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a mnemonic for the modes

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Snuffy 07 Jul 06 - 10:05 AM
leeneia 07 Jul 06 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 06 - 08:51 AM
leeneia 06 Jul 06 - 02:12 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Jul 06 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Rowan 05 Jul 06 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Jun 06 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Jun 06 - 05:37 PM
KenBrock 16 Jun 06 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Jun 06 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Val 16 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM
M.Ted 15 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 08:17 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 Jun 06 - 04:07 PM
M.Ted 15 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Val 15 Jun 06 - 01:45 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 06 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Jun 06 - 09:37 AM
pavane 15 Jun 06 - 07:26 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 Jun 06 - 06:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 05:37 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 05:11 AM
pavane 15 Jun 06 - 02:22 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 10:16 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM
Artful Codger 14 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:46 PM
M.Ted 14 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 07:00 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Jun 06 - 06:33 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 14 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM
M.Ted 14 Jun 06 - 01:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Jun 06 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 08:53 PM
Artful Codger 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jun 06 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 06 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Ken Brock 13 Jun 06 - 03:18 PM
Tootler 13 Jun 06 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 13 Jun 06 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 10:05 AM

Basque music is a bit too strait-laced for my tastes


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:25 AM

I don't know anything about Basque music, but the erotic minor is pretty common, especially in dance music. Of course, I'm referring to older music. I doubt if Britney Spears has ever heard of it.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 08:51 AM

The erotic minor would be the typical mode of Basque music, I guess?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Jul 06 - 02:12 PM

Hi, Jack. "scales in minor keys used one set of notes when ascending and a different set when descending"

That was just in some music of the Romantic era - Chopin, Debussy and them.

My piano teacher told me there were three minors - the melodic, the harmonic, and the romantic. Since the first two name convey nothing to me, I call them the 1) "ordinary" and 2) the "erotic" or "belly-dance," depending on my mood.

If you take the C scale, the ordinary minor based on it is:

A B C D E F G A

The erotic is:

A B C D E F G# A

It's amazing what that G# does to people.

I've quit thinking about the romantic minor. To me, it's just another thing that makes romantic music so muddy. Others are free to differ with me, of course.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 10:03 PM

I am just going to have to keep re-reading this until I get it - preferably with a chart by my hand showing the application of the two nomenclature systems for modes discussed above. It looks as if I will also need the chart I made for myself showing the order of accession of sharps and flats.

I ahve read teh Oxford dictionary of music explanation of modes, and will re-read it, but as I recollect it it assumed that (or at least didn't explain otherwise) modes WERE (ignoring temerament for the purpose) the relationships defined by where on the C major scale you started the ascending set of notes.

End of insomnia now (I hope): 3 am in the UK


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 07:50 PM

Some people spend a lot of time at their keyboards. I started reading this thread to find good mnemonic and found several but the rest of the discussion has been fascinating. I forget who made the point about beginners and simplified stories but it reminded me of when I was teaching myself to play the concertina. This was relatively late in life, well after I had bought and listened intently to Glen Gould's collection of the Well Tempered Klavier and was thus aware of Bach's intent on the piano, but I had to learn by ear, as I didn't (and still don't) read music beyond the finger-counting level.

It was a 20 key anglo in C/G, with no accidentals. Most of the tunes in sessions seemed to be in ... I was about to write "D, G and A major or their relative minors." As several of the instruments were button accordions (A,D,G), concertinas (English) or concert flutes (all 'modern' and thus tuned in mean temperament) I suppose I should be more precise but you get my drift. Although I had a good sense of relative pitch (being a member of a rather accomplished group singing a cappella harmonies) I could follow the tunes OK but couldn't pick which key they used. Not wishing to cause trouble I attempted only the tunes I could play on the G row. This meant I kept a sharp eye on which row my ADG accordion mate was using whenever the tune changed.

I remember one session I had to lean past a very senior and accomplished fiddler to see whether my mate's fingers were on the inside (G) row or the middle (D) row. I was in luck! He was playing the inside row, so I could join in.
"Ah, G!" I muttered as I sat back.
"A minor!" the senior and accomplished fiddle player sternly corrected me.

I kept on trying to play the tune but I was now confused. I had been exposed to just enough music theory to know that scales in minor keys used one set of notes when ascending and a different set when descending, Yet, a diatonic melodeon in C with only one row of buttons could play tunes in minor keys (mostly described as "D minor" but some described as "A minor") as well as tunes in "C major". What was going on? An orchestral violinist who also happened to be a folkie fiddler told me about temperament, scales, modes and keys. I was away at last.

In Melbourne at the time we had Chris Wendt, who played highland pipes, fiddle and anglo concertina. His favourite concertina was the same as mine, a 20 key Lachenal, but he had retuned it so that it played in just temperament with D as the tonic and the notes in modern pitch, ie A=440. It was the sweetest concertina I've ever heard but he could only ever play it solo. If anyone else tried to accompany him (even fiddlers) it usually sounded off because either their instrument was mean tempered (but otherwise pleasant) or their ears were not attuned justly.

Since then I've had many occasions to get inside my concertina and, on several of these, was accompanied by Geoff Wooff who played English concertina (and Northumbrian pipes)and repaired lots of different concers; these days he makes and plays uillean pipes. Whoever it was in the thread above who made the comment about the difference between electronic tuners' versions of pitch and a good ear's version of 'correct pitch', they certainly spoke the truth.

But that reminds me of a paper I heard of, 30 years ago now, that made a point I suspect some of you may find interesting, even relevant. Someone went and did the Percy Grainger thing and recorded solo singers, from around the boondocks of England, singing unaccompanied. Unlike Percy (who transcribed the precise notation of every minute variation in pitch and timing, setting the cat amongst the academic pigeons) the person then fed the recorded singing through a frequency analyser.

According to my (now ancient) memory, they found the recordings split into two groups. Those singers who had grown up exposed to pop music or classical music had overtones of thirds and fifths in their (solo) voices, while those who'd grown up without exposure to such music had overtones of fourths and sevenths. This seems interesting, in the context of this thread. Does anyone have any memory of such a finding?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 06:01 PM

> To say "Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these
> intonation systems" seems to me be be starting to border on a matter of 'Faith', almost
> a Religion!

No, it's a matter of perception. If you know what those modes are you can identify them regardless of what intonation scheme is being used. And you can then *use* what your ears just told you: for example, if you noticed that a tune you were playing was in E dorian, you'd know that you could switch to/from another tune in D major on a lever harp without any lever-flipping delay. The precise system used to tune the harp would make no difference to whether you could pull that trick off or not.

You couldn't do it if you insisted thal all possible intervals in both E dorian and D major had be just-intonation pure, but equally you couldn't even get all intervals *in either key in isolation* to be just-intonation pure without redesigning the harp to have a zillion extra strings.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 05:37 PM

> I had gathered [...] that "Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths)" WAS the original
> Western Music temperament, WAS the one used in 'Church Modes', and WAS the one called
> 'Just'!!!

You gathered wrong. In just intonation the frequency ratio of a major third (say C to E) is 5:4.
In the Pythagorean system, all notes are derived from successive fifths.   So to get from C to E you have to do that four times, and the ratio you end up with is 81:64, which sounds pretty horrible if you have to listen to it for any length of time. In the Middle Ages that didn't matter since a major third was considered as a dissonance that needed resolving anyway, what really did matter was getting fourths and fifths to sound good. Mediaeval harpists always tune that way. (English musicians may have been an exception, they got into thirds much earlier than anybody else, but they didn't leave any guidelines about how to play their stuff).

By the Baroque, thirds and sixths were considered consonant and bare fourths and fifths were unusual, so musicians used various "meantone" systems that made thirds sound close to just intonation and made fifths sound rather a mess. These systems were often fixed in hardware, as with pipe organs or flutes.

In between, Renaissance musicians tried a mind-boggling range of alternatives, so many that it is hardly ever possible to be sure what the "right" tuning system for any piece really is.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: KenBrock
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 05:09 PM

I don't play loud music any longer.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 04:51 PM

We still haven't come up with a usable mnemonic. Where are all those people who are good at verses, puns, etc?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM

Foolestroupe wrote:
"of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes."

It CAN'T EVER!!!...!!!!!!!!...You are trying to MIX TWO mathematically INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS OF INTONATION!
------------

Uh, yep. 'Ats whut I's tryin' ta say. T'anks fer hammerin' it home.

---------------------------------
Oh, and for some perverse fun, when you have an instrument with courses of multiple strings (mandolin, 12-string guitar, lute, piano), try tuning one set of strings to even temperment & the doubled (or tripled) set using more perfect harmonic intervals. That way, you can annoy EVERYONE while still saying your instrument is "in tune". [grin]


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM

Mansoor Zalzal was the first singer/songwriter/guitarist
superstar--which is to say he played his oud and sang his songs in the Court of the Celebrated Haroun al Rashid--he died in or about 790, which, I guess, could qualify as very,very, early middle ages--at any rate, rather than being a theorist, he was a great player, and he refined fingering techniques which are the basis of a lot of what we still do on our axes today--

He claim to fame wasn't scales, exactly, but I am guessing that what Jack is talking is a note that he invented, called "The Wusta of Zalzal"--this is a neutral third, halfway between the major and minor----this is the note that some ethnomusicologists claim that the "Blue Note" is supposed to be--

I don't know enough about the Highand pipes to know if this is right or not, but I am taking it that Jack is saying that they feature a neutral third--a blue note!


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 08:17 PM

"of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes."

It CAN'T EVER!!!

Because unless the frets on your guitar were SPECIALLY cut to the EXACT correct places mathematically according to JUST intonation, your Luthier would have merely used the 'normal table of intervals' built for 'EVEN 1/12 TEMPERED' guitars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are trying to MIX TWO mathematically INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS OF INTONATION!

And btw, I will extremely surprised if the 'normal even tempered tables' did not also contain subtle 'modifications' for shifting the correct theoretical mathematical upper fret placings, to compensate for the practical effects of shortening the length of practical vibrating strings by stopping them on the frets (thus also slightly stretching the strings and changing their tension!), so that the instrument just (sorry!) 'sounds sweeter' at the higher frets!

Oh...

The word 'just' for that method of tuning/intonation came from the same greek word from which we get 'Justice' - and basically meant 'an even distribution' ... confused yet? ;-)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM

"and simple universal 'Rules'"

typo -> "any simple universal 'Rules'"


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:49 PM

"Do the people who are praising "just intonation" really know what it is? It isn't used in any folk tradition I can think of. "

I wasn't 'praising' it! The problem with people flinging around terms willy nilly, is what those who HAVE passed formalised study regimes tell me, is that if you get the terms confused, you won't pass the exams, but you can still keep running around rabbiting on in a misleading way, sounding like you KNOW what you are talking about - I point to Iraq for a current non-musical example!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"isn't used in any"

Well, it WAS in history, depending on the historical period! That is IMPOSSIBLE nowadays in the modern world if you have instruments (such as the once extremely widespread piano accordion!) which are specifically tuned to BE NOT "JUST", and are manufactured with the intent to be 'played in tune' with all the others designed to be played in 'even 1/12 intonation'! - which I thought I had well and truly 'Shambled to Death!' (sorry!). I thought I had made it quite clear that 'Humpty-Dumpty-ing' Terms out of history to mean anything the user currently wants is not clarifying at all, merely obfuscation!.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Words DO change meanings over time, and their fields of use are dying out, or being newly created: viz, Engine, Engineer... but those other than the uneducated ignorant layman know quite clearly which field they work in, and exactly what the words mean for their purposes. No educated Inter-disciplinarian thoughtlessly drags the meaning from one field into another!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Experiments have shown that when people with flexible-pitch instruments like fiddles are left to their own instincts, they tend to use Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths), which is quite different."

I do not have the expertise and related precise experience to argue with this! I must be confused, but I had gathered in my considerable educational travels (including formalised study programs) that "Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths)" WAS the original Western Music temperament, WAS the one used in 'Church Modes', and WAS the one called 'Just'!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same"

Well, what most modern instruments (intended to be tuned with electronic tuners, anyway!) are BUILT to, and designed to be played with most other instruments built today, IS the temperament that involves equally dispersing the 'comma' of a few Hz equally among the octave - or precisely, defining all the semitones as 100 cents each. To say 'Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same', is of course just an unhelpful tautology!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To say "Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these intonation systems" seems to me be be starting to border on a matter of 'Faith', almost a Religion! It really would be more fair and reasonable to say that 'gapped scales with these defined patterns of Tone/Semitone(@@@) distribution sound similar in all intonation systems to untrained ears': saying anything else allegedly precise is 'fighting a semantic propaganda war'!

(@@@)
Of course these words are defined differently in terms of the 'frequency range gaps' in each system, so you are just comparing apples and oranges anyway! And because of the differing temperings, BY DEFINITION, the actual pitches of 'notes with the same name' differ in frequency! And to CONFUSE things even more, practical instruments TUNED WITH EQUAL TEMPERAMENT, do not have all the note pitches tuned to these precise figures anyway - they are 'spread' for very good reasons, i.e. on many keyboard instruments the 'bass end' is flattened, and the 'treble end' raised to avoid nasty sounds!

I do not consider that I have sufficient knowledge to tune my own piano accordions. Tuning real instruments in the real world is ALL COMPROMISE! If you let some uneducated lout with an 'electronic tuner' loose on a valuable instrument, they will often stuff it up big time! I had some 'alleged international Hurdy Gurdy expert' hack into my Symphonia (without my knowledge or consent, I point out!) with a razor blade to 'fix' a subtle flattening (of about 2 mm) in one small spot on the wheel! His 'efforts' required that the original maker turn up a whole new wheel on the lathe! (And this clown was MOST offended when I told him to initiate a sexually self-oriented method of locomotion!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"There is some study of psychoacoustics, and how some frequencies do interact differently with the human nervous system than others"

And there is similar work on 'colours' - we have had some such threads here too - and the outcome seems to be that each individual reacts personally, not to and simple universal 'Rules'.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 04:07 PM

Northumbrian pipes haven't been around forever. In their present form they only date from the end of the 18th century. Mixolydian chanters are older, and must have been played in Northumbria before the advent of the Northumbrian pipes. That tune looks to me like an *early* 18th century one, the sort of thing you find in the earliest Scottish manuscripts.

Do the people who are praising "just intonation" really know what it is? It isn't used in any folk tradition I can think of. Experiments have shown that when people with flexible-pitch instruments like fiddles are left to their own instincts, they tend to use Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths), which is quite different. And if you are trying to get the most out of an instrument like the hammered dulcimer by emphasizing pure thirds, you'll probably use meantone, which is neither just nor Pythagorean. And the Highland bagpipe is wildly different again, with its closest analogue being a scale developed by the Arab theorist Zalzal in the early Middle Ages.

Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same, but a mode like Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these intonation systems you play it in.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM

Tune your piano using Just intonation, Artful Codger, then tell me if anyone notices--the changes in tuning and temperament were made to accomodate the development of the piano--so you could play chords without having the overtones clash too much.

As to your mixolydian mode--is it really a mixolydian mode, or is someone just playing a dominant scale?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 01:45 PM

Foolestroupe wrote:
"There is a music cult that claims that each scale has its own 'emotion' - "

Personally, I always thought this had more to do with the instruments the tune is played on. IF you confine yourself to a "standard orchestra", then playing in different key signatures will emphasize the resonance of each instrument-type differently (I'm assuming a typical flute has a strong natural resonance in one key, and a typical violin has strong natural resonance in another key).

There is some study of psychoacoustics, and how some frequencies do interact differently with the human nervous system than others, but I suspect (speaking out of ignorance here) that for this to have maximum effect, the instrument would have to be "tuned" to the nervous system of the specific listener. One person's brain waves are probably a little bit different frequencies than another.
--------------

As for the use of modes, to get a thorough understanding one probably ought to study a LOT of Music History because it appears the use of the word "Mode" has changed over time and with different cultures.

On the other hand, it shouldn't be THAT difficult to grasp the REALLY BASIC concept. Then if a reader/student wants, he or she can delve further. I'd hate to discourage someone's curiosity just because they don't have several semesters to study postgraduate-level comparitive musicology. This discussion has given some great hints of directions to pursue.

As for the differences in temperment, it is something of a shame that many hobbyist-level musicians rarely think that even-temperment might not be the "Only & Best" method to tune their instruments. I know it drives me bonkers when I tune strings (guitar & harp) using an electronic tuner - it never sounds right (especially the B's, when tuning in key of C). And of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes. So I always tweak by ear after using the black box to get "close" to correct. I don't worry too much about exactly WHICH temperment I'm using, but I know some changes get the instrument sounding closer to "right".

Playing harp is actually somewhat liberating. I just have to repeat the old adage "Harpers spend half their life tuning, and the other half playing out of tune" - and I realize I can stop fretting about it! [grin]


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 10:42 AM

Pavane has copied "Jockey Lay up in the Hay Loft" quite correctly as it appears in the Northumbrian Minstrelsey, except he forgot to make the first F in the final bar into Fnat. It is written with a single sharp bit the F's are modified to Fnat & fnat in the last bar of each section.

The tune was originally a Northumbrian Pipe tune and Northumbrian Pipes are a very different beast from the Highland Pipes - or from almost any other bagpipe, for that matter.

The original chanter had eight holes and played a single octave in G major from G to g. During the 18th. and 19th. centuries, keys were added to the chanter which extended the range of the pipes both below G and above g and added some accidentals. This was mainly done so that pipers could access the Northumbrian Fiddle repertoire. The modern "standard" chanter has seven keys and has a range of an octave and sixth from D to b' (written) and is capable of playing in D and G plus associated modes.

The Fnat in "Jockey Lay up in the Hayloft" is a little odd as Fnat is not one of the accidentals normally found on a seven key chanter, normally, they are C# and d#, but given that the type of development that has happened to the Northumbrian Pipes is usually subject to considerable experiment along the way, it is not inconceivable that pipes with Fnat were made at some time.

Modern pipes are available with up to 17 keys which gives a fully chromatic two octave range.

If you want to find out more about Northumbrian Pipes click here

For a sound clip of Northumbrian Pipes click here. Scroll down to find the sound clips - available as either real audio or mp3.

I love the sound of the Northumbrian Pipes - much more attractive than the Highland Pipes, IMHO; but then I live in North East England :-)

Geoff


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 09:37 AM

I say that someone was simply being creative and developed a tune with an unusual set of notes. A tune doesn't have to fit into a mode, a key or any other musicological category.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:26 AM

It only got 'into C' when I transposed it to clarify for my own purposes! The pasted tune was the original version I received.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 06:47 AM

Jack - no argument on your analysis.

One of the 'tricks' for understanding how tunes get 'transformed' is that of 'note substitution'. Octave swaps(@@@) are the most common, but fifth (and fourth - depending on your viewpoint!) swaps are easy too, especially on some instruments.

(@@@)
After the octave swap has occurred, a common path of growth of difference is to start modifying the notes next to where the 'swap' took place (think twiddling your fingers on a whistle). This 'growth path for change' can also occur around the fifth 'swap'.

"acquired a few decorative F sharps"

When a tune 'changes instruments', some 'accidentals' are easy to add for decorative twiddles depending on the new instrument being used.

As for what 'mode' it is in NOW, it ain't!

It has become, for want of a better word, what some may wish to call, 'multimodal!!!' - or you could just say that it 'has evolved its own particular gapped scale'...

One CAN get too pedantic! :-)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 06:25 AM

I don't see where "Jockey Lay Up in the Hayloft" ever goes into C - looks like a G mixolydian tune that has acquired a few decorative F sharps over the years. I would guess it was originally a pipe tune for a mixolydian chanter and got the low D and the F sharps when fiddlers took it up.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 05:37 AM

If you think I'm pedantic - I'll give you more information that you really think you need to know... :-)

Explains it all MUCH better than I can.... :-)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 05:11 AM

I'll leave it to the 'experts' - I'm just a pedantic amateur...
;-)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 02:22 AM

So can one of the experts now tell me the mode used in 'Jockey Lay up in the Hayloft"?

If played on (mostly) the white note row, it starts on C, and most phrases end on a B. But it then flattens the B in the last bar and ends on B flat!.

Here it is in the original key, using the notes of the scale of G, except for flattening the F in the last bar
(Hope I typed it right)

X:1
T: Jockey Lay Up in the Hay Loft
M:9/8
S:Northumbrian Minstrelsy
K:G
G2B2G2 G2B2G2 F4 D2| G2B2G2 G4 B2 c2A2F2|
G2B2G2 G2B2G2 F4 D2| =F2G2A2 =f4 d2 c2A2F2::
Bcd2B2 ABc2A2 B4 G2| Bcd2B2 c2A2d2 c2A2f2|
Bcd2B2 ABc2A2 B4 G2| F2G2A2 =f4 d2 c2A2F2:|


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:16 PM

"On a just-intoned instrument, transpose a tune by a second or third. By purist standards this is the equivalent of harmonic heresy. Yet most people will hardly notice anything more than that you have changed key - they will remain largely oblivious to the microtonal changes in the intervals with respect to the tonal center. Then play the tune in a different mode, keeping the tonal center the same. They will instantly notice the fundamental change in character/mood.

That being the case, the modern shift to even temperament does not cause a reinterpretation of "mode". "

ARGH!!!!
Apples and oranges, or maybe 'cloth ears'?...

Sorry I have to be busy for a few days...


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM

"(Speaking of "old words for new concepts", what about the naming of Latin liturgical modes after Greek ones, when the Greek concept of mode bears little relation? ;-)"

Yep! With you there. And since we don't have anything earlier than the Greeks - who were rabbiting on about 'older times', how do we know THEY didn't stuff it up too?
~~~~~~~~
"It's useful to have the historical perspective, but such limited notions are not very helpful"

Well to PROPERLY understand 'Science' - STILL a branch of Philosophy! - you must NOT encourage Society as a whole to mindlessly discard(@@@) all the old 'failed theories' such as 'Philostogen', etc, nor indeed wilfully discard the whole box and dice of 'Evolution Theory' and sit mindlessly chanting "Intelligent Design!", just cause that's easier for SOME people to follow....

:-P

(@@@)
Forgetting old 'wrong paths' turns Science into just another 'Faith Based Philosophy', as we can no longer PROVE that other 'guesses' were tried, and were shown NOT to work satisfactorally...

~~~~~~~~~~
"wants to recognise a Mixolydian tune when he hears it, or needs to play a C Dorian accompaniment on a particular instrument - When teaching someone to ride a bike, do you expatiate on power conversion?"

Ah, yes, ... "Lies to Children!" (telling total beginners only a simplified version!)

I had already covered that, I thought, in my remarks about 'Modern-Pseudo-Modes', but "Lies to Children" surely only is a 'Starting Point' in a real Musical Education?!!! :-)

And as long as your 'student' doesn't end up 'knowing it all' in utter misguided ignorance, and then start trying to misguidedly impress those who know even less... Learning is a life-long process...


(Spellchecker Humour; Mixolydian -> Misleading!)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM

I'm a pragmatist, not a purist. The meaning of "mode" and attendant musical concepts continuously evolved throughout the medieval times and up through the present day. What has remained constant has been the relation of the named modes to particular intervalic structures. I'm certainly not being "VERY misleading" in explaining modes from this perspective. The fundamental character of a mode derives from the intervalic structure relative to the tonal center; intonation systems have an effect, but since there was never a single intonation system in use, there never was a single Dorian mode whose character was primarily dependent on a specific intonation system.

This can be very easily proved: On a just-intoned instrument, transpose a tune by a second or third. By purist standards this is the equivalent of harmonic heresy. Yet most people will hardly notice anything more than that you have changed key - they will remain largely oblivious to the microtonal changes in the intervals with respect to the tonal center. Then play the tune in a different mode, keeping the tonal center the same. They will instantly notice the fundamental change in character/mood.

That being the case, the modern shift to even temperament does not cause a reinterpretation of "mode". (Speaking of "olds words for new concepts", what about the naming of Latin liturgical modes after Greek ones, when the Greek concept of mode bears little relation? ;-)

So pardon me if my remarks are directed at helping practical musicians, playing modern instruments according to modern conventions for the pleasure of real people. It's useful to have the historical perspective, but such limited notions are not very helpful to one who wants to recognize a Mixolydian tune when he hears it, or needs to play a C Dorian accompaniment on a particular instrument. When teaching someone to ride a bike, do you expatiate on power conversion?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:46 PM

Don't fret! Temper, Temper!

:-)



I'll get me hat...


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM

Just as a point of information, fretted instruments often had, and occasionally still have, movable frets--often, they were only intended to play music that related to a single fundamental or tonic pitch, so the frets and could be tuned to uneven intervals without a problem--think about banjos or open tuned guitars--they play in only one key, so you can tune open strings to perfect, rather than tempered fifths(and, in fact, deliberately or intuitively, players often do)-There is no inherent need for tempering, just because an instrument is fretted--


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 07:00 AM

Giok,

Wasn't Lydia "the Tattoed Lady"?



I'll get me hat...


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM

Jack - you seem to have a wider and more deep Musical Education than I - I am just a 'generalist'.

"The point is, what do you want the modal system *for*?"

Ah! :-) Everybody wants it, like some 'token of the true cross' to prove that they are much better than others... :-)
~~~~~~

"saying melodeon players simply shouldn't play tunes in modes where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2?"

You used that WORD again - which has so many confusing differing meanings... :-)

No, I am not saying that - but the Word 'Mode' in Music Theory/History has some very restricted meanings - and I use the plural advisedly - if you have been following this torrent of words, you SHOULD understand why, cause it meant apparently different things to people in different periods of history!!!

OK, I'll agree that these players may be trying to IMITATE something like that!!! But melodeon players (or any other Musician who wants to be taken seriously) 'playing instruments where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2' should not attempt to delude us, or themselves that they are doing something seriously 'OLD' and - Shut your eyes!!! 'TRADITIONAL'!!!! by pretending to play in Modes!!!..... If they DO insist on trying that on, some people may well chuckle and mutter the naughty 'W' word under our breaths!
:-)

The trouble is that IF we insist on degrading the words used to describe precise things, then the words end up having no real meaning! Which is what Lewis Carrol was satirising with the Humpty Dumpty quote I used above.

Take for example the current argument about wanting "Intelligent Design" to be taught in "Science" Classes. "ID" can NEVER be part of Science(@@@), as it is a 'Belief System'! I don't wish to STOP teaching of ID in schools, but please put it in the correct place, in the 'Philosophy' subject - the Study of 'Belief Systems'. WHAT? You don't want 'Philosophy' taught as a real subject cause there are too many 'subversive ideas'? Subversive to what? YOUR Absolutist 'Belief System' (Narrow minded Religion)???
:-)

~~~~~~~
(@@@)
Oh, all right! 'Science' IS a 'Belief System' ;-) but founded on certain very strict Rules which involve 'ONLY objectively examining the (physical) evidence before us'. All 'Religions' are 'Belief Systems' too, but they are based on the exact antithetical 'Basic Belief System' - they DO NOT QUESTION, but only BLINDLY ACCEPT (you are with me or against me!) the given thesis AS A MATTER OF FAITH! Pity that some cults of Politics (also based on systems of Beliefs!) are trying that path now...

OK, so I can get very pedantic...

But if you want to play 'Modal', just exactly what sort of music do you want to DO? If you have only the vaguest of inexplicable ideas (in terms that others UNDERSTAND using words with already well established meanings, that you think just sound 'trendy') about that...
Nothing wrong with Music that sounds vaguely 'Sorta-Mode-Like', really... :-)
Just don't try to pretend that you are upholding some 'Ancient Music Tradition' that way...

Now... Anybody want a serious discussion on 'What is Folk Music?'

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:33 AM

I don't play like my Aunt Lydia
G.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM

With my historical precursor of the Hurdy Gurdy - the Symphonia, I can tune the chanter stop pegs to any pitch I want, then the drone string to any of these I want. You can stuff around with the 'fifth and beats' game to get real 'Just tuning' or use a very expensive electronic tuner set up FOR 'Just' tuning - but if you use a 'normal electronic Tuner', you will always get it 'Even Tempered'!

If I want to play with any other muso with a 'normal modern instrument' I have to tune it back to normal, so it's not worth the bother unless you play it solo all the time - and frankly, it always plays So Low, you can hardly hear it on its own in a big room anyway! :-P

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So if [...] and all the instruments were in tune with each other (no matter what "key" they happened to be in")

As Charlie Brown said... ARRGHH!!!!

"all the instruments were in tune with each other" would only be the case if they were all MADE as a ensemble SET - examples still exist in Collections of such Sets, but no random grab bag of itinerant strolling musicians dare DREAM that they COULD EVER BE in 'pitch tune', as well as 'mode tune'...


"if you take a simple folk harp with no levers and tune it to a C major scale you end up with modes following the classical nomenclature system: where each mode starts on a different note but is using the notes of the C major scale: "

Arrrggggh!!

Not if you tune it with an Even Tempered Electronic Tuner, you don't! OK, CLOSE, but no cigar! You only get 'Modern-Pseudo-Modes'! The resonances are all 'wrong' as they JUST (sorry!) are not 'Just Tempered'... you CAN play tunes in all 24 major and Minor scales on it (except where you lack the necessary chromatic 'accidentals') and they will all sound nice - no jarring sounds. That IS the whole point of the maths behind 'Even Temper'!

There is a music cult that claims that each scale has its own 'emotion' - perhaps true when using 'Just' instruments, but technically impossible (but not mentally impossible - the brain is wonderful!) for 'Even' instruments, you need to really understand the mathematics and physics to realise that this can be only BS, as all the intervals are 'EVEN', and when we threw away the 'Just tunings' - those 'emotional sounds' went with the bathwater. Ok, if you really suck hard on that funny smelling cigarette, you CAN convince yourself of anything 'emotional'...

OK, OK, OK, I can feel a tiny 'emotional' difference between a Major and Minor, but for each of all the 12 Major and all 24 (Harmonic and ...) scales, I only possess a normal 'relative' and not a precise 'absolute' 'pitch sense', so can't really feel much emotional difference. Now when you play a particular PIECE of music, I can feel 'emotions', but that often has more to do with use of particular pitch interval progressions, or combinations of particular instruments.

But, there is perhaps an exception - if you have acapella voices that are VERY well trained, the human voice has a tendency to be attracted to 'Just' pitch differences (tunings) [all to do simply with the Physics {Maths} of vibrating objects, as first accredited to Pythagoras], unless you have been thoroughly 'culturised' to reject that for 'Even'. Ever wondered why SOME acapella groups give you a different buzz? You need accurate measuring instruments to tell, because most people's ears are not that good (and the human mind is exceptionally good at forcing our perceptions of reality into predetermined models - ha! nearly said 'Modes'!), but there IS an emotional difference :-).


"But you CAN drive a American car in Australia or Great Britain!"

Yes, BUT! IF you don't want to keep running into things, like other cars, you'll have to be sensitive enough to accept that you must drive on the OTHER side of the road, and then you'll find that the driver's seat is inconveniently not positioned where you can easily see down the centre of the road, but can see only the gutter... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The curse of being a well trained modern musician, is that you have forced your brain to automatically adjust to 'Even Temper', so that when you raise or lower the reference pitch by a few Hz, the scale still sounds the same... When I was a youngster and entering Eisteddfods, my teacher transposed all the pieces I had to sing, into some really weird keys with lots of 'fly specs' everywhere, just to get the tune (alright - Mode, in ONE sense of meaning!) into EXACTLY the right pitch range to suit my vocal range, and thus was not forcing me to sing other than right in the center of my natural range! She WAS a very good teacher, so maybe THAT's why I often did pretty well in the comps...

:-0


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM

Replying to Foolestroupe's last note:

: In the days before "Major & Minor" took over, instruments were built ONLY with "Just Tuning"

That's muddled history. Major/minor tonality and equal temperament developed independently. The earliest equally tempered instruments were lutes and guitars before 1600 - making a fretted chordal instrument any other way is pretty near impossible. Equal temperament only got to be general practice some time in the 19th century, by which point major/minor tonality had been established for 100 years. And the tunings people used before the era of equal temperament were very varied - baroque-era "meantone" and its variants make A flat higher than G sharp, whereas mediaeval "Pythagorean" tuning does the opposite. Look up "archicembalo" to see how seriously some people took this.

The point is, what do you want the modal system *for*? I've given a lot of reasons why you might want to know the conventional version of it (Glareanus via Zarlino to Bronson) when performing traditional music under *any* tuning system. Can Foolestroupe give an example of where his/her much more complicated and restrictive system (whatever it is) does something helpful?

As far as I can see, the main effect of it would be discouragement - is he/she saying melodeon players simply shouldn't play tunes in modes where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2?


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM

"In this philosophy, the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale. Melodies were usually constructed with this as a "home". Melodic phrases generally started on this note and either resolved to 1/5 higher (or 1/4 lower) - an "open" phrase, or resolved to the home note - a "closed" phrase."

"MIDDLE note of the tune"

Here I ASS-U-ME that you REALLY mean 'MIDDLE note of the pitch RANGE of the tune'

Hmm, I'm no longer a teenager, so I'm no longer an expert, but what I have learned was that it was the 'ending note' that defined the Mode. Some tunes did start there too.

"the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale."

This sounds more like the 'Plagal Mode', not the 'Authentic Mode'... the latter from which the 'Major & Minor scales' evolved.

Part of the 'Musica Ficta' game involved knowing just when you flattened a (usually seventh) pitch, and being not confused by mixing 'Authentic & Plagal' Modes.

Earlier real 'Modal Music' was strangled and mangled to fit into the new evolving 'music' based on the 'King of Instruments' - the keyboard, as has been mentioned above.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Dorian mode is recognisably itself whether you render it in equal temperament, Pythagorean, the classical Turkish system, third-comma mean-tone or whatever. "

I'm sorry, but all I can say is 'Humpty dumpty strikes again!' - I'd really like to see and hear a demonstration of this thesis - and it can't be in midi - my (normal PC) midi player can only play in Even Temperament! The basic 'Tone - Semitone' spacing arrangement might be DEFINED to be 'itself', I suppose, once one has got one's ear 'calibrated' for each of the differing microtonaly tuned systems... but of course you have compared apples with oranges, because the technical BASIS of the definitions of 'Tone & Semitone' is redefined (look at the oscilloscope and measure the frequencies!) in each system you mention...
~~~~~~~~~~~~

"many instruments, such as violins and trombones, are not tempered"

Sigh! If only THAT were true - you can play in any temper you want on those, you just have to blow, or finger the 'naturally occurring Just' notes to the even temper... See "Even Tempered Trombones", is an OLD Brass band Players JOKE! above.. you can even play in a bad temper if you want... sorry.. :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are playing with modern 'Even (1/12) Temper' instruments you have to discard all thoughts of 'Ancient Modes', and start all over again, generating 'New Modes' which are really just using 'old words' for 'new concepts' that are similar and perhaps related, but NOT exact copies of the 'original concepts'. Humanity does this confusing bungle all the time, and Politics is Absolutely Trumps at that...
:-) (Un-American Activities, Patriot, etc, indeed! Hahaha!)


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 01:57 AM

A couple things--first, the discussion of modes is pointless and meaningless unless you are talking about a specific sort of music--Jack Campin's articles are very useful because they have a very specific subject, and are replete with examples--

Second, the Diana Stork businesss referred to above has to do with the plagal modes that Foolestroupe made the comment about above--the original eight Church Modes consisted of four authentic modes, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian, in which were descending octaves that ended on the name pitch, and plagal modes, Hypodorian, Hypophrygian, Hypolydian, and Hypomixolydian, which went a fifth above and a fourth below the name pitch.

third, to make things less confusing, it is helpful to think of their being two different classes of modes, relative modes, in which a C dorian mode would be a Dorian that starts on D relative to C, and absolute modes, in which the C dorian would be a dorian that starts on C.

Fourth, "tempered" means that all the half-steps in the scale have been evened out. There are various systems of temperament for keyboard instruments and fretted instruments, however, many instruments, such as violins and trombones, are not tempered--that means that notes like F# and Gb are not the same on them, and that, when playing in the key of C, C to G is a perfect fifth interval but D to A isn't, and the reverse is true in key of D--

Fifth, for practical purposes, Ionic, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian relative modes all have the same notes in them.    This means that when you play one, it is pretty much going to sound like all the others, unless you have further rules about where you start and end--


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:49 PM

QUOTE
"with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles" the notion of mode is even more useful.
UNQUOTE

Sorry. Missed the boat! Although I do admire your efforts to assist others to start off on the torturous path of understanding 'Modes', even if you are getting distracted by 'Modern Pseudo-Modes'.

Strictly speaking, based on Music Historical Theory, 'Just Tempered Chromatic Instruments' able to play in all keys WITH other instruments from random makers is very ironic, and damn near impossible(###) ...

In the days before "Major & Minor" took over, instruments were built ONLY with "Just Tuning"... yes, an 'old' un-fretted 'Just tempered' string instrument CAN play in EVEN Temper, but only if the muso knows HOW to..., and vice versa...

You should really ask a Trombone Teacher about the delights of getting 'cloth eared' beginners to play in Real Even Temper Tuning!!! :-) hehehehe! My Grandfather was a Brass Band player! "Even Tempered Trombones", is an OLD Brass band Players JOKE!

Those who do not understand History are condemned to keep repeating their mistakes.

If you try to play an 'old' wind instrument like a recorder in Just temperament with a modern Even tempered one, you will NOTICE the problem...

Artful Codgers comments of 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM sidestep this somewhat, as he appears to be saying all that from the viewpoint of 'Modern Even Tempered Instruments' - which is technically VERY misleading.

You CANNOT disentangle($$$) 'Modes' from 'Just Temperament', unless you are doing a 'Lewis Carroll Humpty Dumpty' and 'making words mean just (pardon the pun!) what you want them to mean'! You CAN do 'SORTA MODES' thingies with Even Tempered Instruments, but the technical things, and they can be easily displayed on an oscilloscope screen! say there are BIG DIFFERENCES in the beat frequencies!!!

(###)
A 'Just Tempered Instrument Built In The Key of C'(@@@) behaves VERY differently technically when 'demonstrating pseudo-modes' from an Even Tempered Instrument Tuned to C - Concert Pitch... and also behaves VERY differently technically to a 'Just Tempered Instrument Built In The Key of D'(@@@), which is WHY 'The Well Tempered Clavier' was brought into existence by that famous Composer, and the instrument it was INTENDED to be played on, WAS NOT an Even Tempered one, but one of the better practical (not mathematical!) hand built attempts to create what _evolved_ INTO modern 1/12 based Even Temperament!

(@@@)
And these two CANNOT be played ensemble to make sweet music...
which is WHY 'Even Temper' had to be created!

($$$)
Of course you CAN discuss all the variants of differing SCALES (a predefined set of consecutive tones separated in pitch by predetermined fixed pitch intervals) all you want, but since NOWADAYS, it is ALWAYS ASSUMED that they will ALL be in 'Even Temper'... sigh, here we go around again... (Scales are NOT Modes...)

Confused yet? :-)

Try Indian Classical Music then :-) ...

Robin


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:53 PM

It makes sense to present modes both ways, with the pitch set fixed and with the tonal centre fixed. That's what I do. People who play diatonic instruments (melodeon, moothie, bagpipe, clarsach) have to think in the fixed-pitch-set model.

If you really want to try the experiment of playing the same tune in different modes, you can use any ABC player (or ABC MIDI-fier) and change the "K" line in a tune to each mode in turn. What you will typically find is that one sounds right, one sounds sort-of-okay and the rest sound crap. This is telling you that modes determine melodic structures. The next step is to listen to a whole lot of tunes in various modes that all sound good as written (which is why I included so many examples).


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM

Yes, all the modes except Locrian are used for real music, even to the present day. I'm sure there are Locrian examples, too, though these are most likely to be pedagogical exercises.

A couple problem with Leeneia's MIDI sampler:

First, the tonal center keeps shifting, rather than staying the same. To the listener, it simply sounds like everything is in C, with the tune and chords simply wandering up the scale but with no shift in either mode or tonal center. It would be better to play them starting on the same note (i.e. keeping the tonal center constant.) As Jack pointed out, C Dorian is NOT the same as playing the C major scale from D to D. C Dorian has E-flat and B-flat. If played that way, the difference in modes would become quite apparent. See my earlier posting.

Second, the sample tune only includes six notes of the scale; it lacks the 7th. Consequently, the full character of each mode is not apparent. The Ionian and Mixolydian modes differ only in whether the 7th is lowered, so these samples, if played from the same tonal center, would sound identical!

I think Leeneia has the right idea, though - a tune is worth a thousand words.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 05:21 PM

I posted this MIDI per leeneia's request. I'll let her explain it to you.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM

I'd suggest that "with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles" the notion of mode is even more useful. The point of mixing styles is to set up transitions between them, which means having chunks of music in clearly-defined modes, and it helps to understand what those modes are if you're going to compose in them.. The gap-filling development I described is one way of doing that - not so new, the earliest example I gave was from the 13th century.

And you even get it with Highland bagpipe music - as if having only nine notes in a diatonic scale wasn't restriction enough, composers of pipe marches from the early 19th century on went in for pentatonic modes in an unprecedented way. The idea was to liven up the marching by regular changes of tonality. (Earlier Scottish music isn't anywhere near as systematically pentatonic as this Army repertoire - the idea that pentatonic scales are primordial is dead wrong).


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 04:28 PM

I had come up with "I Don't Pet Leeches, Mites, And Locusts"

But I think I prefer Ken Brock's!

And to add some confusion to the "what's a mode" discussion, I had a short (2 hour) class on medieval harp with Diana Stork earlier this year, and she discussed some of the modes from a Medieval perspective. For one thing, the Greek names weren't in vogue. Rather, they called them (I hope I'm recalling this correctly) things like Primus, Secondus, Tertius, etc.   

In this philosophy, the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale. Melodies were usually constructed with this as a "home". Melodic phrases generally started on this note and either resolved to 1/5 higher (or 1/4 lower) - an "open" phrase, or resolved to the home note - a "closed" phrase.

So if your instrument is tuned in C, and you played the mode centered around the F note (I think this was called Tetrardis, but I don't have my notes handy. The "Fourth" mode, at any rate), you might have a (VERY simple) melody that goes something like:

F - (ascending) A - B - C - D - B- C (open phrase, ending 1/5 up from home)
followed by
F - (descending) D - C - D - (back up to) F - A - F (second phrase, resolving to the home note)

Although our brief workshop didn't get into the detail, Diana also indicated that each mode also had a common rhythm associated with it. So if someone said "This is in Secundus mode" and all the instruments were in tune with each other (no matter what "key" they happened to be in), then everyone would know enough of what the tune would be like that they could "jam" and make it sound good. Kinda like someone saying "12-bar blues in E" these days - if you know the style then you know what rhythm to expect, what notes are going to make up the melody, and what note the phrase is likely to "land" on. So even if you don't know exactly where the leader's going, you can manage a decent accompaniment.

These days, with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles, the notion of Modes may not be so useful.

Val


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:58 PM

I re-edited that tutorial quite extensively a few months ago, you might like the current version better.

There are quite a few "simple explanations" around on the interweb, and I have problems with all of them. Mostly, they present something that isn't any obvious use for the traditional musician. OK, you can classify the tunes you perform according to a scheme somebody thought up for an entirely different kind of music a few hundred years ago. So what? Why should anybody care?

With the extra detail the gapped-scale system gives you, you can do far more - once you listen to the examples, you can hear how some melodic patterns are typical of certain modes, and you hear how the modes help you *express* something. (Look at the examples of gap-filling development). Knowing where the gaps are and what the common patterns are, you can play tunes better, or improvise on them in ways that will sound more idiomatic. If your instrument has diatonic limitations, you can use the modal structure to play stuff the standard key signature would tell you you couldn't. You can memorize tunes easier.

However, going into intonation is *too much* detail. There are many different intonation schemes you can use for any one mode - Dorian mode is recognizably itself whether you render it in equal temperament, Pythagorean, the classical Turkish system, third-comma meantone or whatever.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:18 PM

The mnenomic I've heard is "I don't play loud music any longer".


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:04 PM

Jack,

I did read through your tutorial a few years ago now. I looked at it on a number of occasions, but I have not been back recently because I found it difficult to see the wood for the trees.

Your tutorial is very comprehensive, but IMHO too detailed for anyone coming new to this. What is needed is a simple introduction to give people a clear understanding of the basics.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM

: instruments with fixed drones tend to build their modes based on a fixed root

Not on the bagpipe. Highland pipes have the drones fixed on A, but tunes can be in A mixolydian, D major, E dorian or B minor (or gapped scales derived from any of those). The interaction between the tonal centre and the drone is a large part of what gives pipe tunes their distinctive character. B minor (or any gapped scale with B as tonal centre) gives a spectacularly abrasive effect, with the tune resolving onto a major-ninth dissonance.


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:03 PM

Hi Kate -

Yes, I think we're in agreement too - I wrote that "not quite" message before I saw yours, but unfortunately it landed in the pile AFTER yours, so it looked like I was contradicting you. Good old cross posts...

This has been a really interesting thread -


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Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM

"Mode VIII" etc is standard liturgical terminology (explained in my modes tutorial, hasn't *anybody* reading this thread looked at it?)

"D Dorian is the Dorian of C" is utterly confusing and pointless, and it *didn't* take hold; it's not a standard anywhere I know of. We have too much terminology for these concepts already.


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