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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Canberra Chris Modes vs Scales (47) RE: Modes vs Scales 27 Oct 06

Thanks Harpmolly. I'd love to hear that Carolan piece transposed modally!

It was the mountain dulcimer that got me into modes since the instrument is set up to work modally. It also starts with a Myxolidian structure, as the fret pattern has as the open fret the first note of the Myxolidian mode. This also inspired me to modify another instrument.

I too love the flattened seventh. Because I got fed up with constantly half-stopping that hole on a penny whistle, I had a Myxolidian whistle made for me, which has been a revelation, as most folk tunes fit much more naturally within its range.

To put it simply, conventional whistles start (all holes stopped) with the first note of the major scale. My whistle starts a third below that, and the major scale starts with the top three holes stopped. Most tunes dip down to a note three below the first note of the major scale (eg to G below C, if played on a C whistle). Therefore they have to be played with normal fingering mostly in the upper register, dipping down only three notes into the lower. On mine it fits neatly into the bottom range, and makes the playing less shrill.

I also have heaps of fun handing it to an unsuspecting conventional whistle player!


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