Frank Gambale - Modes No More Mystery I remastered I #frankgambale
Frank plays the chord progression E, D, A, but says it's NOT in the key of E, even though he does acknowledge that the emphasis in the progression is on E, and E is the "home base" as he calls it. Instead of saying that it's in the key of E, he says it's "the E mode of the A major scale".
He says, "No matter what key you're in, the fifth mode will always be Mixolydian".
I know this is all probably just a matter of semantics, but that statement is just not true. The fifth mode is only Mixolydian when the key is the natural major scale, which is the Ionian mode. Do Ra Mi Fa So La Ti Do.
I think it's confusing to say "the E mode of the A major scale". If you play the progression E, D, A, with the emphasis on the "E", like he did and explained, then it makes much more sense to say it's in the key of "E". But I would say it's "E" Mixolydian, so whoever I'm talking to knows it's a major key with a flat 7. Granted, when written, the key signature would be identical to "A" major (Ionian) with 3 sharps.
My reasoning follows the definition of a key below.
A "key" of a song/progressoin is the note the music centered around. In the example above, the key is "E".
The dominant note in a progression, scale, riff, etc. is the note that fives the key it's name. The root, tonic, home key, etc. is that note that the music is centered around. The scale, riff, etc. feels at rest when you are on that note, or the chord based on that note. There is resolution in that note/chord.
A key signature is a different matter. That refers to how the key is written in standard notation. If a song like The Beatles "Let It Be" is written, it would have no sharps or flats. That in itself does not tell us what is the root note, tonic, key of the song. The song itself does that. The key signature will tell you what notes are in the song. When they key signature has no sharps or flats, then you know whenever you see any notes on the staff, they are the natural notes, A, B, C, etc. ... with no sharps or flats.
If you were to write out the song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" the key signature would be the same. It would have no sharps or flats. But these two songs are not in the same key. "Let It Be" is in C major, and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is in A minor.
"Let It Be" does throw in a flat 7 here and there, and WMGGW changes keys in the bridge, but that's for another discussion.
To be clear, Frank Gambale knows WAY more music theory than I do, but his video is about teaching and understanding the modes, and I just think that his explanation of the "key" of song, and how it relates to modes makes it harder to understand how they work. At least in that particular statement. The rest of the video, and the video in general is great and very informative.
I think of "moods" when I think of "modes". They each have a different mood.