Connect with us

Scales and Modes with Joshua Barnhart – Super Imposition of Modes


Scales and Modes with Joshua Barnhart – Super Imposition of Modes

This month we’re going to touch on two subjects. Super imposition of modes is the topic, and the way I’m going to explain it is by sharing with you the modes of the pentatonic scale…

‘Modes of the pentatonic scale?’ you say, yes!

First lets take a look at the regular pentatonic scale in C Major

Now if we apply the same logic that we used to extract other modes from other scales, then using all the same notes going D to its octave will give us the first mode of the Pentatonic scale.

This pattern is perfect for Sus4 chords or Minor 11chords and even major chords if you start on the 6th degree.

Say we’re playing an F major chord. Playing D, E, G, A, C, D pattern over it will hit all the notes that imply the major sound. And that’s what super imposing modes is and does. It’s a great technique for vamps when you only have 1 chord or maybe only a few chords and you want to imply something a little more than what is actually there.


The next mode is E to E. It’s a great pattern for minor chords if you start it on the 5th of the A minor chord. Highlighting all the chord tones as well as the 4th. One of my personal favorites is G to G, especially if you start it on the 2nd degree of the F major chord. It hits all the chord tones, all the available tensions and yet avoids the root. Very hip.  And A to A we all know as the minor pentatonic scale. Which works a whole step up, a whole step down, up a 4th or up a 5th on any minor chord. Also Up a 2nd, up a 3rd from any parallel major chord.


So the overall concept of this is to learn the patterns as their own idea separate from the parent scale, and them use them where they “don’t belong”. Go back to some of the pervious lessons and see if you can use some other modes in order to imply a different set of hidden chord changes.

More in Latest




To Top