Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.
His latest CD is entitled "Electric City", which features 11 instrumental tracks and 3 vocal numbers.
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Click here for a printer-friendly version of "Modal Interchange".
Hello everyone and happy holidays! It's great to be back! In this lesson we are going to
talk about modal interchange (Satch might call this pitch axis - they are both
related). You will learn what these powerful compositional tools are, and I will also give
you some examples. I use these techniques in my writing. Joe Satriani uses a lot
of pitch axis in his music too. Speaking of Satch, I recently had the opportunity to
talk to him, he was really cool. OK, let's get started.
What Is Modal Interchange?
Modal Interchange is major and minor keys that share the same tonic, and it's also known as Parallel Major and
Minor. For example, let's compare the chords in the C major scale and the C minor
C Major: C Dm Em F G Am Bdim
C Minor: Cm Ddim Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb
How Can I Use This?
You can mix major and minor keys in the same progression. For example the progression C Eb / Dm / Ab
Bb / C. The main key is C major, i just borrowed the chords Eb, Ab and Bb from
the C minor scale.This works in any key, Emaj-Emin, Amaj-Amin, etc. This will give
you more chords to choose from, so feel free to experiment with other progressions.
Pitch axis is basically the same concept as modal interchange. For example, over an E pedal tone, or bass
note, you can mix E Lydian (E, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#) E Ionian, (E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#) E
Mixolydian (E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D).You will hear Satch do a similar thing in his
music. What i will do a lot of times is play a E drone note and mix all the 7 modes
together. This is a great way to hear the different moods of each scale. Certain modes
do sound better than others. It is like mixing different colors together. Also, the
fewer notes you use in the bass, the more harmonic freedom you will have.
I use this in my music; here are a few examples. On my "Full Circle" CD, there
is a song called "Tinted Windows" where I mix the C Mixolydian mode (C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb) and
the C minor scale (C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb). The progression for the verse is C7 / Ab
Bb / C7. The second verse will stay in the C Dorian scale (C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb) and go
back to C Mixolydian, etc. On my "Total Freedom" CD, the song "Space" there is a E drone and
I switch between E Aeolian, E Lydian, E Ionian, similar to what we talked about
above. Also on my latest CD "Vibe" (the titled track) in the intro I mix the F# Phrygian
(F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E) and the F# Phrygian Dominant scale (F#, G, A#, B, C#, D, E). These are
just a few short examples - experiment with this in your music. I will leave you with a
transcription of the intro to "Vibe".
Click To Enlarge
MP3 - "Vibe"
OK, this wraps up our lesson! Make sure you spend some time with these techniques. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Be sure to check out my CDs on this
amazing site and check out my new CD release, "Vibe". Visit mikecampese.com for more information.
Additional Columns by Mike Campese