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Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer

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GUEST,Tootler 21 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jul 18 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jul 18 - 08:24 AM
Jack Campin 18 Jul 18 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 11 Jul 18 - 10:46 AM
Stanron 11 Jul 18 - 10:29 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM
Stanron 11 Jul 18 - 09:48 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 18 - 09:27 AM
Stanron 11 Jul 18 - 09:20 AM
Stanron 11 Jul 18 - 09:12 AM
KarenH 11 Jul 18 - 06:36 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jul 18 - 04:58 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 18 - 04:53 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 18 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jul 18 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,ripov 10 Jul 18 - 07:32 PM
John P 10 Jul 18 - 06:13 PM
leeneia 10 Jul 18 - 11:05 AM
Jack Campin 10 Jul 18 - 09:41 AM
KarenH 09 Jul 18 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jul 18 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 06:52 PM
CapriUni 13 Sep 07 - 04:02 PM
M.Ted 13 Sep 07 - 12:26 PM
CapriUni 12 Sep 07 - 03:49 PM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 07 - 01:31 PM
CapriUni 12 Sep 07 - 01:15 PM
Alba 07 Feb 07 - 11:27 AM
Alec 07 Feb 07 - 11:24 AM
katlaughing 02 Mar 06 - 03:26 AM
M.Ted 22 Apr 04 - 10:59 AM
Amos 22 Apr 04 - 12:16 AM
M.Ted 22 Apr 04 - 12:12 AM
Peter T. 21 Apr 04 - 07:29 PM
toadfrog 20 Apr 04 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,M'Grath of Altcar 12 Apr 04 - 05:11 AM
harpgirl 11 Apr 04 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 23 Sep 02 - 01:44 PM
M.Ted 23 Sep 02 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Sep 02 - 12:34 PM
GUEST 23 Sep 02 - 12:11 PM
Peter T. 23 Sep 02 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Master McGrath 22 Sep 02 - 07:32 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM
Sorcha 19 May 02 - 09:58 AM
toadfrog 26 Dec 01 - 10:29 PM
Mary in Kentucky 20 Aug 01 - 06:02 PM
M.Ted 20 Aug 01 - 05:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Tootler
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM

Jack Campin wrote: If you play an instrument like that you don't see a limitation.

That's not entirely true. You are aware of the limitations but you look for workarounds.

However, as it happens there is a massive repertoire of tunes that can be played on a diatonic instrument. Even if the tunes sometimes have accidentals you don't have available there are often workarounds. Especially if playing with others.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 08:29 AM

I have links to a few ABC converter sites on my homepage - you just need to copy and paste.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 08:24 AM

Thanks, Jack, or should I say 'Merci'. You learn all sorts on this site. I was looking at your web site material on modes and pentatonic modes, but I don't have or even begin to understand 'abc'.

I gather 'moothie' is mouth organ. Took me a while to click on, not being Scottish.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jul 18 - 05:12 AM

For Pseudonymous - Catalina Vicens just posted a link to this:

Christophe Deslignes documentary on the portative organ


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 10:46 AM

'While actually playing music it just isn't important that "Old Joe Clark" is mixolydian and "Douce Dame Jolie" is dorian. You just learn the song.'

But it might save a few Dissonances if the the musicians in the session were able to say, "Old Joe Clark? The mixolydian or the dorian version?"

As Jack said, this stuff can be useful as a means of communication. Several good posts here, thanks Jack, and as a melodeon player I second what you said about moothies and modes.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Stanron
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 10:29 AM

With the caveat that we are getting way off topic here, I could tell them what key I play in, if I change key perhaps, but I may not mention that F#s occasionally become F natural or that D becomes D# every now and then. I would expect them to deal with the deficiencies of their own instruments. Talking about music is a distinct second best to playing it.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM

I forgot to add that when I make decisions on what to play, those decisions are based on sounds, not theoretical ideas. The 'sound' process is so much faster.

But if someone else is playing with you, can you tell a diatonic moothie player which instrument to reach for, or a harpist which levers to flip?


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Stanron
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:48 AM

Jack Campin wrote: If you play an instrument like that you don't see a limitation.


If you play with someone who plays an instrument like that you do. I spent several years playing tunes with a Northumbrian Small Pipes player. There were quite a few tunes he could not play. The instrument is virtually locked into playing F# as G although that is not related to modes.

The modal nature of the music pipes produce is not something I would label as an idea. There is no thought required. That is just what they are able to play.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:27 AM

'medieval nine pipe portative organ'.

Almost all the ones we know about had far more pipes than that, though usually only one chromatic note (B flat), if any.

Bagpipes typically have nine available notes. The Highland pipe repertoire alone has something like 20,000 pieces. If you play an instrument like that you don't see a limitation.


Such primitive instruments were limited to specific notes and modes are a result of that kind of limitation.

Which is why modal thinking of some sort is used by almost all players of the commonest instrument in history, the diatonic harmonica. Every time you do a "position shift" or play "cross" you're using a modal concept.

Modes are very much a living idea.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Stanron
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:20 AM

I forgot to add that when I make decisions on what to play, those decisions are based on sounds, not theoretical ideas. The 'sound' process is so much faster.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Stanron
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:12 AM

I think that GUEST Ripov in the 10 Jul 18 - 07:32 PM posting hit the nail with 'medieval nine pipe portative organ'. Such primitive instruments were limited to specific notes and modes are a result of that kind of limitation.

Few modern instruments are so limited. Fretted instruments such as the lute, and today the guitar, were never limited in such a way. Unfretted instruments like the viol family and the human voice, of course, were never so limited as well. I find it difficult to believe that 'vulgar' music always kept to such arbitrary rules.

In retrospect it seems that Modes were an attempt to rationalise technical imperfections. Such rationalisation is not necessary today.

So why are Modes still a source of anxiety today?

I blame it on jazz and higher education.

Round about the time when jazz went from 'good time music' to 'a pain in the ears' it flirted with modes. I'm guessing that it flirted with one or two of them only. That in itself would not have resulted in the current concern about the subject.

It has always struck me as amusing that Universities teaching 'Popular Music' include jazz in their curriculum. Sometimes as a mandatory subject. A problem for Universities teaching Popular Music is what to teach students who may well be more talented that their teachers. Modes and jazz will do nicely.

The fact that students would benefit more from playing in front of audiences than playing in front of teachers would not benefit a profession from which I am now safely retired.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: KarenH
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 06:36 AM

Thank you, Jack.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM

The two leading portative organ players these days seem to be Catalina Vicens and Christophe Deslignes. Both pretty easy to find on the web. Vicens posts a lot on FB. Deslignes has a superb 3-CD set, each covering music of a different period - I saw him once at a house concert where he described the technique involved, it's a lot more subtle than you'd think.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 04:58 AM

Never heard of a portative organ! Where can I find out more?

I think I want one! (MAD strikes again: Musicalinstrument Acquisition Disease) :(


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 04:53 AM

If leeneia's dulcimer is a fretted mountain type, she'll be using modal reasoning all the time. With a dulcimer tuned to 2 sharps, you can play in:

D major
E dorian
G lydian/major hexatonic
F# minor/phrygian hexatonic
A mixolydian
B minor

all of which are common modes in Anglo-American folksong. You don't need to know you're doing this if you're playing solo, but for playing with others a common language really helps.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 04:36 AM

These medieval portative organs, so extensively used during the 14th and 15th centuries ..... contains nine pipes.

Some of them contain more than that, and often with two much longer ones which had to be used as drones. (Catalina Vicens has a lot of illustrations of them on her FB pages). From the lengths, you had a choice of two drone pitches a tone apart, as with the "Durer" style of bagpipe.

A mode is not constrained to start on any particular pitch, it is just a sequence of intervals, like our modern major and minor scales.

Urban legend. No they WERE fixed in pitch, and still are in may modal idioms. They were far more than just a sequence of intervals.


So it may be (tho' others may well know better) that every mode would start on the lowest note of the keyboard, and these primitive instrunents had to be retuned each time the mode changed, thus keeping the pitch at a comfortable level for the singers

A portative organ is not retunable like that. And they were most commonly used as a solo instrument.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 03:25 AM

I don't know why this thread was started: it may just be out of general interest. But it seems to me that knowing the mode a song is in might help you to choose chords to accompany it. Because maybe the chords need to be constructed out of the notes of the scale/modal scale, just as the chords for, say, a tune in the key of A minor are different from those in A major.


Of course, if you are getting the chords from somewhere and not needing to work them out for yourself, or select them for yourself, the knowledge won't be useful.

Whether they were right or wrong, some early folk song collectors categorised the songs they heard according to whether they were dorian or aeolian etc. This was because if they were trained in 'classical' music theory, some of the notes in the tunes they collected broke the rules.

I believe they began to apply what were called the 'church modes' because for them, the use of such modes was a sign of the tune's antiquity. This is an interesting thought.

A L Lloyd's book on Folk Song in England has a section about modes, and so does the new book of, unfortunately, the same title, by Roud and Bishop. The latter book updates the thinking on the topic.

I was hoping that the subject might be discussed on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 07:32 PM

A rather abridged quote from Wikipaedia:-
These medieval portative organs, so extensively used during the 14th and 15th centuries ..... contains nine pipes..

A mode is not constrained to start on any particular pitch, it is just a sequence of intervals, like our modern major and minor scalea. The names we give to notes are just an administrative convenience.

So it may be (tho' others may well know better) that every mode would start on the lowest note of the keyboard, and these primitive instrunents had to be retuned each time the mode changed, thus keeping the pitch at a comfortable level for the singers. (A reversal of the process whereby guitarists use a capo to change pitch without changing "mode", to suit a voice with a different range). A good reason to use one mode for a month!


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: John P
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 06:13 PM

In general I agree with leeneia. I've been doing all those things about as long and the mode has never made any difference to what got played or how. While actually playing music it just isn't important that "Old Joe Clark" is mixolydian and "Douce Dame Jolie" is dorian. You just learn the song.

I did sort of find a use for knowing modes recently. I said, "Let's do a G dorian jam" and just started to play without having to offer any further explanation.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 11:05 AM

I play piano, recorder, guitar and dulcimer. I arrange music and I compose it. I improvise.   I lead friends in music and teach them some, though I do not claim to be a professional teacher.

In 48 years of this, I have never found modes to be important or helpful. Oh, it's interesting to look at a song and say, "This is in the Dorian mode," (for example), but it doesn't really get a person anywhere. If you are a new player and you don't "get" modal music, don't worry about it.

In the middle ages, when a church musician might have been illiterate and the notes might not even have names yet (A to G), it might have helped to know that a certain group of chants was in a certain mode. It gave one an idea of which note to start and end on.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 09:41 AM

I'm not sure if anybody has made this point already in this thread, but:

Synthesis is NOT useful.

There are many different concepts of mode, for good reason, Which one you want depends on a question nobody here seems to have asked:

What are you going to do with the information?

The nine-mode system of the late Middle Ages had a specific purpose: it was to classify psalm and other liturgical melodies into groups that were easy to sing in the same service or on the same day - you didn't want to force your choir to make rapid changes of range and scale. It was about limiting variety. (A variant of the same idea is used today by the Syriac church - they have a system of modes based on Arabic models where the congregation stays in the same one for each month. Most of them are also associated with one of the Ten Commandments, so you spend a whole month singing in the Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery mode). For this system, modes are not just scales - each one has a standard range and a few standardized melodic features.

Boethius's earlier system (which was what the mediaeval theorists adapted) had a totally different purpose - it was a transposition scheme to help you adapt music for the instruments or voices you had available.

Glareanus's post-mediaeval twelve-mode system was developed at a time when polyphonic and harmonic composition was well established, and the people who performed it wouldn't have been bothered by changing range and scale in seconds. It seems to have been intended to catalogue the variety of tonal environments a composer could create - more or less the exact opposite of the mediaeval system. You get a similar purpose for the modal system implicitly used, though not often formalized, by Highland pipers - they exploit changes in tonal centre and harmonic space achieved by shifting from one pentatonic or hexatonic scale to another. The idea of this variety is military expedience: you want to keep the infantry's feet moving by relieving the boredom of a march as far as possible. (Hence, most of the pentatonic march repertoire dates from the 19th century, after the pipes became established in the British Army). With other largely diatonic instruments, gapped scales are an extremely useful resource for expanding the amount of music you can play; they are used implicitly by harpists and moothie players all the time.

Modal systems of Indian music are rather like the mediaeval chant system - you want extreme microtonal accuracy, so ragas have no accidentals or modulations whatever, but to compensate there is an unbelievable variety of them to choose from. Arabic music relaxes the rules a bit and use fewer modes, while Persian and Turkish music have modal systems based on the Arabic model that are designed to allow virtuosic modulatory wriggling. Also like the mediaeval chant system, for all these systems, range is standardized, and there are a great many standard melodic formulas, specific kinds of inflection and reference points that melodies progress through. Here the primary aim of the system is often to organize an improvisation in a way that an audience or a fellow-performer can follow.

Then you have the seven-mode piano-keyboard system that seems to been invented by someone in the middle of the 19th century with too much time on their hands, and really only found a useful application with the academic jazz of the 1960s and its encyclopaedic repertoire of chordal structures. This is the system most folkies think of as THE mode system - it does nothing very useful that I can think of. If all you can think of is "I gotta classify this", don't bother.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: KarenH
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 07:21 PM

Thanks Joe. I am still getting my head round Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 10:30 PM

We talked about updating links in old threads, but decided not to - although I do updates links here and there when I'm working on a thread for other purposes. I do try to keep our "links" section up-to-date, but even that is an impossible task.

You can find an archive for many dead links at archive.org. Just go to archive.org and past the link into their "Wayback Machine."

Dick and Susan preferred to encourage people to learn how to search for themselves, instead of expecting links. After 20 years at Mudcat, I've seen so many links expire so many times - I see the wisdom of their thinking.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 06:52 PM

Hello

Some fascinating detail here: too much on the scales of different cultures to take in for me.

Sadly, not all the links on this thread still function.

A point about minor scales in 'classical' music: there are more than one. In classical music they often use a major 7th if the tune is moving up, as it is felt to 'lead' to the tonic, but a minor, or flat one if it is moving down. So when we learned the melodic minor scale as kids it was different going up and coming down. Coming down, it was like the 'natural' or aeolian, with a flat7 or minor 7. Whereas, I guess, something more 'modal' would not have this characteristic.


More examples, but not necessarily folk/blues ones.

Feel Good Inc by Gorilla'z riff is aeolian.
Carlos Santana used to use Dorian a lot and still may.


One online course by Edinburgh University that I did used a mnemonic for modes, which I share:

I (ionian)
Don't (dorian)
Punch (phrygian)
Like (lydian)
Mohammed (mixoldian)
A (aeolian)
L (lochrian)

This is the order if you work your way round a 'major' or 'ionian' scale starting from the bottom eg C ionian, D dorian etc.

On another course, I learned another way of thinking about them. It was a jazz-based course. The teacher (Gary Burton) thought of modes in terms of musical quality from 'light' to 'dark'. I found this a helpful way to think about the modes for some reason, especially when trying to play in one (assuming I knew the major scale).

The 'light' one was lydian, with a sharp 4th compared to the major scale.


Next came 'ionian', which is the major scale.

Then it starts to get 'dark':

Then mixo, with one flat compared with the major scale (b7)

Then dorian, with 2 flats compared with major   (b7, b3)


Then aeolian, 3 flats .........................(b7, b6 b3 )

Then phrygian 4 flats ......................   (b7, b6 b3, b2)

Then lochrian 5 flats ....................    (b7, b6, b5 b3 b2 )


There is a pattern for how the flats appear, as you will see.

The mnemonic for this ordering is


L ight

I nitially


M uddy


D arkness


A s


P lunge


L ower.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 04:02 PM

Care to elaborate, M.Ted? ..Or anyone?


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 12:26 PM

No.


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 03:49 PM

Here's the link to "Freygish Scale".

So-- is "Freygish" a repronounciation of Phrygian?


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 01:31 PM

Current thread on Freygish scale oughtta be linked here too.....

~S~


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Subject: RE: Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 01:15 PM

This link labled: "Click here then click on Modal Harmony," posted by Marion on Sept. 10, '00 (http://www.celticmusic.com/magazine/tunes/) had a wonderful, easy-to-follow chart that lined up all the modes into rows and columns, so that you tell at a glance which keys and modes were "equivalent" to each other.

I used to use it often, so that I could put the right key signature into my ABC tunes. But now, when I click on it, I get an error message:

Not Found
The requested URL /magazine/tunes/ was not found on this server.

Can anybody tell me where it's gone, or where I can find a similar chart?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Alba
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 11:27 AM

Great Thread but why is it yelling at me to look at it!!!!..*smile*


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Alec
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 11:24 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 03:26 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 10:59 AM

Greek and Armenian music use makams, but with Western pitches, and no quarter tones(Klezmer music has it's own system, but is very similar). They also tend to used chordal accompaniments. Their music includes a lot of the traditional Turkish melodies, as well.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 12:16 AM

Pricelsss, M. Ted. Thanks very much.

A


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 12:12 AM

Peter is kind of right(but, given that it is Peter, it is only kind of;-)--

The scales are constructed using different values for the pitches than the Western scale--they can have the "blue note" effect, and it has occured to me that blue notes are really kind of an approximation of the use of quarter tones,, anyway, actually quarter tones--

Submitted, for your approval, probably more than you'll ever want to know about makams and usuls(with footnotes)--If you want to know even more(like what the differences are between Turkish and Arabic Makams(I actually like to spell it Maquam), I have an article about that, too, but I can't post it because it has notation graphics in it--pm me your e-mail address and I"ll create a PDF file and send it--




Aida Islam

Makams  and Usuls  versus Scales and Rhythms of Western Music

        In the Ottoman Empire, within the processes of cultural and artistic creativity, music embodied the most highly respected and favorite activity, and at the same time enjoyed the highest sense of dignity. (Judetz, E., 1998:11). In to their courts, the Ottoman sultans brought eminent musicians and composers of different countries, such as Iran, Egypt, India, Uzbekistan, Greece and France. These musicians were employed as state-sponsored musicians who enjoyed professional prestige and political acknowledgement. The Ottoman musical scene included members of other, smaller ethnic groups, such as Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. It is precisely this broadness that made this tradition last. (Bolat, L: 1-4). Within this context we will mention the fact that the history of Turkish music includes a person from the region of Macedonia - Niyazi from Skopje, who lived in the 15th century.
        It is evident that music influenced national entity since the Ottoman state and its rulers were not only patrons of the arts, but also participated in artistic activities with their personal artistic contributions. Thus, from the total of 38 sultans, about ten were professional musicians: performers, composers, or both (www.C\W..\Osmanli and Great-Ottoman Turkish Civilization from Yeni Turkiye.html). The courts included schools called Enderun, which were the cores of dissemination of Turkish traditional-artistic music (the first school of this sort was formed in 1363 by Murad I, with the conquest of Edrene) (Tanrikorur, C. 1989:501).
        To a certain extent, Ottoman music is a developed and sophisticated synthesis of the makam music of the Middle East and Central Asia. As many contemporary musicologists claim, in comparison to western polyphonic tonal music, Turkish traditional music is monophonic modal music, or so-called makam music, and is a product of development and systematisation based on mathematical laws (Songar, A., 1988: 5). The tonal systems of western and Turkish traditional music are in essence an interpretation of Pythagorean modes, which have evolved into different "dialects" throughout the centuries.
        We shall therefore present a comprehensive view of the basic features of the two systems which are in fact a reflection of the musical thought of two culturally different civilisations.
 

        1. The structure of tone-series in western and Turkish music and their process of formation

        The main difference between the tonal systems of western and Turkish music above all lies in the structure of the tone-series.Western music has been based on the tempered system for more than three centuries. It is a tonal system that includes 12 equal semitones.As opposed to that, the tonal system of Turkish music includes 24 tones that are placed at unequal lengths. One should stress that the tone-series of the contemporary tonal system in Turkish traditional music is in essence identical with the tone-series established in the 13th century. Namely, the tone-series established and elaborated by the renowned 13th century musician Safiyuddin Urmevi (1237-1294) in his theoretical work Kitab u'l Edvar contains 17 tones. The contemporary tonal system contains almost exactly the same tone-series (with small changes in the names of some tones), and is enriched with the integration of seven additional tones, with which the tone-series acquire 24 unequal tones (Akdogu, O., 1999: 13-27) (ex. no.1 - even though the nota initialis of the contemporary system is the tone C1- Chargah, to achieve a better comparison between the two tonal tone-series, the representation in the tables notes the correspondence of the order of the tones)



The tone-series in Turkish traditional music according to Safiyuddin Urmevi (13th century)

        The contemporary tone-series according to Arel-Ezgi-Uzdilek (20th century)

        The tone-series in both systems also differ in the processes of formation. Namely, in western music, the tonal system is created by the sequencing of 12 pure fifths, one by one. In that way a tone-series of 12 semitones is achieved, where the last tone - which actually represents the octave of the starting tone - is one comma above the basic tone. Therefore, the surplus of one comma is divided into 12 equal parts (equally for all the created tones), which causes a shift and the formation of a system whose octave contains 12 equal tones.
The process of formation of the Turkish tonal system is somewhat different. Namely, starting from the tone Chargah (C1), 12 pure fifths  (one fifth contains 31 commas) and 11 pure fifths are sequenced. Thus, in the most natural way, with the arrangement of the created tones, the 24 tones tone-series is composed. However, as opposed to the 12-tone system, the tones within this octave are not set in equal spaces (the process is presented in the following example) (Ozkan, H., 18987: 65-6).
 
 

 

All the tones comprising the Turkish music tonal system

It is interesting to add that as in western music, the basic tone-series of Turkish music are the tone-series of the tone Chargah (C1), i.e C-major.

        2. The structure of the major second  in the tonal scales

         The second important feature of differentiation between the musical systems of the two music cultures is the structure of the tones in the tone-series.In the western diatonic scale, the distance between two tones that constitute one major second is divided with a semitone. It is placed on the ideal half of this distance and represents the semitones in the tone-series. The distance between this semitone and the neighboring semitones is 4.5 Pythagorean commas. The harmonic structure, i.e the polyphony of western music is based upon this arrangement of tones.
        The essential feature of Turkish music is in the existence of so-called microtones. Namely, in Turkish music, the distance in one major second is divided into nine equal segments, called Pythagorean commas (comma = the smallest segment of the tone heard by the human ear) (Dogrusöz, N., 1980:570).



     The structure of the major second in the Turkish system

        From the nine commas the major second consists of, the intervals of 4, 5, 8, and 9 commas are used in practice (the interval of 9 commas is actually the next, i.e previous tones). The interval of 1 comma is rarely used in practice. Closest to the semitone which in the western scale consists of 4.5 commas is the tone which is here at a distance of 4 commas. Every comma is marked by a specific graphic representation, whereas the micro interval is marked with a corresponding letter.

        Because of the different calculations of the semitones in the two tonal systems (the western system has 4.5 commas, the Turkish has 4 commas), the octave in the tempered system contains 54, whereas Turkish music contains 53 commas.Presented in cents, the western system contains one semitone as equal to 100 cents, and the tone contains 200 cents. However, in Turkish music, the "semitone" contains 90, whereas the "tone" contains 204 cents.

        3. The definitions and features of the tone-series

        The tone-series in both systems differ in their definition. In Turkish music, the tone-series present a sequence of 8 tones composed of one tetrachord and one pentachord (or vice versa) named cheshni  which means "taste" (cheshni = taste). (Özkan, I., 1897: 71). The combination of different tetrachords and pentachords enables the creation of a great number of tone-series or makams. The employment of these tone-series in accordance to specific rules yields the formation of makams - the basis of Turkish music (makam = music tone, melody). Theoretically, hundreds of makams can be formed. Within the opus of Turkish music, over 500 makams are used. Nevertheless, about a hundred of them have a wider use in practice (Oransaray: www.turkmusikisi.com).

        3.1 Characteristics and classification of makams

Makams are not only typical for Turkish music; they are quite common in the music of Central Asia. Nonetheless, according to the definitions of numerous musicologists, makams in Turkish music represent tone-series governed by certain rules in terms of the movement of melody (seyir), the inter-relationship among the tonal, dominant tone and the tones on which minor alterations are made (asma karar). According to western system standards (microtonal melody), the outcome of these rules is the diatonic melody encompassing tones "outside the melody"(Tura, Y., 1988:141).

        Makams are classified into three categories:

1. Basic makams (13 makams)
2. Transposed makams (created by transposing the basic makams to other tones)
3. Compound makams (clusters of two or more makams).

        In the study of scales within western music, there is a general rule equally applicable to all scales. However, in Turkish music, the general principles applicable to all makams cannot be determined. Thus, Turkish music theory studies each makam separately.
Several makams coincide with some of the scales of the western music system, such as:
Chargah makam = C-major; Mahur makam = G-major, Ajem ashiran makam = F-major, Buselik makam = a-minor; Sultani segah makam = d-minor, and Nihavend makam = g-minor.

        4. Some features of makam tone-series versus scales in western music

        4.1. Naming the tone-series

        In western music, scales are named according to the nota initialis of the tone-series, regardless of their direction of movement.The names of makams vary depending on the height of the nota initialis, but also on the direction of movement of the melody line, called seyir (Seyir = the movement of the tone-series which produces the makam). The movements can be: 1. ascending, 2. descending, or 3. descending -ascending (Yilmaz, Z., 2001:75). In fact, the movement - which is of great importance, is not a fixed scheme but a melodic pattern which finalises the form of the composition (Judetz - Sirli, 2000:140).
 Therefore, one of the distinguishing features of Turkish music is that two makams having identical tonal structure are considered to be different depending on the typical melodic movement (Behar, C., 1987:132). For instance, the Husseyni and Muhajjer makams, in spite of their identical tone-series, are regarded as different because of their opposite direction of movement. The tone-series of the first makam is ascending, whereas the second is descending, which explains why these makams bear different names.

Husseyni makam
        
 Muhajjer makam

        Consequently, the Turkish theoreticians believe that makams are not only scales, but they are rules and principles of composition. (Hines, E., www.hinesmusic.com/What Are Makams.html).The names of makams have independent meanings and usually bear the names of regions, as well as personal names, such as Isfahan, Irak, Husseyni, Suz-i Dilara, Lalegyul, Gyulizar, and Gyuldeste.

        4.2 The function of tones in tone-series

        The function of the tones in the makam tone-series are similar to the function of the tones in western music notation scales. Namely, the tonal tone is the tone that ends the composition, and it is known as Durak (Durak = delay). In western scales, the dominant has a fixed position at the fifth tones. On the other hand, in makams, the dominant tone is the tone that forms the connection between the pentachord and the tetrachord (and vice versa). Thus, depending on the combination, the dominant named Gyuchlu (Güçlü = powerful) can take the fourth or fifth tones in the tone-series. The seventh tones that has the role of leading note is called Yeden (Yeden ) and bears the distance of one or half tones from the basic tone.

        4.3 Cadence

         The Turkish music tonal system consists of three types of cadence:
    1) authentic cadence, named Tam karar (Tam karar = full decision); as in western music, it ends with the tonic;
    2) semi-cadence - Yarim karar (Yarim karar  = semi decision), which ends with the dominant (fourth or fifth tones). The semi-cadence can rarely end with the third tones, or the tonic with the descending tone-series.
    3) hanging cadence - Asma karar (Asma karar = hanging decision), which may differ in all separate makams. This cadence expresses a weak feeling of conclusion and is treated as a sort of delay in movement, usually found at the second, fourth, sixth, or seventh tones.

        4.4. Key signatures in tone-series

        In addition to the classification in minor and major scales, the classification of scales in western music also rests on the key signatures.
It is interesting to note that in Turkish music, this type of classification is impossible due to the combined key signatures that many makams contain. In the orthographic depiction of these makams, the sharps follow the flats, whereas the order of the key signatures is identical with the one in western music (Özkan, H., 1987:77)

        4.5 Expanding the tone-series

There are three ways of expanding the tone-series in Turkish music:
1. Symmetrical expansion : when the lower tetrachord (or pentachord) is transferred to the upper tonic. In this case, the structure of the tone-series remains unaltered, but the names of some of the tones change (since in the second octave the tones acquire new names).
2. Creating a new tone-series  by adding a new tetrachord (or pentachord) to the dominant, a completely new scale is acquired.
3. Borrowing: a tetrachord (or pentachord) is borrowed from a neighboring makam. This triggers the creation of new tones that do not exist in the basic tone-series of the makam (Ozkan, H., 1987:75-6).

     5. Metric and rhythmical features

        In essence, rhythm in Turkish music is expressed through rhythmical schemes known as usuls. The usul is a rhythmic group consisting of tones with different duration. At the same time, the variation in loudness of the beats must be taken into account. According to loudness, tones are divided into strong, semi-strong and weak. The usul is often called "petrified state of time" (Özkan, H., 1987:561).
        In practice, the beats are used to determine the strong and weak times.  The beats have separate names composed of syllables such as dum, tek, te, ke, tek-ka, ta-hek. Dum and te are beats of the righthand on the right knee, and ka and ke are beats of the left hand on the left knee. During the beat ta-hek, both hands are lifted at the first syllable, and dropped on the knees at the second.
        In Turkish music performance, the rhythmic structure is usually emphasized by the use of a percussion instrument (Judetz, E., 2000:15).The basic rhythmical units in western music are binary and ternary. Their combination usually results in the creation of regular rhythmical units such as 2+2 or 3+3.
        Quite contrary to that, Turkish music is abundant with metrical units - around 124. By combining the simple rhythms, 80 complex rhythmic schemes (usuls) can be created. Their rhythm might be regular or irregular, such as 2+3, 2+2+3, 3+2+3 and 2+3+3+2 (www. Ses Sistemlerki Uzerine (Dr Hanefi Ozbek).htm). One of the most frequent rhythmical patterns in Turkish music is the 9/8 irregular rhythm known as Aksak usul.
         Usuls are classified in accordance to two categories:
1. according to the content: simple  and complex
2. according to size: small  and big

     6. The basic feature of Turkish music versus western music

         In addition to the horizontal segment - melody, western music contains a vertical segment - harmony.
         On the contrary, the basic principle of development in Turkish classical music can be described as cultivisation of the melodic aspect by means of microtonal makams. This accounts for the fact that polyphonic choir performance is not a common feature of Turkish music (Bartok, B., 1949)
         Therefore the creation of works in the western music system is based on the use of complex harmonies and polyphony, whereas Turkish music operates solely through the development of monodic melodic lines.

Bibliography:

Aksoy, Bulent. Orta Dogu Klasik Musikisinin Bir Merkezi: Istanbul. Osmanli Kultur ve Sanat. Istanbul
Bartok, Bela. 1949. Turkiye'de Halk Turkuleri Derlemeleri. Filarmoni, S.13.Ankara

Behar, Cem. 1987. Klasik Türk Musikisi üzerine denemeler. Istanbul: Bailam Yayinlari

Bolat Latif. Turkish Music. Internet, C:Windows/Desctop/Information on Turkish music. Htm
Demirer, M.: www.turkmusikisi.com

Dogrusöz, Nilgün. 1980. Geleneksel Türk Müziginde Makam ve Unsurlar (Osmanli Kültür ve Sanat). Istanbul: Yeni Türkiye Yayinlari
 

Yilmaz, Zeki. 2001. Türk Müsikisi Dersleri. Istanbul: Çaglar Yayinlari

Judetz, P. Eugenia - Sirli, A. Adriana. 2000. Sources Of 18th Century Music. Istanbul: Pan Yayincilik

Oransay:www.turkmusiki.com

Ozbek Hanefi. www. Ses Sistemleri Uzerine.htm

Özkan, Ismail Hakki. 1987. Türk Mûsikîsi Nazariyati ve Usûlleri - Kudüm Velveleleri. Istanbul: Ötüken Nesriyat.

Songar, Ayhan. 1988. Türk Müzigi Ile Bati Müziginin Ses Sistemlerinin Karsilastirilmasi. T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanliginca Ankara`da düzenlenen 1. Müzik Kongresi. 15. Haziran

Tanrikorur, Cinucen. 1998. Osmanli Devleti ve Medeniyeti Tarihi - II. Ed. E. Ihsanoglu. Istanbul: IRCICA
 

Tura, Yalçin. 1988. Türk Musikisinin Mes`eleleri. Istanbul: Pan Yayincilik
 

www.hinesmusic.com/What Are Makams.html
 

www.C:\W/.\Osmanli and the Great-Ottoman Turkish Civilization from Yeni Turkiye.ht
 
 


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 07:29 PM

My understanding is that Turkish makams (compositional scales in their music) use eighth tones (equivalent to one 'comma').

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: toadfrog
Date: 20 Apr 04 - 11:49 PM

A point about which I've always been curious: Are the "quarter tone" modes really all that different from what we are accustomed to? I've tried to ask several musicians who played Middle Eastern music, and most were not theoretically inclined. But one street musician explained that the music he played, basically Arabic, was in the harmonic minor with one or two notes either always or sometimes sharped or flatted by a quarter tone. That would be on the order of pulling a guitar string to produce a "blue note." Or comparable to "bending" sustained notes in Klezmer music, which appears to be influenced by Middle Eastern forms. It doesn't seem to mean that a genuinely different scale with different intervals is involved.

Can it be that that is all there is to the difference, or is there really a completely different theory? And if it is completely different, can anyone actually explain the difference?


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST,M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 05:11 AM

Dust to Dust - written by Dave Goulder> Performed by Martin Carthy is on his Landfall album. It is Locrian.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: harpgirl
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 07:41 PM

rebop


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 01:44 PM

leenia, you'll see in the file at the address cited that it's a lot less complicated if you get rid of those Ws, Hs, and 1/2s.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 01:30 PM

Nice story Leeneia, but not likely true. The "Greek" modes are also called "Church Modes" because were used by the composers of church music in the more than five hundred years before the era of common practice--the way that the modes were used was defined by rather strict rules--all within the boundaries of the classical composition of the day--which means that it was all written out--Neither names of the modes, nor the theory that dictated how they were used would have been known by untutored musicians--

The modal labels have only relatively recently(within the last hundred or so years) been used to analyze and describe folk melodies by musicologists--you don't need to know what mode a tune is in to learn it, and after you've learned it, it doesn't really matter much--


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 12:34 PM

Well, this is getting very complicated, what with all the W's, H's, b's, and 1/2's floating around.

Modes would be more fun if we realized that they were surely developed as a way to help musicians and singers learn new pieces more easily. In the past, paper/vellum was costly, inking music in was tedious, and few people could read it even when it was done. So surely modes were developed as a way to speed up the sounding-out and memorization of new chants, airs, and dances.

Picture a guy who plays C-recorder, where three fingers down produce the note G. He wants to share a song with a bass player, who produces a C when he has three fingers down. So the two can't communicate by sharing fingerings. They can't read music. So the first one plays the new tune a few times and says "It's Phrygian." The second gets the tune in his head and goes off to practice, keeping in mind that a Phrygian tune will use certain predictable notes. Voila! The next day they are playing it at the great hall of the next noble house down the road.

We should all leave our computers and make up some tunes in these modes, particularly the ones that have been almost forgotten, and play them with our friends.

PS I tried "Lemon Tree, Very Pretty," and it's not in the Lydian mode as stated above. It's in the key of F.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 12:11 PM

In file COMBCOD3.TXT at www.erols.com/olsonw you will find sources for 303 dorian tunes.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 09:07 AM

I was thrilled a few days ago to discover that a Georgia Sea Islands tune ("Who'll Water My Flowers") which had a strange haunting sound about it was pure Dorian. I picked it out on the piano -- thanks to Mudcat. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST,Master McGrath
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 07:32 PM

The only locrian tune I know of is Dave Goulder's Dust to Dust. Anybody know any others?


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM

Extension of the 'Greek' modes to scales of from 1 to 12 semitones is given in file GREEKMOD.TXT at www.erols.com/olsonw. There are 67 possible ones of them of which 38 have been observed. However, also observed are 143 modes that aren't in the 'Greek' mode domain.


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 May 02 - 09:58 AM

I'll just refresh this instead...........


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: toadfrog
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 10:29 PM

Being almost untutored in musical theory, I hesitate to put my $.02 in here, but it seems to me Bronson has a very interesting article on the subject ("Folk Song and the Modes,") with some useful rules of thumb for non-trained persons like me. Someone else doubtless can explain it better than I. But I can't find a reference to it in any of the accessible threads. Has it been discussed?


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 06:02 PM

OK Jeri, we'll continue this in PM! I have played it backwards, different rhythms, with and without accidentals, I've refreshed my memory on Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart...I'm comin' to get ya! *BG* But first I'll check that name, and then get another hint...


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Subject: RE: MODES FOR MUDCATTERS: A SYNTHESIS PRIMER
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 05:55 PM

MT,

When accacompanied by instruments, our ear actually tells us to sing in non-tempered fashion(people run into intonation problems for this reason)--also, though the fretted instruments are fretted, you can de-temper by simply ear tuning to an open chord--another thing about fretted instruments, you intuitively bend the pitches on the frets to alter the pitch to what your ear tells you it should be--Ever played leads on a guitar in closed positions, only to discover that , when you played open chords, you were out of tune?

If you think that this whole business would mean that everyone was in slightly different tune, you would be right--tempering provides standardization, which has not necessarily been there before--in Turkish classical music, the fretted instruments have movable frets, and the players decide for themselves which pitch is the right one for a lot of the scale steps--it works because they don't use chords, and they like the tension that dissonances create--


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