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Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again

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Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 09:21 AM
Sorcha 21 Mar 00 - 09:30 AM
alison 21 Mar 00 - 09:37 AM
wysiwyg 21 Mar 00 - 09:43 AM
wysiwyg 21 Mar 00 - 09:46 AM
Lady McMoo 21 Mar 00 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 21 Mar 00 - 09:53 AM
wysiwyg 21 Mar 00 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Arkie 21 Mar 00 - 10:09 AM
Fortunato 21 Mar 00 - 10:09 AM
WyoWoman 21 Mar 00 - 10:13 AM
Lady McMoo 21 Mar 00 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 10:49 AM
Mooh 21 Mar 00 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 21 Mar 00 - 11:35 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 21 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 11:53 AM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM
Mooh 21 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM
wysiwyg 21 Mar 00 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Bill in Alabama 21 Mar 00 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 01:45 PM
Sorcha 21 Mar 00 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 02:09 PM
Sorcha 21 Mar 00 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 21 Mar 00 - 02:33 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM
MMario 21 Mar 00 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 21 Mar 00 - 03:03 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 03:13 PM
MMario 21 Mar 00 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 03:26 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 21 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 06:09 PM
Sorcha 21 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 06:28 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 06:31 PM
Art Thieme 21 Mar 00 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,whatever 21 Mar 00 - 06:50 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 07:05 PM
Peter T. 21 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM
Sorcha 21 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 21 Mar 00 - 07:27 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 21 Mar 00 - 08:34 PM
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Subject: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:21 AM

We have had a number of threads about modes, and I have a book or two about them, but I am still unclear on the application of the concept. That is, I understand all the language, and that each mode starts on a different note of the scale, and so on, but I cannot connect it to ordinary playing around on the guitar. If you look at a standard guitar instruction book, about halfway through they go into modes, and then ask you to start doing modal scales. This is supposed to be a basic, crucial step. Why? If most things are in the basic well-tempered scale, why is there so much emphasis on learning all these mixolydian, locrian, etc. scales? Am I missing something basic that all guitarists know? I am just curious -- I have no idea if I would ever work through them. Can anyone explain what this is all about: NOT the nature of the modes, we have hashed all that out; but what role they play in your average guitar player's life.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:30 AM

Here's one: when the fiddle (sic) player says she is in G mixolydian, you need to know that in order to drop the G# out of the major chord. Really, other than Iaonian Major and Aeolian minor, the only two used very much are Mix. and Dorian, and regular minor chords work just fine for Dorian, mostly.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: alison
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:37 AM

I've been playing for years Peter, and no one has ever turned round and said that "we're playing the next one in mixolydian or whatever"... it's usually major or minor.... I wouldn't worry too much about it.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:43 AM

Well is this too elementary for your present level of understanding? Maybe it is-- maybe will make a startpoint for someone else tho--

First, I'm ear-oreinted more than notation-oriented.

I run over the scales of any piece I don't know well, when I can, to tune my ear to what is going to work and what won't in arranging it and/or harmonizing it. To impress upon my inner hearing what my options will be to build the piece from scratch or work with an existing piece. To load in the program that will run the application.

In some of the modes I don't have a lot of experience with, this has become a real necessity-- otherwise a note I move to harmonically, that would make perfect sense melodically/sequentially in a more often-used mode, just will not work and I can't find the note that WILL work in the mix of all I am hearing. The answer is always in the modal scale when I run over it in my mind.

Another way of saying that is that the core of resolution for a phrase within a piece may not be the note you expect it to be, in a mode you have not worked into your head/fingers/ear. ?????

I THINK this means what I mean, I THINK I am beginning to GET modes.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:46 AM

In the above post, "the core of resolution" is apparently a Freudian slip of the entire mind, for I meant NOTE of resolution. (CORE????? What's up with THAT?)


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:53 AM

What the Phrygian heck is all this about...!

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:53 AM

If you're playing in G-mixolydian, you want to avoid the D-major chord, just as Sorcha noted. If you're playing in D-dorian, avoid the B-flat and any chord containing it.

When I play in G-mixolydian I try to use the F-major chord several times if it fits the air, especially at cadences, to emphasize the mixolydian quality.

More generally, you might find it a useful experiment to try harmonizing an air with only the notes that are in the air (and their octaves, obviously.) If the air is hexatonic, try playing countermelodies that contain only the same six notes. For pentatonic melodies this can be tricky. I once harmonized a pentatonic air in 3 parts, and found that the results were not satisfactory unless the lowest part confined itself mainly to elongated notes, while the shorter notes appeared mainly in the upper two parts.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 09:58 AM

Oh boy.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:09 AM

I am a little surprised that guitar instruction books would even mention modes. I have suggested the theory that the introduction of the guitar into southern mountain music was one of the things that contributed to the decline in the use of modes. So far that theory seems to be ignored in discussions of modes and perhaps for good reason. When vocal music, the banjo, and fiddle were the primary elements of mountain, traditional music, the emphasis was on melody and in traditional music that was generally melodies based on modal scales. The introduction of the guitar to southern mountain music around the turn of the twentieth century brought about strong chordal possibilites and a shift away from modal scales and open tunings to a standard tuning and the now commonly accepted major scale. Here in the Ozarks, that was also a way the "young folks" could make the archaic music of their parents a little more "uptown". I suspect that most guitarists who have any interest in modes play a lot in open tunings. As for your playing with people who announce that a particular tune is in "such and such" mode that would mean you would look for a few unusual chord changes. As was stated earlier the only modes you are likely to encounter are Aeolian, the minor mode, Dorian, a mixture of major and minor sounds and Mixolydian, which means if you are in the key of G you will need an F chord somewhere before the tune is over.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Fortunato
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:09 AM

My advice is to run screaming from the room if anyone says weird stuff like mixolydian. Unless, of course, it's a beer or something to eat.

You can't be too careful, regards Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: WyoWoman
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:13 AM

I thought it was that stuff you rub on your scalp to restore hair growth. Catspaw uses it on his palms, of course.

(But seriously, folks, this is interesting even thought I have only the teensiest clue what you're talkign about...)

ww


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:29 AM

Okiemockingbird,

Here in Europe, if the European Commission discovered that the air contained anything hexatonic it would very quickly be banned!

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:35 AM

mcmoo, no doubt our resident globalists will use the WTO to bring the EC practice here!

"Hypomixolyidan" as the name of an ale does have a certain ring to it.

Peter T., are you getting all this ?

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:47 AM

Here is a mixolydian melody with guitar chords: (I think I've written them in right)

X: 1 T: Orientis Partibus C: 13th century French, from The New Hymnal New York, 1916, transposed. M: 3/4 K: C L: 1/4 | "G"G2 A |"G" B2 G | "F"A2 F |"G" G2 z | "G or Dm"d2 d |"C" e2 c | "G or Dm"d2 d | "G"B2 z | |"G" B2 A | "C"c2 B | "F"A2 G | "G"B2 z |"G or Dm" d2 c | "G"B2 G | "F"A2 F |"G or C" G3 ||

Using the D-minor option produces a sound that takes some getting used to. But you must avoid the temptation to use the D-major chord, since it contains G#, which is not in the mixolydian scale.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 10:49 AM

Here it is again, with line breaks:

X: 1
T: Orientis Partibus
C: 13th century French, from The New Hymnal New York, 1916, transposed.
M: 3/4
K: C
L: 1/4
| "G"G2 A |"G" B2 G | "F"A2 F |"G" G2 z | "G or Dm"d2 d |"C" e2 c | "G or Dm"d2 d | "G"B2 z |
|"G" B2 A | "C"c2 B | "F"A2 G | "G"B2 z |"G or Dm" d2 c | "G"B2 G | "F"A2 F |"G or C" G3 ||

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Mooh
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 11:06 AM

Okiemockbird. A D major chord contains a G#? What did I miss this time?

Just for fun I'm gonna try to call the key for a tune modally, and see what kind of gut-splitting laughs I get from the band. The reality in my limited world has been that we try to simplify things to major keys as a matter of reflex, even when we know better, and don't play everything in major keys no matter what we call them. This used to irritate me, but I realize that not everyone is as anal as me about theory, particularly those who have better ears than me. As a result, most often Em even gets called G. Oh well, so long as the participants all understand what's going on...


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 11:14 AM

Oops, I meant F#. Sorry. T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 11:35 AM

I haven't understood a word of this so excuse the BS question:
If you put a nickel in a Nickelodeon what do you put in a myxilodian?
A diseased rabbit?
RtS "My brain hurts"


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM

This "mode" business really annoys me, because A) it confuses people unnecessarily B)In most cases, you're really not talking about modes at all--

Jazz guitarists(undoubtably you have a jazz guitar book) like to talk about"modes" but they really just play the same major scale, no matter which mode they are in, they just start at a different degree of the scale--and they need a convenient name for the different fingering pattern--

It is more important for you to understand the difference between the tonic and the dominant scales, since when you, the overachieving music student, are playing what you think are "Mixolydian, Dorian, and (God Forbid you should try to do this) Locrian modes, you are really just playing the same Dominant scale--The rest of them are pretty much Tonic, except for the Phrygian which is almost as useless as the Locrian--When you play Jazz, you tend to use the Dominant scale, anyway--

As to the importance of things--it depends on what you want to play what you need to know--as to modes and scales, of course, some knowledge is more useful than others--

My old guitar teacher, Uncle Albert, went to one of these week long guitar workshops where they worked on heavy duty theory and scales and such--at the concert, at the end of the week, the heavy duty theory guy took a complex solo based on some esoteric alt scale--then Uncle Albert played the corny little dominant solo that he always sticks into "Sweet Georgia Brown" guess who got the applause?


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 11:53 AM

M.Ted, your terminology is new to me. By "Tonic" and "Dominant" do you mean the same as "Authentic" and "Plagal" ? From your examples it would appear not, since Dorian and Mixolyidan are authentic, their plagal variants being hypodorian and hypomixolydian. But I can't see what else you would mean, unless it's guitar-specific.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM

I think this is getting a bit warmer, but I don't seem to be able to ask the right questions. Let me try harder:
1) Arkie mentions melodies that have a scalar structure of their own -- implying some mode -- before the guitar (piano, etc.) with its chords came along. Does this mean that non-classical songs -- pre-Bach and pre-Tin Pan Alley -- are generally modal of some kind, but have been stuffed or reshaped into the prevailing major-minor scale? So if someone in a non-influenced culture stands up and sings a song unaccompanied, they would sing something in a different mode. So if you just walked in with your instrument you could accompany them appropriately with some modal scale (meaning usually the tune, but with various notes sharped or flatted or avoided consistently. That is, ordinary people wouldn't notice that they are consistently doing this, but a knowledgeable musicologist would say that they are in some mode)?

2) M.Ted -- I don't understand what you are saying, but I am edging towards the precipice. You say jazz guitarists "play the same major scale" but start on a different note. That presumably means that if they start on D as opposed to C (I assume this), that they are either in the key of C and have just moved up a note (so are still in C) or they are in the key of D, and have a key of D fingering pattern. What has any of this got to do with different modes? Don't I just put in my sharps -- or is that the D mode just slightly cleaned up in the well-tempered system? I know there is some relationship, but can't quite make the connection. I keep trying to relate modes to the standard system of keys, sharps, flats, etc., and can't do it. I know that in the books there is a lot of talk about how these scales start/started on different notes historically, but there is a piece missing in my head. You then talk about tonics and dominants. When you say that you need the dominant scale, if we are in the key of C, that would be G, so why am I doing something different? Don't I just play notes in a G scale (if I guess I am doing an improvisational riff here)? What has this got to do with modes? 3) Sorcha, you are way ahead of me -- I am trying to figure out what role modes/scales play, not how to hear them!!!!!

continuing thanks to all....yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Mooh
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 12:37 PM

Ted. I'm with you. But I think I'll sacrifice a small farm animal to the music gods just to be sure.

Okiemockbird. I figured that's what you meant, but I'm still considering that sacrifice.

Or maybe a mudcat...

With fries and a large Coke?


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 12:39 PM

Roger--

LOL!!! mixo.....

LOL!!


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 12:45 PM

Been playing for money for nigh onto thirty years. Thought I was a musician; wandered in here--lost as a goose in a fog. Feel like a bastard at a family reunion. Adios.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 01:03 PM

Peter T., the question of temperament can be separated out from the question of what chords or notes one should use to accompany dorian or mixolydian melodies.

There are examples of dorian melodies being modified by arrangers to a chromatic minor scale (with lowerd 6th and raised 7th) and of mixolydian melodies being "majorized" by raising the 7th (Orientis Partibus, quoted above, usually appears nowadays as a major melody. Peter, Paul & Mary (I think) used it, in major form, for a Christmas song. ("I said the Donkey all shaggy and brown"). But the major scale goes back pretty far too--the lydian-taming B-flat was an early invention--and if a melody is hexatonic or pentatonic, it can sometimes be assigned arbitrarily to more then one mode: A dorian scale without the 6th is identical to an aeolian scale without the 6th. So it would be a mistake to assume that all pre-baroque music is dorian or mixolydian or phrygian or lydian or hypo-any-of-those.

When M.Ted says that jazz guitarists "play the same scale" I think he means that D-dorian and G-mixolydian have the same 7 notes as C-major, C,D,E,...B. It's his classification of modes into "tonic modes" and "dominant modes" that puzzles me.

Anyhow, the general rule is: accompany in the mode of the air, and avoid 7-chords (C7, G7, A7, D7 and so forth).

Do you have any examples of airs that you want to accompany ?

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 01:45 PM

The Peter Paul & Mary song which uses a major version of Orientis Partibus as the basis of its tune is called "The Friendly Beasts". Most of you probably knew that already, but I didn't until just now, so I thought there might be others to whom a title might be more useful than a single line quoted from the body of the song.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 01:52 PM

Sorry, Peter, I thought that is what I did......:) fer instance, Old Joe Clark is in (usually)A, but it is an A without the last (G) sharp; if you play the G# it will sound OK, but without it there is a more "minory?" or Appalachian feel to the tune. Also, a lot of Scottish tunes are A w/o the G#, as you can get a more bag-pipey feel/sound to the tune. "Road to Lisdoonvarna" should be in Dorian, but alison is correct in that most people just use Major and minor.

Using modal chords changes the character of the song in a subtle way, usually felt emotionally by non-musicians, sometimes heard by musicians, and usually ignored by all! Lap dulcimer players are generally much more concerned with modes than guitar players because the scale is built inot the fretboard--as in diatonic, rather than chromatic.
Example--Dorian E chord is C,Eb,G just like Cminor, but the E dorian scale has Eb and Bb in it. The Cminor or aeolian scale has these, plus an Ab.
As for your interp. of Arkie, sometimes. Modes were much more common long ago, and yes, when un-influenced people/cultures sing, they might be in a mode, but it might not be a Western mode (which were all pretty much developed by the early Church) Let's not even get into Eastern scales.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:09 PM

Sorcha, Your approach seems to differ from mine. I would not say an E-dorian scale has E-flat. What I call an E-dorian scale has the same notes as the D-major scale, but the final is on E: E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. I would accompany an E-dorian melody with E-minor, B-minor, G-major, A-major, D-major, and other chords containing these notes. I would not use an A-minor chord (as I might in E-minor), or any seven-chord.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:30 PM

oops, you are right, I was talking about the E dorian scale starting from middle C, so I could compare it with the C minor natural (aeolian scale). I bet we're over his head, and oughta let him rest and try to absorb!


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:33 PM

Among 5001 folk and old popular tunes of the British Isles stressed note and mode coded in file COMBCOD2.TXT on my website there are 1619 of major mode, or 32.3% of the total. Minor mode, which is not the 2nd most common mode, accounts for 272 tunes, or 5.4% of the total. Together they account for 37.8 % of the tunes. The other 62% of the tunes are of one of 161 other modes. [All the modes and the number of tunes in them can be displayed with option 9 of the program there, and all the tunes in any one mode can be displayed with option 10.]


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:44 PM

er, gulp, 161??? yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:48 PM

Sorcha, I don't think we're over his head. He said at the start he understood the basic structure of the different scales, he was just wondering what it meant to a guitarist. When he wrote "Sorcha, you are way ahead of me", I think he was actually answering Praise (who is trying to cultivate a method of instinctive feel for the different modes.) He was saying (I think) that he needs to know what to play before he can learn what sounds right.

This thread seems to be full of slips. I typed "G" when I meant "F", you seem to by typing "E" when you mean "C", Peter T. wrote "Sorcha" when I think he meant "Praise", and Praise wrote "core" when she meant "note".

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM

Peter T., don't panic. If "161" is not another slip, then the I suspect the number is arrived at by (1) counting various hexatonic and pentatonic modes separately and (2) adding chromatic modes.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: MMario
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 02:56 PM

Peter - don't gulp....major mode plus minor mode plus whatever mode IS the 2nd most common (Bruce left us guessing) account for a MINIMUM of 44.1 per cent of the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 03:03 PM

161 was not a slip, but I may have coded some wrong, and music engravings sometimes have errors. Note that most modes do not even have names. You will see the names of those that have them using option 9 of my program.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 03:13 PM

You are right Okie, my apologies Sorcha/Praise. Sorry I haven't been able to reply -- I am sort of catching a few moments today between the next onslaught of students, and so I cannot absorb all this (let alone make sense of it). It will have to wait until I have some peaceful time. Right now it makes no sense -- but I have made the connection to the variables in singing, which is some help. Continuing thanks however. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: MMario
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 03:26 PM

So Bruce, what IS the 2nd most common mode? And IS minor mode third, or are there more then one mode between major and minor in popularity?


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 03:26 PM

F.Mud.I a basic treatment of renaissance scales is here, and an on-line primer of music theory is here..

The author of the article on renaissance scales remarks that "The pure diatonic modes seem to be completely satisfying only when they are used for unaccompanied melody -- plainsong or folk-song, for instance", but I disagree.

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM

The terms Tonic and Dominant refer to the the 1st and Fifth tones in the diatonic scale--and the scales and chords that are based on them--Classical music uses major and minor scales (not really but...) and a harmonic system that is based on the intervals in what pretty much works out to be the tempered scale--

Harmonies music of the sort that we know, as well as the circle of fifths (or fourths, depending on which way you want to go around) will not work in modal music...neither will that tempered scale convention that allows transposition of anything melody or harmonic part into any of the chromatic keys--

Peter T--you yourself restricted this discussion, in the opening post, to the use of these so called modes--now your bringing in all this speculation about"if someone from a non-" stick to the subject, or all hope is lost!!!!

Let's restrict our conversation to contemporary use of modes--because the rest of this discussion is just going to confuse everything--

Let's assume that we are in the key of C, and that the words mode and scal are interchangeable--A Dorian mode simply would be D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D. the D major scale would be D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D--The Dominant scale would be G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G--when you play over a vamp of |Dm7-G7|. you can wail your little heart our using either the dominant or the dorian--even though this is in the key of C-if you try to play a C-scale, it won't sound that good--

The obvious question is, when the notes are the same, what is the difference? The difference is betweeen where you start, move toward, and end-which would be the fundamental and the fifth, in each scale--

The Dm, and the Dorian scale are part of the Dominant harmony, so your ear fits them together with the G7,as unresolved sounding--


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:09 PM

Let me try and make some sense of this for myself, and this will give you experts an easy target so as to pinpoint what I am not getting.
There was a system of modes (scale patterns) that evolved over time out of church and other forms of music, and in the Western tradition the two that "won" were slight modifications of one called the Ionian, which became our major scale (sometimes called major mode); and another called the Aeolian (I simplify here) which evolved into the minor scale or mode (that has three subscales called the natural, harmonic, and melodic, which mostly show up everyday when you are going up and down a scale). So a key like C has Aminor as its relative.

The major scale we use all the time has the following interval pattern (tone (T); semitone (S)): T-T-S-T-T-T-S. So if you play a standard C scale on the piano on the white keys from C to shining C, you are fine. When you want to do the same sort of scale starting at D you have to add sharps in order to STAY IN THE SAME MODE, that is, the same pattern of tones and semitones. If you are working in the minor scale, the natural minor is T-S-T-T-S-T-T. Again if you want to stay in that mode and you change the starting note, you have to add sharps and flats to keep that pattern going.

Now, if you go into Dorian (for example), you can start on any note, but the pattern is: T-S-T-T-T-S-T. This is like starting on "D" on the white keys of the piano, and going up, still on the white keys. (If you look at the C pattern above, you can see that we have just moved up one letter in the T-S pattern). And I assume that when people say "E-Dorian", they mean I am in the Dorian mode, and am going to stay there, but I am starting on the E note. So if you are confronted with this on a piano or a guitar, you have to figure out the sharps and flats that will keep this pattern right.

O.K. Now a number of people have suggested that Dorian is big in Scottish music. They have also said that another mode is what is called "Mixolydian". This one is like starting on G on the piano, and going up the white keys to the next G. Its pattern is: T-T-S-T-T-S-T.

If this is close to right, am I right in assuming:

1) People are calling things D-Dorian and G-mixolydian simply as a shorthand because of the piano white keys analogy I was using above. You don't have to start on these notes at all, as long as you keep the patterns. 2) Some of the suggestions above, about dropping sharps and flats, etc., when you go into Mixolydian or whatever, are really rough ways of keeping the modal pattern? 3) Can someone restate the modes and their folk connections, i.e., some familiar songs and their structures according their modes, just so as to stake this to the ground? There are bits and pieces in this thread and the other one, but it would be nice to have someone articulate why, for instance, there seem to be Mixolydian fiddle tunes, and not, oh I don't know, Locrian.

Whew!

yours, Peter (ducking the cries of horror from the experts)


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM

YES!! The only thing you have missed is that the pattern can be in ANY key, therefore the key is also important. What you have picked up on is the TRADITIONAL (church) key for each mode. You got it! Can you apply it to a guitar now? ( and froget about Locrain--it's mega-weird sounding!!)


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:28 PM

Sorcha, are you saying what I think you are saying?
Let me see if I get this last point. In the standard system we have a set of keys with related sharps and flats which hold the whole thing together - C no sharps, G one sharp, etc. This is the result of the whole business I described earlier. So if you want to make a G scale work in standard system you have to add one sharp to the basic run of the notes. But this also sets up the possibility of a G chord with its own system of dominants, subdominants, relative minors and so on (the classic I-IV-V7 etc) . What you are saying is that in each of the modes there is the possibility of another whole set of interlocking keys with their own internal system of dominant, subdominant, etc., relationships????????? Is that right?????????

yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:31 PM

"G chord" should be "G key" in let us say Dorian.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:36 PM

Folks, modes are not hard to figure when you think about them in terms of a traditional 3-string Appalachian dulcimer. Modes are, simply, different SCALES. (But the intervals have been changed to protect the innocent.)

A mode is a set of musical rules that structure the melody of a song.

Modes are scales of the same general type as our familiar scale (major) and they have only 7 tones in their scales.

The ionian mode is the C major scale of today.

The scale intervals or steps are C--D--E-F--G--A--B-C (--denotes a whole step and - denotes a 1/2 step). Notice where the whole and half steps apear on the scale. Now look at the frets on the Appalachian dulcimer. BEGINNING AT THE THIRD FRET , notice that the spacings of the frets correspond to the whole and half steps as you move up the fretboard for ONE OCTAVE. This scale is called the IONIAN MODE (do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, do). When you are in the ionian mode you cannot have any other notes/tones but these. An important difference between the various modes or modal scales is the VARYING LOCATION OF THE TWO HALF STEPS of the diatonic scale. For the ionian scale they apear between the 3rd and 4th tones and between the 7th and 8th tones.The letters of the musical scale above are for the purpose of indicating the intervals of the modal scales and do not necessarily imply exact pitch. (Strings are tuned to each other and do not have to correspond/relate to concert pitch. Ionian, or MAJOR TUNING is good for most songs. AEOLIAN (minor mode) is next. If a musical work requires a flatted 7th note instead of a natural 7th note, you would use MIXOLYDIAN MODE ("John Hardy"--"Tom Joad"). The DORIAN SCALE is the same as the C major scale except a flatted 3rd and 7th replace their naturals. By fooling around with the various modes and learning what notes are in each, you can decide which mode would be right for different songs. (trial and error method) In order to tune into some modes you may need to turn the entire dulcimer down in order to not break any strings.
(Most of the above information I got from Jean Ritchie a lot o' years ago.)

Ionian mode or major mode. "do" or C to C (C--D--E-F--G--A--B-C)
Tune the third string to C or to a reasonable tension. PRESS THE 3RD STRING AT THE 4TH FRET AND TUNE THE 1st AND 2nd STRINGS TO IT. The "starting point" or home tone of the scale is at the 3rd fret.

Dorian mode "re" or D to D (D--E-F--G--A--B-C--D)
From the Ionian mode--press the 3rd string at the 3rd fret and tune the 1st string down to it. Home tone is at the 4th fret.

Phrygian mode "mi" or E to E. (E-F--G--A--B-C--D--E) From ionian mode: Press 1st string at 2nd fret and tune the 1st string down until it sounds the same as the 2nd string open. Home tone is at the 5th fret.

Lydian mode "fa" or F to F. (F--G--A--B-C--D--E-F)
From ionian mode: Press 1st string at the 3rd fret and tune it down to the 2nd string open. Home tone is at the 6th fret and is an octave higher than the 3rd string open.

Myxolydian mode "so" or G to G (G--A--B-C--D--E-F--G)
Press the 3rd string at the 7th fret and tune the 1st string to it. Same as ionian but with a flatted 7th.

Aeolian mode (minor mode) "la" or A to A. (A--B-C--D--E-F--G--A)
From ionian mode: Press 3rd string at the 6th fret and tune the first string up to it.

Pie-ala mode.... ;-)
Oh, never mind.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,whatever
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 06:50 PM

Peter T. You seem to understand the concept of the relative minor key, ie Am is the relative minor of the major key C. I think of D Dorian as the relative dorian mode for the major key of C. E dorian would be the relative dorian for the key of D. No a tune in D dorian mode doesn't necessarily have to begin on the D but it should probably end there.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 07:05 PM

I notice in the earlier thread that it is stated that Irish tunes tend to be Dorian, Scottish Mixolydian. Apologies.

It is also noted that, in the Dorian, because of the way the T-S structure works in Dorian, the dominant chord in any Dorian key (let us use D for the moment) is usually the VII, and not the standard key Vth -- which in this case would be a C major, which I guess explains the hovering back and forth between the tonic (D) and its right next door neighbour (C) which someone said was characteristic of the Dorian.

[Is this why Guest, whatever wants to call D the "relative dorian" of C major?] yours, Peter T. P.S. Thanks also to Art for the dulcetry.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM

I have to stop for the evening. I am totally mindblown by this. Whew!!

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM

Peter T--YES AGAIN! It is the scale pattern that counts--you can play the Dorian (whatever) scale tune starting on whatever note you want to, as long as you keep the pattern of full and half steps correct. This means that there ARE different chords for each key in each mode, but some are MUCH more common than others, i.E. we all keep talking about D/dorian and A/mixolydian. Just learn the patterns and you can figure out which notes to drop/add to a tune/scale in any key. YOU GOT IT GUY!


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 07:27 PM

Peter T., you seem to have gotten the relationships among the scales down. You can if you wish define a species of dorian mode with a "dominant" on A, and some treatments do this, but not every air in the dorian mode necessarily has a dominant on the 5th.

I repeat my preference for avoiding seven chords as tending to sound out-of-place in a dorian or mixolydian context.

M.Ted, your treatment is a sort of counterpoint theory I have never encountered. (Well, to be honest, I haven't encountered much counterpoint theory of any sort.) You seem to be saying that in some circumstances you can play against C-major melodies with G-mixolydian and D-dorian countermelodies. The overall context of your description seems to be a chromatic major-key context, which wouldn't seem precisely to answer Peter T's original question of how to accompany mixolydian and dorian melodies in a way that reinforces the unique characteristics of each mode--though your comments are certainly fascinating in their own right, and I hope you'll elaborate on them some.

I was familiar with the terms "tonic" and "dominant" referring to positions in a particular scale. In your earlier post you seemed to be using them as absolute characteristics of entire scales. Now I see that you mean them as relative terms: the G-mixolydian scale is the "dominant scale" to the C-major scale. Presumably the D-mixolydian scale is the "dominant scale" to the G-major scale in your terminology. Is that right ?

T.


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Subject: RE: Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 21 Mar 00 - 08:34 PM

M.Ted, after further reflection I've decided that what you were expounding would be better called improvisation theory than counterpoint theory. Your were saying that an underlay of certain chord progressions in a C-major context encourages improvisation of G-mixolydian or D-dorian melodies over them. Am I understanding you right ?

Peter T., do you have any melodies in mind that you want to classify or accompany ?

Was my example in ABC notation any help ?

T.


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