Mudcat Café message #1867700 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95827   Message #1867700
Posted By: The Fooles Troupe
24-Oct-06 - 07:31 PM
Thread Name: Modes vs Scales
Subject: RE: Modes vs Scales
"It is my understanding that Modes are really scales, is this correct?"

In the music that developed in Western Europe - and the tradition with which you are familiar - the two Major & (the Harmonic) Minor scales grew out of two particular modes as mentioned by means of a change of name.

The "Melodic Minor" - with different notes ascending and descending developed from the same root as the "Harmonic Minor" but took a different path.

"The Modes" are certain 'scale patterns' (each pattern being a particular specified sequence of tones or musical pitches) which refer to particular historical named patterns in Western Europe.

The very slight differences between the 'just' and 'equal' temperament tuning methods just use very slightly differing methods of spacing the same 'names' of pitches in the octave.

I have seen recent books aimed at guitarists which list dozens of various 'scale patterns' - i.e. ways of placing pitches in ascending/descending order.

'Musicologists' trained in that 'Western European' system want to lump everything under their own rather narrow viewpoint (which like all Religions they believe to be 'The One True Path') - but there are MANY OTHER "specified sequences of tones" in OTHER CULTURES too - some of which have a certain currency today in "Western European Music" - i.e. the stuff you mostly hear around you, which is organised using only 'tones & half tones' - i.e. two particular styles of spacing the pitches in an octave.

In 'Classical Indian Music' for example - they use 'micro tones' and 'quarter tones' - i.e. they space some of the pitches closer together, and sometimes can have more or less separate pitches in an 'octave'. Also there are rather complex rules for assigning the pitches in various 'scales' - some of these rules may involve such variables as the time of day, etc.

Don, it's a bit similar with 'rhythm patterns' - Western European Music has 'formalised' around a few rigid REGULAR SIMPLE PATTERNS - such as regular groupings of 2, 3, or 4 regular beats. "Commercial Music" as spawned by the 'Music Industry' focuses mainly on a very restricted set of 'scales and rhythms'.

Other cultures play with many other groupings - for instance El Greko (George) and his current 'rebetiko' song in another thread here.

Those people who are burdened with more "book larnin'" than you music wise, have just spent (wasted?!!!!) more time on it than you!! :-)

If it sounds pleasing to the ears, just play it - the 'theorists' will come along after you and 'explain' it all later on....