Mudcat Café message #40138 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6800   Message #40138
Posted By: Bob Bolton
01-Oct-98 - 03:19 AM
Thread Name: Modes?
Subject: RE: Modes?
G'day John et al,

The Dorian mode is very important in ancient music ... and Irish music. It is the very first of the church (Gregorian) modes (and the modern minor and major are the very last ... from ~ 1000 years later).

The typical Dorian has its tonic note one tone above the key signature - E(minorish) in a D key signature, A(minorish) in a G key signature, etcetera. The chord structure normally bounces between the minor (always at start and finish) and the major one tone below. There are very occasional excursions to harmonically related chords, but mostly in later tunes affected by modern scales ... or guitarists with modern ear preferences.

The Dorian mode comes naturally on the button accordion (my main instrument) and the mouthorgan (my first instrument) and fairly well on the Anglo-German concertina (my late love). All these instruments are built around the Richter tuning scheme (OK ... the Richter Scale...!) and the minors are native to the draw and the majors to the blow.

This is a scale that punches out a strong primitive beat - and then turns out magnificent, plaintive airs. It is well repesented in most really old (and folksy) musical traditons, but mostly today in the Irish.

Until I really looked into the Dorian mode, a lot of folk tunes seemed very odd ... now they are very old friends.


Bob Bolton