Re: Gary Burtons Improv Course!!!
OK, maybe this is where my misunderstandling lies. Doesn't D Dorian essentially imply Dm7, so the goal would be to have D, F, A anc C some to mind instantly as important notes when thinking "D Dorian"?
The word "Dorian" to me does not imply any one chord, it implies WHWWWHW (W = whole tone, H = half or semi tone)
But then you might as well say learning chords is only helpful if your definition of improvisation is to play apreggios based on the root. No?.
Not at all.
Let me put this another way.
You have Dm7 G7 C (maj 7)
You see this as a chord progession which is a 251 cadence. You realise that it is in the key of C major.
So you know that a C major scale will "fit" over the whole thing.
You also know that ideally (when you are experienced enough) you will also know the individual chord tones and what their melodic tendencies are (voice leading, e.g the C of DFAC leads nicely to the B of GBDF)
You learn that minor 7s imply a dorian mode, dominant 7s imply a mixolydian mode and maj 7s imply an ionian mode. (None of which is really true in the bigger picture, but let's ignore that)
Over the Dm7 you first work out what a dorian mode is, you then choose some notes of that mode to play
Over the G7 you first work out what a mixolydian mode is, you then choose some notes of that mode to play
Over the C maj7 you first work out what a ionian mode is, you then choose some notes of that mode to play. Ecept you don't really need to, you think major scale. That's why in another post I said forget about Ionian.
Now, you still know that ideally ideally (when you are experienced enough) you will also know the individual chord tones and what their melodic tendencies are (voice leading, e.g the C of DFAC leads nicely to the B of GBDF).
And thinking in modes does not help one iota in that process.
Which is best?
I prefer method 1 because it is simpler and quicker. When you are improvising, as you know, those chord changes are flashing past like telegraph poles on a (non UK) train journey. I just don't have time to be thinking about modes, if I did I would not have time to then make up nice melodic lines, I would probably end up just playing the scale from the root.
And what if the 2 5 1 is Dm7b5 G7 Cmin. Do I really want to delve into the concept of the locrian mode? No I don't thank you very much.
Plus, with method 1 you are forced to look at the entire harmonic progression in context, with method 2 you treat each chord on its own, without the context of the key centre. That is like reading each word on its own instead of glancing at a sentence and understanding it.
Another difference between thinking of modes when improvising over changes is that pin proper modal music a D Dorian is in the key of D dorian. It is not a C scale starting on D just as in tonal major music a C major scale is not a D dorian starting on C. This just leads to confusion IMO.
It's true, you can think of a tune in A minor as if it's in C major, but with the tonic note being the 6th. But isn't it better to learn it as a minor in its own right?
Same with modes.
Take the A section of Tequila in G. It's a mixolydian mode. It is good to think of it in G with a flattened 7th. I is less useful to think of it as being in C, but with a G root. (edited)
So I like to kep modality for modal music, and not get it involved in tonal chord progressions, especially because it clutters up the mental process.
I do believe there is a place for using scales/modes in ore advanced chromatic impro for the sole purpose of instantly adding colourful chromatic notes, but this is quite an advanced concept such as playing G phrygian on a G7 or C Lydian on C major, or using altered or diminished scales to provide b9, #9 etc.
But as I said, that is not something for beginners.