre: C Dorian back to Bb Major, C Phrygian to Ab Major, and so on and so forth. Instead, in this context, each of the modes becomes an independent thing. i would consider playing F Lydian over an F Major used as the I chord as 'modal', and playing it over the IV chord in the key of C as 'diatonic'. It's all about our reference points in the end. And for the sake of reference (and reverence), here is that modal masterpiece from Miles Davis et al, 'Kind Of Blue': Enjoy!