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More About Modes

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GUEST,Don Meixner 26 Nov 09 - 08:17 AM
Phil Cooper 26 Nov 09 - 08:21 AM
The Sandman 26 Nov 09 - 08:48 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Nov 09 - 09:02 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Nov 09 - 09:10 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 Nov 09 - 09:36 AM
The Sandman 26 Nov 09 - 10:09 AM
doc.tom 26 Nov 09 - 10:48 AM
Maryrrf 26 Nov 09 - 11:05 AM
G-Force 26 Nov 09 - 12:43 PM
The Sandman 26 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM
SteveMansfield 26 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM
Jim McLean 26 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 Nov 09 - 01:51 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 03:42 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 04:10 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 04:48 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 05:53 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 Nov 09 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 26 Nov 09 - 05:59 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 06:28 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 06:57 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 07:27 PM
Artful Codger 26 Nov 09 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 26 Nov 09 - 08:05 PM
Leadfingers 26 Nov 09 - 08:22 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 08:32 PM
Tug the Cox 26 Nov 09 - 08:33 PM
Tug the Cox 26 Nov 09 - 08:38 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 08:40 PM
Jack Campin 26 Nov 09 - 08:52 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 08:58 PM
Lox 26 Nov 09 - 09:11 PM
Artful Codger 26 Nov 09 - 11:47 PM
Valmai Goodyear 27 Nov 09 - 04:43 AM
Lox 27 Nov 09 - 05:23 AM
doc.tom 27 Nov 09 - 05:32 AM
Jack Campin 27 Nov 09 - 06:15 AM
TheSnail 27 Nov 09 - 06:17 AM
Jack Campin 27 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM
Tug the Cox 27 Nov 09 - 07:10 AM
Tug the Cox 27 Nov 09 - 07:11 AM
Tug the Cox 27 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM
Artful Codger 27 Nov 09 - 08:39 AM
Lox 27 Nov 09 - 08:40 AM
Lox 27 Nov 09 - 08:43 AM
Jack Campin 27 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM
Stringsinger 27 Nov 09 - 01:34 PM
Stringsinger 27 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM
The Sandman 27 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM
Jack Campin 27 Nov 09 - 02:20 PM
The Sandman 27 Nov 09 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 27 Nov 09 - 05:04 PM
Artful Codger 27 Nov 09 - 11:04 PM
TheSnail 28 Nov 09 - 09:41 AM
Jack Campin 28 Nov 09 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Ed 28 Nov 09 - 03:48 PM
TheSnail 29 Nov 09 - 09:37 AM
Jim McLean 29 Nov 09 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Lox 29 Nov 09 - 01:41 PM
Jack Campin 30 Nov 09 - 07:50 AM
Mark Clark 30 Nov 09 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Lox 30 Nov 09 - 12:54 PM
TheSnail 01 Dec 09 - 07:21 AM
Jack Campin 01 Dec 09 - 08:41 AM
TheSnail 01 Dec 09 - 09:23 AM
Jack Campin 01 Dec 09 - 10:42 AM
TheSnail 01 Dec 09 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: More About Modes
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:17 AM

I am trying to understand modes and their necessity beyond C Major and A Minor. I am learning a lot thanks mainly to Jack Campin's scholarly work.

Can anyone give me an obvious and easily found example of a popular or recognizable tune in each mode? Locrian, are there any??

A lot to ask I am sure but I am on the hunt and I'd appreciate the help.

Don


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:21 AM

Bob Pegg's song "Mr Fox" is in Lydian mode, in a C scale I believe that has your starting note on F. Not sure if you can find a version of the tune on line or not.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:48 AM

locrian,I believe one of Dave Goulders songs is in this mode.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 09:02 AM

Rakes of Kildare and Morrison's Jig are Dorian. The Butterfly is Aeolian. Jolly Beggarman is Mixolydian. Turnip Jig is Lydian, as is (my version of) Gillan's Apples. Maid Behind the Bar is Ionian. Sorry about the Irish emphasis.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 09:10 AM

Who was who said the whole modal thing was a musicological error? He reckoned in most UK folk there was only one mode, with differing accidentals. I'll look it up when I get a moment - it's in Bob Pegg's book Folk (1976).


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 09:36 AM

For some information on Phrygian and Lydian, see this thread (it includes the only song that Cecil Sharp collected in the Lydian mode - see my final post there): folksongs in the lydian and phrygian mode.

Locrian is hard to come by. I don't think it appears in English traditional song at all (though the scale is used by jazz musicians over the half-diminished (=m7b5) chord).

Mick


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 10:09 AM

some flamenco music is in ther phrygian mode.
Lilting Banshee is Dorian,as I think is the English song Bushes and Briars
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojVFPeU0YQU


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: doc.tom
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 10:48 AM

John Kirkpatrick's Dust to Dust is locrian - deliberately so! Where else could you find a diminished chord on the tonic?


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 11:05 AM

Thanks for posting the link to Bushes and Briars, Dick. I enjoyed it very much - I thought it was superbly done.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: G-Force
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 12:43 PM

I don't think the Locrian was ever meant to be a serious mode - it doesn't have a perfect fifth after all. I don't think it was used in church music, and I would be surprised if it was used in f*lk music.

That said, the Beatles' 'Within You Without You' sounds as if it's trying to be Locrian.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM

walrus and the carpenter[d goulder] ,could possibly be in the locrian mode.
thanks Maryff


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM

He reckoned in most UK folk there was only one mode, with differing accidentals.

Isn't that a bit like saying there's only one major key, but with differing starting notes? :)


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jim McLean
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM

Norman Cadzen once wrote "why call it Ionian Heptatonic when we mean major?"


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:51 PM

Although the locrian isn't found in English traditional music, I think it is used in music from other countries; they'd probably think it was a serious mode!

Since doc.tom mentioned John Kirkpatrick's Dust To Dust, here's a transcription of the song which I found on the ITRAD-L list archives. I've respaced the music and set the key to Locrian (although it was given as a locrian tune, the transcriber had still specified the key as C, with the locrian only in a note - seemed a strange way to do it).

Mick



X:1
T:Dust To Dust
C:John Kirkpatrick
Z:Paul de Grae (at least he posted it on ITRAD-L list)
M:3/4
L:1/4
K:B loc
B,2 C|D2 E|F2 D|B2
w:Digg-ing graves is my de-light,
c|B2 A|F2 E|D2 C|D B,2|
w:A-digg-ing graves for you to lie in
B,2 C|D2 E|F2 D|B2
w:Digg-ing graves from morn to night,
c|B2 A|F2 E|D2 C|D B,2|
w:I earns me liv-ing from the dy-ing
B2 c|B2 A|F2 E|D2
w:Digg-ing graves the whole night long,
D|B2 c|d2 c|B2 A|F2
w:And as I dig I sing this song
A|B2 c|BBA|F2 E|D2 z||
w:To a-ny bo-dy who comes a-long.
B,2 C|D2 E|FED|EA2-|A2
w:Dust to dust and ash-es to ash-es_
E| F2 E|D2 C|B,3|]
w:And so my song goes on.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM

"why call it Ionian Heptatonic when we mean major?"

Because "Major" refers specifically to the interval of a major 3rd (two whole tones) that exists between the first and third degrees of the scale.

So all the following modes and scales are Major.

Ionian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Major pentatonic
Harmonic major
Lydian Dominant
Lydian Augmented

There are probably more,

and as you can see, only one of them is Ionan heptatonic.

Incidentally, you wouldn't say "Ionian Heptatonic" as there is only one Ionian and it is heptatonic so there is no need to distinguish it from any other form of Ionian.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 03:42 PM

I have Lydian examples in my tutorial. No Locrian ones - I have seen assertions that it occurs in Turkish and Azeri folk music but I've never come across an actual example. I don't believe there is any traditional Locrian tune from Europe, and it was never used in acnient or mediaeval chant.

Even Kirkpatrick's tune isn't heptatonic Locrian, it has a gap at the sixth. Nice try but no cigar.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 04:10 PM

Locrian isn't realluy even used in Jazz as it is usually substituted for Locrian2 (Locrian with a natural 9)

Knowing what the Locrian is is useful as it forms a jigsaw piece in the landscape of Music theory which helps you to get an idea of the overall picture thus helping you to understand better how western music theory works.

For those who are interested, as the Locrian mode is the 7th Mode of the Major scale, so Locrian2 (Locrian natural9) is the 6th mode of the melodic minor.


Jack,

How would you define the mode in Kirkpatricks tune? would you call it Hexatonic Locrian? or does context require you to see it a different way?

I suppose to be truly Locrian it would have to include the minor 6, but with the minor second and diminished 5th it would sound Locrian.

Curious to know.

And do all the hexatonic modes/scales you are aware of 'omit' the 6, or are there examples of other notes being 'omitted'.

(I have put apostrophes around the word 'omit' to reassure you that I understand that in the case of a hexatonic mode there isn't really any 'omission' - it is just a different mode).


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 04:48 PM

I don't think something so artificial needs a name. The idea of the modal classification scheme I use is that it's motivated by what happens in a large body of real music.

Hexatonic scales can omit any note but the tonic or fifth, though there are interactions between the pattern of gaps and the pattern of sharpenings and flattenings - you don't have a hexatonic scale which is just the major scale with the second omitted. I've got examples for all the possibilities.

One kind of music where the natural/artificial distinction largely breaks down is Indian ragas. They have gone a long way towards enumerating every possible scale pattern, and weirdness is seen not so much as a problem as a challenge. They hit on the idea behind Slonimsky's thesaurus of scales nearly 200 years ago. But in practice, the more popular ragas have a similar logic to Western folk modes.

I see the Locrian mode as the product of a pathological desire for symmetry. Its invention wasn't motivated by anything in real music - instead, people (mainly jazzers) have tried to use it because they were told it was an option (to rather little musical effect). Far from being a useful jigsaw piece, it's a distraction from looking at the real and much more subtly symmetrical patterns you find in modal music. It gives you some new melodic patterns to practice in technical exercises, but then so does any arbitrary pattern you force yourself to adhere to.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 05:53 PM

Jack,

I understand what you mean. However when I thin of the Locrian mode, i don't really think of it it terms of usage at all.

I don't see it as an option nor as an alternative melodic pattern. I see it as describing an area of the territory cobered by a particular key.

When we think of the key of C Major, we tend to think of a scale. For melodic instruments that deal in music linearly, this makes perfect sense.

But when we start to look at music vertically, each key begins to look more like a field rather than a line, so we see the range of harmony options in all their inversions, including modal ways of viewing the same group of notes.

I perceive it as being one furrow in that field, though I do not ever refer to it, though I know exactly where it is in relation to the rest of the key field.

I think that the main reason it is not used is that, unlike the other modes, it has a flat 5, with the result that it is very difficult to establish its tonality with any conviction.

To clarify - if a tune is written in D dorian, a strong D bass will imply a D tonality, from which the 'colour' notes of the dorian will not disract the ear.

In D Locrian mode however, I suspect (without having tried mind) that the absence of a natural 5 would make the D sound unconvincing as a root and the listener would probably feel unsatisfied if it didn't ultimately resolve up a semitone to the tonic of the parent scale.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 05:59 PM

Lox - the Locrian#2 may have replaced the pure Locrian in jazz, but according to Levine that's only been since the 60s. According to him all the early bebop musicians used the pure Locrian.

Jack - I think your view of jazz musicians take-up of the Locrian is overly cynical. What Slonimsk's book (and Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept) did was give people another way of looking at things. (I find Slonimsky's book tedious personally!). The best are able to take that new view and do something good with it; the less able end up doing something to rather little music effect as you say (and you can say the same thing of the simple major scale).

Mick


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 05:59 PM

Thanks all for the info. This is a fun chase but I question the necessity for me to study it beyond the fact that it is a fun puzzle.

Most of my info on The Locrian mode is that it is experimental. As I read this information it seems that the interval of the C Major scale never changes for the seven modes we are concerned with. But where the mode stars starts is the issue.

Ionian          Dorian
C               D
> W             > W
D               E
> W             > 1/2
E               F
> 1/2          > W
F               G
> W             > W
G               A
> W             > W
A               B
> W             > 1/2
B               C
>1/2            > W
C               D

The Dorian mode seems to be a C Major scale only starting and ending with D instead of C, no sharps or flats. A Dminor scale is W 1/2 H H 1/2 H H. So is D Dorian neither fish nor fowl? And other than being an interesting puzzle and some fun study whats the point? What keeps the greek names from being a big so what?

Don


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM

It makes a practical difference if you are playing a diatonic instrument (clarsach, pipes, whistle, moothie) - you need to know this stuff (or have an unverbalized instinct for it) when deciding which tunes to fit on which instrument and how.

There are other reasons, look at my modes pages.

The 19th century seven-mode pseudo-Greek system isn't all that useful for folk music, which is why I've described such an elaborate extension of it. (I didn't invent any of it - it's all ordinary parlance in ethnomusicology). I can see why "what's the point?" would be a typical response. Those names ARE a big so what - they don't even carry as much information as the eight-mode mediaeval system.

I really don't understand the jazz concept of mode enough to take that on as well (the ideas Lox was describing). It's a different system entirely - instead of applying to entire melodies, it's about moments within melodies (chords and scales used to play over them) - the melody doesn't need to have any mode (in my sense) when considered as a whole. Jazz is nearly always played on chromatic instruments and very rarely applies strict diatonic rules to entire melodies, as folk music and modal art music does. It's a pity that the jazz theorists didn't use a completely different word for it. A bit late now - we just have to work at avoiding misunderstandings.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 06:28 PM

Well I don't know about modes being a big so what, least of all the Dorian, but i can say that "So what" was a big Dorian ... well two to be precise, as it's tonal centre moves by a semitone ...

But seriously - to say that a tune is in C minor is not helpful on its own as there are several types of minor sound. C dorian is a very specific sound, so if a tune were in C Dorian it would be extremely important to distinguish it from other types of minor tune.



But besides all that, if you are interested in the type of music I like they become far from being a big so what when you move on from level I to level II of the game and start using the same principles with the modes of the melodic minor (Dorian flat9, Lydian Augmented, Lydian Dominant, Mixolydian flat13, Locrian natural9, and the Altered scale).

Understanding of chord/scle relationships combined with knowldge about these modes opens up a whole different soundworld.

Some love it and some hate it. I suspect Jack would rather stick pins in his eyes that listen for one second to the results, but while he has a deep and fascinating understanding and perspective on modes in music, and should be listened to with respect he is no more an arbiter of taste than you or I.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 06:57 PM

There is *some* jazz that sounds to me like somebody doing velocity exercises on an alto sax, but I'm pretty sure some of the stuff I *do* like (almost all of Miles Davis and most of Mingus and Monk, say) uses those jazz-modal ideas (or can be analyzed that way, I doubt if Monk ever theorized about anything). So "pins in the eyes" is way too strong - I can often respond to what people are expressing with your kind of music. It's just that life's too short for me to get into that intellectual system.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 07:27 PM

Miles Davis's album "Kind of Blue" is indeed the classic foray into "modal Jazz". The title Track "so what" is the perfect example, hence my insider pun in a previous post.

The track is in D dorian, with a B section in Eflat Dorian.

There are ways on plying "outside" in Modal Jazz, but it is interesting to note that Miles himself stays very strictly within the prescribed modes and yet is able to produce a distinct, unique and clear character.

Often Jazz musicians feel compelled to play too much for fear of not being taken seriously when compared to their peers. They will forget that Jazz is first and foremost Music and not an exercise or a competition, which would understandably give rise to the criticisms you offer.

Thelonious Monk was concerned with much deeper theoretical matters altogether and his apparent chaos should not be misinterpreted as random banging. His music is in fact the result of extremely creative and innovative not to menton well informed thinking.

I would expand but it would be to create a diversion even less justifiable than those which have alreday occurred.

I know less about mingus, though I do know that he and eric dolphy were equally innovative in genuinely significant ways that have a deep and informed root in western classical music.

"It's just that life's too short for me to get into that intellectual system."

There are seasoned Jazz academics who would agree with you - and it's even worse once you're on the inside!!


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:05 PM

Dorian is not "C major starting on D"; it is a tonally-rooted D scale with a different set of progressive intervals; it may correspond to a shifted C major scale but decidedly is not major (either in scale or in the third). This is especially apparent if you attempt to harmonize Dorian tunes: the tonic and dominant are naturally minor chords (though sometimes major chords can be used, at chromatic variance with the natural scale). Because the underlying harmonic structure and progressions are different, it deserves study as a distinct entity. The different intervals even mean that the melodic forces are different; for instance, the 7th, being a whole step from the tonic, has less pull toward resolving there.

Ignoring that "modal" historically refers to just temperament, the frequent chromatic variances in harmony are one reason Jack tends to cringe when people talk about "modes" rather than "scales" in much folk music. A perfect example is when people call minor tunes "Aeolian", even though they might use three different scales when performing them: natural minor, melodic minor and harmonic minor (the last of which may refer to separate scale patterns ascending and descending!).

There are also other modes/scales which do not conform to the major scale, such as those found in blues and in gypsy music, where a scale might have both an augmented fourth and a minor seventh. Quite a number of folk tunes have indeterminate modes, either because they fluctuate between modes (say, Dorian and Mixolydian) or because the scales are gapped. And you may find the same tune played Dorian in one region but Aeolian/minor in another--starting with the same tonic note (and therefore with different major key correlates).

Another reason to study modes is so you don't confuse other people when you talk about modal music yourself. I've seen quite a few instructional books where the author calls a tune C Dorian when the tune is actually in D Dorian--and gripes when others "cause confusion" by using the proper name! And way too many people notate modal music as if it were just major or minor with accidentals, rather than using the proper key signatures to convey the true nature of the music.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:05 PM

Hi Jack, Lox, Mick, et al,

I am a guitar and banjo player. Are there chords that don't appear in a tune in D Dorian as I have lined out above but do appear in a typical D Minor key with the standard D minor scale?

My appreciation of Jazz isn't very broad. Dixieland when I can listen with a beer and Dog in my mitts. Throw out Miles Davie and John Coltrane and I have no reference. Wes Montgomery and Bucky Pizarelli
will catch my ear but my musical taste is pretty pedestrian.

When I write a song that is in a specific chord structure it will be by accident if it is Dorian, Ionian, or Praetorian for that matter.

Thanks for all the help and information. I will study it for sure.

Don


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:22 PM

I think my brain is starting to hurt -- A LOT !!


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:32 PM

As it happens the last tune example I've added to my tutorial is "Summertime". It's in A minor/dorian hexatonic, but if I understand what Gershwin's up to in the accompaniment, he mostly treats it as Dorian, and there are frequent Am6 chords to keep that F# in your mind, even though it isn't in the tune. Lox will have a better feel for what his intentions were.

More straightforwardly an A dorian tune would have IV(Dmaj) instead of the iv(Dmin) you'd get in minor, and ii(Bmin) instead of iio(Bdim). A progression like Bmin > Dmaj > Gmaj > Amin might be reasonable in dorian and wouldn't be in minor.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:33 PM

See Rudolph Steiner influenced writers on the modes, and why Phrygian is the most natural, not Ionian, and is the brightest. The rest becoming increasingly more solemn, which is why Dorian tunes in English folk have a melancholy air.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:38 PM

Re Steiner, try this.


Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone by Rudolf Steiner, Alice Wulsin (Editor), Maria St. Goar (Translator), Erika V. Asten .

And Leadfingers, if your head is hurting now....try this

Planetary Scales


According to Ptolemy:
Note        Greek Name        Astronomical Body

e        Hypate meson                Moon
a        Mese                        Venus and/or Mercury
b        Paramese                Sun
d'        Nete synemmenon        Mars
e'        Nete diezeugmenon        Jupiter
a'        Nete Hyperbolaion        Saturn

These are the fixed notes of the Changeless System. The a' etc. is an octave above a, two above A. The notes in conventional transcription to avoid accidentals were A B c d e f g a b c' d' e' f' g' a'

According to Aristides Quintilianus:
A        Proslambanomenos        Moon
B        Hypate hypaton                Mercury
c        Parhypate hypaton        Venus
d        Lichanos hypaton                Sun
e         Hypate meson                Mars
f        Parhypate meson                Jupiter
g        Lichanos meson                Saturn

According to Nicomachus:
e        Hypate meson                Saturn
f        Parhypate meson                Jupiter
g        Lichanos meson                Mars
a        Mese                        Sun
bb        Trite synemmenon        Mercury
c        Paranete synemmenon        Venus
d        Nete synemmenon        Moon

Nicomachus uses the Lesser Perfect System, hence the b-flat. The combination of the Lesser and
Greater Perfect Systems produces the Complete System, Perfect Immutable System, or Unchanging
System. The variation in name is due to the various ways the Greek terms are translated into English.

According to Rudolf Steiner, Elsie Hamilton and Kathleen Schlesinger :

Note         KS/MD        Harmonia        Astro. Body         
F#        16        Hypodorian        Saturn        
C        22        Dorian                Sun
G#        14        Mixolydian        Moon
D        20        Hypolydian        Mars
A#        26        Lydian                Mercury                        
E        18        Hypophrygian        Jupiter                
B        24        Phrygian        Venus
f#        8        Hypodorian        Vulcan                
        
                
The Greek modes had a different order and could be taken as octave segments or species of the Greater Perfect System on the keynotes listed below. In actual practice, they were all referred to the same central
two –octave span of the GPS by retuning the necessary notes.

(A        Proslambanomenos        Hypermixolydian, Hyperphrygian, Locrian?)
B        Hypate hypaton                 Mixolydian (Hyperdorian)
c        Parhypate hypaton        Lydian
d        Lichanos hypaton                Phrygian
e        Hypate meson                Dorian
f        Parhypate meson                Hypolydian
g        Lichanos meson                Hypophrygian, Ionian
a        MESE                        Hypodorian, Aeolian
        

Note that the names of the harmoniai and modes are not the same as those of the Church modes. The harmoniai can be taken in other octave registers, of course. Steiner also claimed there was another scale an
octave above that of Saturn which he attributed to Vulcan. However, the infra-Mercurian planet Vulcan
does not exist and could not have a stable orbit due to the gravitational perturbations of Mercury, Venus
and other planets. Likewise Clarion or the Counter-Earth would be have an unstable orbit and would not only be visible, but would visibly perturb the orbits of Venus and Mercury.

MD stands for Modal Determinant, the keynote of each harmonia. KS presumed that the ancient Greek scales were octave segments of the subhharmonic series, and in the diatonic genus, they could be taken
as segments of one continuous scale analogous to that of the Changeless System and as white-key modes of the Dorian scale. Rather confusingly, they could also be taken on the same keynote.

I'll give the numbers defining the intervals of the Harmoniai in case someone wants to tune up a monochord or synthesizer to the scales and hear them.

Saturn or Hypodorian:         16 15 13 12 11 10 9 8. This means the pitch ratios 1/1 (16/16) 16/15 16/13
4/3 (16/12) 16/11 8/5 (16/10) 16/9, 2/1 (16/8) on F#. 15 and 14 are alternatives in her system, but the hypo modes preferentially have 15.

Jupiter or Hypophrygian:        18 16 15 13 12 11 10 9 or 1/1 9/8 6/5 18/13 3/2 18/11 9/5 2/1 on E

Mars or Hypolydian:        20 18 16 15 13 12 11 10 or 1/1 10/9 5/4, etc. 14 is possible in this scale too.
                        1/1 (20/20) is D

Sun or Dorian :                22 20 18 16 14 13 12 11, etc. on C.

Venus or Phrygian :        24 22 20 18 16 14 13 12, etc on B. (IMO, the most beautiful of KS's modes.)
                        EH prefers 15 in this scale.

Mercury or Lydian:        26 24 22 20 18 16 15 13, etc. on A#. 14 may substitute for 15.

Moon or Mixolydian:        28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14, etc. on G#

The Hypodorian with 14 rather than 15 is called the "Bastard Hypodorian" or "Mixophrygian" by KS.

KS claims that there is no mode 30 26 24 22 20 18 16 15, but in fact, it appears in her system and is found on one of the auloi she uses to support her theories. It sounds a bit like a major scale whose lower half is out of tune (1/1 15/13 5/4 15/11 3/2 5/3 15/8 2/1). One might assign it to Uranus as this planet can sometimes be seen by the naked eye under very good conditions if one has excellent eyesight and knows where to look.

The usual transliteration of Greek music assigns A to Proslambanomenos, a to Mese and a' to Nete hyperbolaion. If one assigns MD 32 to A one gets the following equivalences:

A   B    c    d    e    f    g    a    b    c'    d'    e'    f'   g' a' (15 would be assigned to b-flat, Trite Synemm.)
32 28 26 24 22   20 18 16 14 13   12   11 10   9   8,   or alternatively one can assign c to 22;
F# G# A# B    c    d    e    f#   g# a#   b    c'   d'   e' f#' with the natural g for 15.

If one takes the G as 30&15, then the 15-harmonia appears. As a further complication, KS claimed
that 22 was sometimes 21 and 26 was 27.

Elsie Hamilton composed music under KS's tutelage in this system, and used the series where C is 22. See THE GREEK AULOS, KS's massive tome for details. EH used the following 8 note gamut in her own music:
C       D       E      F#    G       G#    A#    B         c
1/1 11/10 11/9 11/8 22/15 11/7 22/13 11/6    2/1

This is based on KS's piano tuning which adds C# as 22/21 , Eb/D# as 22/19, and 22/17 as F. One might
add 44/27 as A to fill out the 12 note chromatic (in the modern sense) scale. KS used C128 or F176 as
keynotes, though the C128 tuning was canonical and used by EH.

There is yet another complication in that some of the irregular (in terms of later theory) enharmonic scales of Aristides Q appear with chromatic (in the Greek sense) intervals as planetary scales by Pliny and
Censorinus.

All the foregoing imply to me that the relation between scale and planet depends upon the writer and is essentially arbitrary, if fascinating.

                                                        John H. Chalmers
                                                        Revised 01/23/05.
                                                        Rancho Santa Fe, CA


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:40 PM

"my musical taste is pretty pedestrian."

Please retact this statement.

Music is the great equalizer for one reason.

If you like something you like it and if you don't, you don't.

And no amount of expertise or ignorance can make one persons taste inferior or superior to anothers.

I got into Jazz theory because I liked Jazz.

I got into folk because I liked folk.

I like AC/DC because ... I just do.


I can't stand Dizzy Rascal, but that doesn't make a 14 year old from south London wrong for Liking him, or me right for liking something else.

I bet you don't feel pedestrian when your favourite track lifts you beyond the confines of this world and takes you somewhere profound ...

... I didn't think so.


Artful Codger is right on two counts.

1, that the modes are independant entities that do not need to be referred to their parent scales to have validity.

2, D Dorian does not mean the second mode of D major, it means the Dorian mode starting on D.


However, it is useful to know that the Dorian mode is the second mode of the C major scale, as understanding how helps us to find compatible harmony.

In the simplest of terms, if in C major we know that notes 1 - 7 correspond with chords I - VII, then we are able to deduce what chords exist in the dorian mode.

So the chords (triads) of C major are:

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C.

And therefore the chords of D dorian are,

Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C, Dm.

(I have deliberately included the tonic chord twice to give a sense of clear resolution of the sequence to the beginner.

As the Artful codger has pointed out, the tonic chord in D dorian is Dm, while the IV is G and the V is Am.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:52 PM

What are KS and MD? (It is not surprising that something written by Rudolf Steiner was a muddled mess. There are lots of more modern sources that explain that stuff so it makes sense).

Those subharmonic scales are actually *very* familiar to a lot of people in the developed world. They're the pitch set used by most fruit machines for those little fanfares that keep people playing. It was easier to program them back in the 1970s by using frequencies in arithmetic progression, and even though modern sound chips can do far more normal-sounding music if you want, that old pitch set instinctively means "MONEY!!!" to the punters, so they stick with it.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 08:58 PM

Jack,

I may need to go back and have another look, but I understand Summertime to be functional, with the tonic chord alternating between Am/maj6 and Am/maj7.

As you correctly point out, the melody omits the Maj6 and the Maj7, but the final cadence is a very functional one being constructed of a 4 chord turnaround into the tonic using chords I maj7 - IV maj7 in the Key of C (Cmaj7 and Fmaj7) followed by chords II half-dim - V7flat9 - Im/maj6 in the key of A minor (B half-diminished - E7flat9 - Am/maj6).

What makes this particularly sweet is that Fmaj7 and Bhalf-dim are the same chord with a different root - so omit the F in Fmaj7 and put a B n its place whilst keeping all the other notes the same and you get Bhalf-dim.

Te result, a seamless modulation from Cmajor to its relative minor.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 09:11 PM

The spanner in the works for my assessment is that the chord sequence for the A section is Im - IVm, (over the "fish are jumping" bit) and then it goes IIhalf dim - V7flat9 (over "the cotton is high" bit)

So

while the minor II- V - I fits with what I said above, the Im - IVm doesn't as chord IV in melodic minor is a dominant chord.

Sadly this is also the spanner in the works for your assessment as chord IV in the Dorian mode is also a dominant chord.

Probably the best way to justify it would be to say that chord IVm was borrowed temporarily from chord IV of the Aeolian mode (natural minor), before a return to functional harmony in the Minor II - V - I.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 11:47 PM

Don: That you only tend to write music in other modes "by accident" is a sad testimony to the modern stranglehold of the major/minor mentality. We understand music in other modes much more intuitively than intellectually--a modal tune may strike us as somehow different, but not wrong. The folk who came up with modal tunes were not music theorists, they just sang tunes in the "mood" which seemed most appropriate, and their musical palate wasn't limited to major and minor.

In Czech folk music, Lydian tunes are not uncommon. I guess they must be happier people than the Brits. ;-}


Lox: Harmony for the past few centuries has not been restricted to notes within the natural scale, as the dominant sevenths clearly show. While the modal chords tend to agree with their major scale counterparts, as you've indicated, there are significant divergences, most notably with the diminished chord. In Dorian, for instance, you are much more likely to encounter a VIm chord than VIdim. Similarly, the dominant (V) chord, whether major or minor, will probably carry a minor 7th even when the 7th of the modal scale is major.

One doesn't need to refer to the major scale to understand where the chords come from--simply look at the relative intervals in the modal scale--though you're correct that comparing to the relative major scale (the harmonic system we're most familiar with) can help people understand modal harmony. Unfortunately, it also reinforces people's simplistic, mistaken notion that "modal scales and harmonies are major scales/harmonies starting on a different note", causing them to overlook the significant, characteristic differences.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 04:43 AM

From Bonnie Shaljean on 11 June 2006 in the thread entitled A mnemonic for the modes :

"I Don't Peel Leftover Mangoes, Apples or Leeks"

"I Don't Pamper Lovers - Men, Animals or Ladies" (!!)

An easy way to remember what these modes actually sound like is to play on a piano keyboard, using the white keys only, an octave scale:

C to C = Ionian
D to D = Dorian
E to E = Phrygian
F to F = Lydian
G to G = Mixolydian
A to A = Aeolian
B to B = Lochrian

Listening to the scales may help us to recognise them in the wild.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 05:23 AM

Some brief comments:

1,

I can't say I've ever heard a VI chord of any sort used on a Dorian tune, but I'd be curious to know how a simple VI-minor or VI-minor7 would sound in a Dorian context.

The natural 5 of the VIm, would clash with the minor 3rd of the Dorian and make for an overall mixolydian sound which would affect the character of the tune as the tune could have to take on a major tonaliity temporarily to compensate, which would equate to a tempotary change of mode.

In which case the tune becomes modal in two modes.

I suppose the blues thing of having an ambiguous third could be relevant, but it wouldn't really be modal anymore then either, it would be a blues.

The answer I suspect, as is often the case, is probably all to do with context.

2,

Where there is a dominant 7th in a minor key, you can't say that the music is modal so you can't really use it as an example of an exception to the rule.

The whole point of the Dominant 7th chord is that it is the quintessential Functional chord.

It can be superimposed in many different places to establish tonality and to modulate into different keys.

Therefore, when you see it employed in any context, you know you are dealing with functional harmony and not modal harmony.

3,

"Similarly, the dominant (V) chord, whether major or minor, will probably carry a minor 7th even when the 7th of the modal scale is major."


I can see that a Tune in the Lydian mode could conceivably use a dominant 7th as its V chord to help establish its tonal centre, but the problem with that would be that the Flat7 of the V chord would correspond to a natural 4th in relation to the tone centre of the tune.

This is of fundamental importance as the only thing which makes the Lydian mode different to the major scale is the sharp 4 (#11).

This is the colour note and 100% essential to any lydian composition.

To flatten it in the V chord would be to establish a clear natural major tonality.

Dominant chords are extremely powerful bombastic tools which is why they perform such a useful functional purpose, so they would shout out "This is not Lydian" at the tops of their voices for the duration of the time they were played to the significant detriment of the tunes character.

I would therefore argue that adding a dominant 7th onto chord V in a lydian tune would render it functional and not modal.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: doc.tom
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 05:32 AM

With so much profundity sloshing around, how come nobody has mentioned Authentic and Phlagal forms of the modes? Just to add to the complexity - in the 'authentic' form the tune range is (to be pedantic) between the tonics, and in the 'phlagal' between the dominants.

The Locrian is a 'white note' scale (C) with a tonic of B - not a tonic of D, that is Dorian.

Just because Dust to Dust is a gapped scale, does not mean it isn't Locrian! The gap, as said above, is where the sixth would be, therefore the chord on the tonic still exists and is diminished (a minor third over a minor third) therefore Locrian.

The best visual explanation for the relationship between the modes that I have ever seen is in the introduction to Bronson's Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads. He draws a 'mode star' which shows the relationship between all the Heptatonic, Hexatonic and Pentatonic modes - including the theoratical ones which acannot exist because they have no tonic!

Interesting, but let's not forget that deliberations on modes are theoretical, and therefore very useful for working things out - but the music is real!


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:15 AM

Listening to the scales may help us to recognise them in the wild.

I doubt it. Everything in my tutorial can be listened to - it's all in ABC and there several ways of listening to that. And I do include the scales as examples. But what sets off one mode from another is the melodic patterns each of them uses. That's very well codified for Middle Eastern and Indian classical music, but there are also mode-specific melodic formulas in Western folk idioms -like a final cadence that rises to the tonic from a flattened seventh to signal mixolydian mode ("She Moved Through the Fair", "Tullochgorum"). And you get a feel for what those patterns are by listening to a lot of tunes.

If you need a mnemonic for the modes you're thinking about, that's a message telling you that your modal system isn't in fact doing anything useful for you.

Listening to the scales for the *eight* mediaeval modes would have helped you recognize them. That was a very different system with entirely different goals. I can't think of any natural purpose for the 19th century seven-mode system.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:17 AM

A couple of recent comments have struck me as the most sensible.

Artful Codger

The folk who came up with modal tunes were not music theorists, they just sang tunes in the "mood" which seemed most appropriate, and their musical palate wasn't limited to major and minor.

doc.tom

Interesting, but let's not forget that deliberations on modes are theoretical, and therefore very useful for working things out - but the music is real!

I remember, but can't find, an article by Rev. John Broadwood (Lucy's uncle) who related the tale of playing over the tune of a song he had collected to his organist to notate. The organist complained that one of the notes was "wrong" to which Broadwood replied "That is the note he sang. That is the note we will have." He went on to say that the songs come first. Scales are after the fact.

People sing or play things the way they do because they sound right or create the correct feelings, not because they fit some theoretical concept. It's the difference between art and science.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM

With so much profundity sloshing around, how come nobody has mentioned Authentic and Phlagal forms of the modes?

I did. There's a section of my tutorial about it (mainly as it applies to the Highland pipes).


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 07:10 AM

I don't blame you for not reading it all, Jack, KS and MD are defined thus
MD stands for Modal Determinant, the keynote of each harmonia. KS presumed that the ancient Greek scales were octave segments of the subhharmonic series, and in the diatonic genus, they could be taken
as segments of one continuous scale analogous to that of the Changeless System and as white-key modes of the Dorian scale. Rather confusingly, they could also be taken on the same keynote.

Well, that's all clear then!


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 07:11 AM

Oh, and KS was Kathleen Schlesinger :one of the writers and I think, a collaborator of Steiner.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM

I remeber hearing that when Vaughan Williams was presenting a talk about his collecting of folk song, and how many were in Dorian Mode, learned professors objected on the grounds that unschooled peasants could not possibly be conversant with the Modes. Putting the cart before the horse or what?


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 08:39 AM

Lox: In folk music, we need to distinguish the strictly modal (in the medieval sense, and that requires just intonation to really fit the bill) from modern "modal" usage. As I said earlier, modern "modal" music is not restricted to just the natural scale tones; "mode" relates to the predominant scale and intervalic relationships relative to the tonic. But modal music can vary just as flexibly as major/minor music can. Major tunes can have II chords that really function as VofV (a temporary change of tonal base, but not mode) or can incorporate accidentals in either melody or harmony, and yet they are still considered "major" because the overall patterns fit our expectations of major tunes--including most of the divergences from the natural scale. So also with tunes in other modes. In fact, the different ways that the diminished triad (occurring in more prominent harmonic position) is used, avoided or modified in the various modes is part of their characteristic sound.

An example is Lydian, where the diminished triad is rooted on an augmented fourth. A common method of avoidance is for the harmony to shift between I and II, or I and V. However, you're also likely to hear the IV root lowered to the perfect fourth, while the melody may continue to use augmented fourths! The somewhat discordant result (and the prominent tritone generally) is one reason I particularly enjoy Lydian mode, and have composed several tunes in it.

dr.tom: For similar reasons, authentic and plagal modes don't generally apply when discussing modal folk music, because folk tunes aren't artificially limited in range (except, perhaps on instruments like pipes.)


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 08:40 AM

No theorist claims to be prescribing a system of rules, any more than Newton can be accused of prescribing a set of laws by which nature must operate.

However, newtons observations were an essential step in helping us understand the mechanics of nature.

Music theory is the same thing. It is the amalgamation of our understanding about music based on observations and analytical thinking.

With a good understaanding of theory it is easy to handle unfamiliar or complex music.

Without it, unless you are a genuine geius (in which case you probably figured out a very similar set if noit the same set of observations) you will find much unfamiliar music and most complex music very difficult to understand.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Lox
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 08:43 AM

Artful Codger, I understand your point. Thanks for the insight.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM

Artful Codger: what kind of music do you play that has so many Lydian tunes that any feature of them can be described as "common"?

authentic and plagal modes don't generally apply when discussing modal folk music, because folk tunes aren't artificially limited in range

With older tunes, you often have relics of tetrachordal or pentachordal structure. A song tune that started life as a tetrachordal melody with the tonal centre at the top will usually develop by adding an upper pentachord - that gives you a plagal result. The process is best documented in Indian music but it occurs much more widely.

Artificiality is more likely to be involved in extending the range than limiting it, as when somebody with a new wide-range instrument or a wider-ranging voice than the norm gets hold of a tune and adds some flashy stuff of their own.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 01:34 PM

>I can't say I've ever heard a VI chord of any sort used on a Dorian tune, but I'd be curious to know how a simple VI-minor or VI-minor7 would sound in a Dorian context.

Vaughan-Williams version of Greensleeves in the London Symphony uses both
a 1m to a 1V (major) and a bIII (major) which gives the tune a relative major-relative minor
harmonic progression. If you view bIII as a I (major) chord, then the root of the dorian mode becomes the relative minor. (VI minor).

The problem is this, the mode is never pure in most music if you set a harmonic background to it. The harmony used often suggest a modal cadence or progression,
though.

>The answer I suspect, as is often the case, is probably all to do with context.





>Therefore, when you see it (Dominant seventh) employed in any context, you know you are dealing with functional harmony and not modal harmony.

Here semantics gets in the way. Tunes are mostly hybrids suggesting modal cadences and functional conventional harmony.


>I can see that a Tune in the Lydian mode could conceivably use a dominant 7th as its V chord to help establish its tonal centre, but the problem with that would be that the Flat7 of the V chord would correspond to a natural 4th in relation to the tone centre of the tune.

>This is of fundamental importance as the only thing which makes the Lydian mode different to the major scale is the sharp 4 (#11).

There are no pure modes in jazz. The only way to define a pure modal context is to eliminate all but the basic notes of the mode in question. This certainly is not part of the jazz expression.


>I would therefore argue that adding a dominant 7th onto chord V in a lydian tune would render it functional and not modal.

Here we have to distinguish between what is functional or modal. An analogy would be any system that is restrictive or inclusive. But the inclusive system does not vitiate
the use of a restrictive device.

In short, you can have a modal cadence within a larger harmonic context.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM

>With a good understaanding of theory it is easy to handle unfamiliar or complex music.

>Without it, unless you are a genuine gei(n)us (in which case you probably figured out a very similar set if noit the same set of observations) you will find much unfamiliar music and most complex music very difficult to understand.

The most important thing to remember is that first comes the music and then the theory.
Schoenberg and the atonalists made a point of the theory coming first. This is not generally emotionally accepted by the public as "music". (Only by academicians, Berg's Wozzeck notwithstanding.)

Bach broke every rule in theory that he was supposed to have engendered.

The notion of "modes" is merely a tool to help identify certain melodic components.

The analogy would be if we offered "socialism" in the context of "capitalism" as a system of governance. Certain parts of "Capitalism" could be construed as being "Socialist".
Vice versa.

Music is a language that is subject to the fluidity of most languages in usage. It's hard to pin formal academic rules to it as there is flexibility in grammar and syntax.

The notion of "modes' is theoretical and in the use of folk music problematic as a result.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM

Listening to the scales may help us to recognise them in the wild. [quote]when I am in the wild I have better things to do than listen to scales.
Wild thing,..... you make my heart sing.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 02:20 PM

Music is a language that is subject to the fluidity of most languages in usage. It's hard to pin formal academic rules to it as there is flexibility in grammar and syntax.

It's a lot easier to find rules that describe music than it is to find rules that describe language. Both are perfectly possible, and the results are useful. (Would you like to try learning a foreign language with no grammar of any sort available?)

The notion of "modes' is theoretical and in the use of folk music problematic as a result.

There are many different concepts of "mode" and some of them were invented specifically FOR folk music. Accordingly they're the ones you want to use.

It gets wearisome having "academic" and "theoretical" trotted out as cliched insults over and over again, directed at unnamed enemies. If there's something specific you're objecting to, say what it is. I don't see anything objectionably snooty about telling somebody they can play "The Old Grey Cat" in the usual key on a D whistle with no crossfingerings or halfholings. That's what saying it's in the dorian mode amounts to. It's a useful thing to know before you start playing.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 03:48 PM

the old grey cat, a fine tune, havent played it for about 5 years, thanks Jack.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 05:04 PM

As I understand so far a Mode is as much a signature as it is a binary formula. A series whole and 1/2 steps taken out of a chromatic scale or run of notes.

The Ionian Mode is W W 1/2 W W W 1/2 W and that mode signature can mean C Ionian when it starts with C. It also can mean D or G or F Ionian when that same signature of intervals is applied a scale starting with D or G or F. Is this correct?



C Ionian       D Ionian
C               D
> W             > W
D               E
> W             > W
E               F#
> 1/2          > 1/2
F               G
> W             > W
G               A
> W             > W
A               B
> W             > W
B               C#
>1/2            > 1/2
C               D


Don

Thanks again by the way.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 11:04 PM

Don: Yep, in a modern, equal-tempered system, the framework for a mode is its tonal "center" [root] and its scale pattern; this combined with its characteristic usage defines a "mode".

But this is a revisionist view that largely ignores just temperament and its intervalic variations (based more on the overtone series than the 12th root of 2) which make the modes sound more distinct. The interval between I and V in Ionian is not quite the same fifth as between I and V in Dorian, because the underlying harmonic progression is still centered on the Ionian root. So when talking about intonation or the derivation of the scale patterns, saying "D Dorian is just C Ionian starting on D" pretty well sums it up.

You get a truer idea of modal music when it's played on the natural notes of a tinwhistle or diatonic harmonica (where each instrument is tuned to a specific key using a semi-just temperament) than when it's played on an equal-tempered instrument like guitar or piano. Transpose to a different key (but not scale pattern) on the same instrument, and the modal flavor will change somewhat--though our modern ears, accustomed to hearing a wide variety of temperaments, are largely oblivious to the differences--and they don't affect how we play modal music.

So unless you need the theoretical nitty-gritty, an even-tempered view is usually sufficient for understanding what's going on in modal folk music.


Campin: Artificiality is more likely to be involved in extending the range than limiting it, as when somebody with a new wide-range instrument or a wider-ranging voice than the norm gets hold of a tune and adds some flashy stuff of their own.

Initially, yes, but by the period of time we're mostly concerned with, such range limitations had largely disappeared, and these artificial extensions had become common practice rather than flash. In vocal music, a person can sing a tune going from III to III as easily as from I to I or V to V, in any mode--the range limitation one has with an instrument tuned to a specific just-tempered scale never existed for voice. Even in medieval times folk music must have exhibited far more freedom than liturgical music, where strict rules were imposed to accord with religious theory. Unfortunately, during those times, the clergy had a virtual monopoly on the recording of music, so the relics that survive are hopelessly skewed.

Nevertheless, I do see that plagal tunes may exhibit different characteristic patterns than authentic mode ones, and from this standpoint the distinction is still relevant. The old liturgical practices shaped our modern notions and continue to exercise a strong influence even at centuries of remove.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 09:41 AM

Lox

No theorist claims to be prescribing a system of rules, any more than Newton can be accused of prescribing a set of laws by which nature must operate.

However, newtons observations were an essential step in helping us understand the mechanics of nature.


A good analogy. The planets followed their courses and apples fell from trees quite happily before Newton came up with his laws just as traditional singers sang their songs and played their tunes before the musicoligists got hold of them. From "The Character of Physical Law" by Richard P. Feynman -

Newton was originally asked about his theory - 'But it doesn't mean anything - it doesn't tell us anything.'. He said 'It tells you how it moves. That should be enough. I have told you how it moves, not why.'.

Newton's laws describe what happens and allow us to predict what will happen but they don't help us understand why it happens.

If I come across a tune where the tonic is clearly A and the Fs and Cs are all sharp but the Gs are all natural I might wonder why it sounds so "right". It's Myxolydian! Ah, well, that explains everything. No it doesn't, it doesn't explain anything, it just sticks a label on it.

With a good understaanding of theory it is easy to handle unfamiliar or complex music.

I'm not that concerned with handling the unfamiliar or the complex, I'm more concerned with getting to grips with the familiar and the simple. We are told that Ddominant7 "resolves" Gmajor, that the F# "leads to" the G and the C "leads to" the B. What does that actually mean? Saying that it is a full close or a perfect cadence just labels it without explaining the subjective experience.

As a musician (of sorts), my experience tells me what sounds good; as a scientist, I want to know why and, so far, music theory doesn't seem to tell me that.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 03:30 PM

We are told that Ddominant7 "resolves" Gmajor, that the F# "leads to" the G and the C "leads to" the B. What does that actually mean?

"Leads to" comes from singing or playing in parts. If the harmony is all made up from vertical combinations of single lines, that's the most likely way to realize it (particularly for a vocal ensemble, anything else would be too hard to sing). Hence the idea of "voice leading".

D going to G melodically is the usual "modal dominant" idea. Ultimately it probably comes from the very ancient tradition of pentachordal melodies - the authentic modes retained the idea of stating the extremes of the pentachordal gamut as a marker of finality. The rest of the harmony is built round that.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 03:48 PM

'Within You Without You' sounds as if it's trying to be Locrian

It's Mixolydian


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 09:37 AM

All very interesting, Jack, but, unless you're saying "There's no reason for it, it's just the way it's always been done.", it still doesn't answer the question "Why?". Most people don't know anything about the "very ancient tradition of pentachordal melodies" but they recognise a full close if they hear one (musicians anyway). Is there no actual reason behind it or is it just an ancient cliche that we've learnt to recognise?

Harmony can be talked about in terms of notes whose frequencies are in simple ratios fitting more or less comfortably together. 2/1 (an octave) is boring, 3/2 (a perfect fifth) sounds more interesting, 729/512 (a tritone aka The Devil's Interval) AAAAGGGGH! It isn't just vertical. I knew that playing B and F together sounded horrible but didn't realise till I was noodling around that it works if you play them in sequence. I nearly fell off my chair.

What is happening when you go from D to G? "D going to G melodically is the usual "modal dominant" idea." doesn't really tell me anything.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 11:01 AM

John Purser (Scotland's Music 2007) suggestd that it is the influence of the bagpipe scale (mixolydian) on Scottish traditional music which leads to the flattened seventh being sung. However Francis Collinson (The Traditional and national Music of Scotland 1966) theorises that the origin of the pipe scale may have been vocal and that the flattened seventh is symptiomatic of untutored singers in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,Lox
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 01:41 PM

Snail,

It might not tell you anything because you haven't fully understood it.

When you listen to music, you hear where it is likely to go and you have a sense of direction.

This is the result of tension and release.

The classic examples of tension are, the seventh note of the major scale crying out to move up a semitone to the tonic note above it. and the tritone in a dominant seventh chord which cries out to resolve onto notes 1 and 3 of a tonic major or minor chord.

Its about dissonant sounds resolving onto consonant sounds.

Painful sounds resolving onto pleasant sounds.

unstable intervals resolving onto stable ones.

The ear likes music to resolve into stable chords.

Why is that? ... well that's another question ...

but the answer to your question is that dominant to tonic resolution involves movement from dissonant harmony to consonant harmony and the ear likes to hear resolution of unstable chords onto stable ones.

What makes a chord stable or unstable? well that's part of the study of theory.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 07:50 AM

I don't believe any of those pseudo-physical explanations for which chords can be final and which not. It's almost all cultural. There are cultures that have harmony but don't use pure fifths, others that deliberately retune their instruments to flatten the octave. And nobody seemed to mind the fact that old church bells produce anharmonic tones with the strongest one being around an augmented fourth - on the pseudo-physicalist theory, that would mean that even a single note constituted a dissonance that needed to resolve.

Ending on an unresolved dom7 has been normal in jazz for decades. Highland pipes play a continuous drone on A - tunes in B minor still sound final when they stop. Same goes for Hungarian dance music that uses the "gardon" string drum - it just bangs out an unvarying D regardless of the key the fiddler or singer's in, the pitch will never change to make a final cadence.

You need to look to history and the social sciences for an explanation of the norms behind harmonic idioms.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Mark Clark
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 11:37 AM

Entirely missing—as far as I can tell—from this fascinating thread is a link to Jack's outstanding work titled Scales and Modes in Scottish Traditional Music. I know it's linked from other threads but the casual reader might be hard pressed to find the work that several posters referred to.

Thanks, Jack, and all of you scholarly theorists who contribute to these discussions.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: GUEST,Lox
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 12:54 PM

Jack, I was referring specificaally to Snails comments regarding voice leading.

In non functional harmony this approach obviously doesn't apply.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 07:21 AM

Indeed, Lox, it is understanding I seek but my point is that saying a particular Pitch Set (to borrow Jack's term) is called Myxolydian does not explain anything, it merely gives you a label to recognise it by. Useful but no challenge to understanding.

You say -

"When you listen to music, you hear where it is likely to go"
"the seventh note of the major scale crying out to move up a semitone to the tonic note above it"
"The ear likes music to resolve into stable chords."


All of these are subjective observations. Music theory, at least at the level of the books I've been reading, does nothing to explain them, it just gives them names.

"the answer to your question is that dominant to tonic resolution involves movement from dissonant harmony to consonant harmony"

Checking my books, it appears that the dominant without the seventh moving to the tonic is sufficient to define a Perfect Cadence so it is a move from one consonance to another. Anyway, the description seems to imply more than that. It is not just one set of notes followed by another but a specific set "resolving" to another with specific notes "leading to" specific notes.

"The ear likes music to resolve into stable chords.

Why is that? ... well that's another question ..."


I was going to say that's the question I'm asking but actually I don't think it is. That moves into the psychology of perception. There seems to be a correlation between the simple mathematics of notes in vertical harmony and the effect on the human ear. Quite why is, indeed, "another question" but I'd like to find similar correlations in horizontal harmony.

Jack calls it "pseudo-physical" and implies that it's just cultural and therefore, presumably, learnt. I think there is an element of truth in that but that pull from the leading note to the tonic feels real enough.

I'll respond to Jack's post separately.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 08:41 AM

saying a particular Pitch Set (to borrow Jack's term) is called Myxolydian

A pitch set is just the collection of notes used by a tune. A mode (like mixolydian) comprises a pitch set together with a tonal centre.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:23 AM

Fair enough, Jack, but what I am trying to say is that saying A mixolydian (sorry about previous misspelling) is just a shorthand for "The pitch set A B C# D E F# G with tonal centre A". It does not explain anything or require any understanding, it just makes it more convenient to talk about it.

Going back to your previous post, there are limitless possibilities in what can be done under the name of music. Each culture or idiom only uses a subset. The existance of one idiom does not invalidate another any more than French invalidates Gaelic.

Just because other cultures do not use the full close does not alter the fact that it is a cornerstone of Western European music or prove that it does not represent something with real physical/mathematical significance. It's use in western music may be learned but riding a bike is learned. What you are learning in that case is how to interact with the real physical world of motion, balance and tarmac. Could it not be that what you are learning with music is an interaction with the interplay of harmonic relationships over time? My grumble is that statements such as "this chord resolves to that chord", "this note leads to that note" really don't seem to say anything meaningful about it. They are just observations of subjective experience.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:42 AM

Fair point. You are learning a cultural value attached to something that has a physical description.

One possibility might be that a V-I cadence emulates what happens to a sounding body as it loses energy and the sound dies away: the higher partials fade out first, leaving the fundamental. And as you add more energy (strike or blow harder) you will typically actuate a stack of partials (exactly which depends on the physical system). So the harmonic behaviour of physical systems does roughly correspond with what happens in a piece of music as it emerges and returns to silence.

As does arch form in melodies. But there's an interesting discrepancy with regard to octaves: melodically, an octave usually marks an extreme point that demands a downward resolution. Whereas a harmonic octave is next to the fundamental in stability.

The person who's thought hardest about this sort of thing in recent decades was Giacinto Scelsi. I've heard some of his music but don't know his writings. What he ended up with, after perceptual/meditative exercises that involved listening to the same note on a piano for weeks on end, bore no resemblance to any kind of tonality.


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Subject: RE: More About Modes
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 12:52 PM

Thanks for that, Jack, but, as I said earlier, for the time being I'm trying to understand the familiar and the simple before moving on. I think it may take me quiet a while to get to Giacinto Scelsi.


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