Mudcat Café message #161527 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6800   Message #161527
Posted By: Arkie
12-Jan-00 - 01:02 AM
Thread Name: Modes?
Subject: RE: Modes?
Have enjoyed this thread. Glad to see it refreshed since I missed it first time around. Have been fascinated by modes ever since being adopted by a mountain dulcimer some years ago. Have since become a jack-leg, jake-leg some would say, modal theorist. In other words, I have absolutely no formal knowlege of the subject. Have observed though that in traditions where modal music was found, if instruments were used they were often tuned in open, sometimes even called modal tunings. The fiddle and banjo as well as dulcimer were ideal for playing or accompaning modal pieces. I am inclined to believe that the introduction of the guitar and its chordal possiblities helped to bring about the decline in interest in modal pieces. I was told by an elderly singer, here in the Ozarks, that when she was young the young people thought the modal sounding tunes sounded old-fashioned and they stopped using minor sounds. Hence, songs like Wayfaring Stranger fell into disuse and songs like Rose Connely which had minor chords in the Appalachians were played with all major chords. Though my experience is somewhat limited, I have seen and heard many musicains of this lady's generation and have yet to hear one of them use minor chords. In the shape note, unaccompanied singing in the churches they have continued to sing in minor modes. And accapella ballad singers have used the Dorian and Aeolian modes. Did not intend to run on so long. Final notes. Norwegian Wood, the Beatle song, is in the Mixolydian mode. Geordie is in the Dorian mode, which moves in a interesting way back and forth between major and minor. I suspect the use of open tunings by so many Celtic guitarists allows them to obtain a modal flavor not possible in the standard tuning.