I need some solid understanding on modal chord progressions. I would be glad if you can explain and give examples this especially from a rock or blues music perspective
A modal chord progression would just be a chord progression in whatever mode you are in.
The following explains chords in each mode where an upper case Roman numeral is a major chord, a lower case Roman numeral is a minor chord, and a lower case Roman numeral followed by a 'o' is a diminished chord. A 7 next to a chord just means it has a dominat 7th(used in the example below).
Major(Ionian): I ii iii IV V7 vi viio Dorian: i ii III IV7 v vio VII Phrygian i II III7 iv vo VI vii Lydian: I II7 iii ivo V vi vii Mixolydian: I7 ii iiio IV v vi VII Minor(Aeolian): i iio III iv v VI VII7 Locrian: io II iii iv V VI7 vii
As you can see no two have the same exact chords. No matter what mode you are in, you are going to usually see some type of "I", "IV", and "V" chord (note doesn't have to be major).
A good example is Aeroplane by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The progression boils down to a Gm(7) to a C7. Looking at these two chords there is not a Gm7 in the key of C major and there is also not a C7 in the key of G minor. Because of this we can look at the progression in two ways: A i(7) to IV7 in G Dorian or a v(7) to I7 in C Mixolydian. Either way the progression is not native to either major or minor so it can be viewed as a modal progression.
Here is more info on the difference in intervals of modes. Hope this helps.
Note that in rock/pop music, not all the modes are used equally. The modes that are used most often are:
- ionian (major)
- aeolian (natural minor)
So if you are just starting with modes, I would recommend you concentrate on these ones first. Generalizing to the other modes will be easy once you've understood the basics. Let me now give you the chords for each mode (root A, just as an example; and I only use triads, no seventh-chords):
- ionian (major): A Bm C#m D E F#m (G#dim)
- aeolian (natural minor): Am (Bdim) C Dm Em F G
- dorian: Am Bm C D Em (F#dim) G
- mixolydian: A Bm (C#dim) D Em F#m G
The diminished chords are given in parentheses because they are hardly used in conventional rock or pop music.
Finally, here are some example progressions (used in literally thousands of songs, of course in different keys):
ionian (major): ||: A | E | F#m | D :||
aeolian (natural minor): ||: Am | F | C | G :||
dorian: ||: Am | G | D | C :||
mixolydian: ||: A | G | D | D :||
Note that A ionian (major) has the same scale tones and, consequently, the same chords as B dorian, as E mixolydian, and as F# aeolian (natural minor). If this is new for you then check this.
I will post this as an answer, but really it is just a rather long comment, plus a small extension of the question.
It annoys me that when people start talking about modes, they ALWAYS dive into the intervals of a specific mode and don't reference it to the diatonic scales you already know. You hear "G mixolydian is like G major but with a flattened seventh" And it sounds like you have to learn a new scale, but actually it's just the natural notes running from G-G instead of C-C.
Of course you can then transpose, so A mixolydian will have the same notes as D major for example.
I have copied the following from the wikipedia article referenced in the other answers, because I think it explains the basics very well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_%28music%29#Analysis
Mode Tonic relative to major scale Interval sequence Example Ionian I T-T-s-T-T-T-s C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C Dorian II T-s-T-T-T-s-T D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D Phrygian III s-T-T-T-s-T-T E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E Lydian IV T-T-T-s-T-T-s F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F Mixolydian V T-T-s-T-T-s-T G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G Aeolian VI T-s-T-T-s-T-T A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A Locrian VII s-T-T-s-T-T-T B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B
So, basically all these scales have the same notes and therefore the same chords, right?
C major: I=C, ii=Dm ii=Em IV=F V=G vi=Am viio=Bdim G mixolydian: I=G, ii=Am iiio=Bdim IV=C v=Dm vi=Em VII =F etc.
Now, I know that, as @Dom points out, the G can often be a G7 (the only dominant 7th you can form with the natural notes.)
And I know that in the more minor-ish sounding ones, such as the Phrygian, it's common to substitute the Em for an Emaj (and slightly less common to substiute the Dm and Am for majors.)
But apart from that, are there really any differences between the modes, other than the relative amount of time spent on each chord?
A progression that defines rock music in a way that is derived from blues music, and you'll see that often, is using the bIII chord in a major key, along with the IV and V (or V7) chord. E.g. E and G. G here fits within de E minor pentatonic scale. It's quite common to see E going to G, and then to A, making a I, bIII, IV progression. You can hear it in Sweet child o'mine by Guns and Roses. Borrowing chords from the minor key into a major key is a quite common thing to see and also really fun to experiment with. It creates very nice and interesting sonorities! Seeing scales as derived from triads(chords) opposed to seeing triads derived from a scale really helps analysing music theory in my opinion.