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Relative Minor Key signatures?

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GUEST,Jerry 20 Nov 20 - 07:38 PM
Richard Mellish 21 Nov 20 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,DrWord 21 Nov 20 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Jerry 22 Nov 20 - 04:59 AM
leeneia 22 Nov 20 - 11:04 AM
G-Force 22 Nov 20 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Jerry 22 Nov 20 - 12:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 20 Nov 20 - 07:38 PM

Each to their own, but I find it’s best to learn the semitone intervals that make up the standard Ionian major scale, and then how those intervals vary slightly in each mode.
On a fretted instrument the Standard major ascends any open string by 2 frets, then another 2, then 1, then 2, then 2, then 2, then 1. Whereas the Mixolydian ascends by 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2.


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 21 Nov 20 - 07:11 AM

This may or may not help. Feel free to ignore.

The order set out by leeneia applies if you stick to the white notes and start first on C, then on D, E, etc.

I think of the modes in a different order:
Ionian: white notes starting on C.
Mixolydian: flatten the seventh note of the scale, so start on C and flatten the B OR start on G and use F natural instead of F sharp.
Dorian: flatten the third and seventh notes of the scale, so start on C and flatten the E and the B OR start on D and use F natural and C natural.
Aeolian: flatten the third, sixth and seventh notes of the scale, so start on C and flatten the E, the A and the B OR start on A and use C natural, F natural and G natural.

Those four modes are all reasonably common in tunes from the British Isles, and there are some hexatonic tunes that leave out one note.

The other modes are very rare.
Phrygian with a flattened second, so D flat if starting on C, or F natural if starting on E.
Locrian (all the white notes starting on B) has a flattened second but also a flattened fifth, which means you've changed the next most important note of the scale after the tonic.
Lydian has a sharp fourth, F sharp if you start on C, or all the white notes starting on F, so you've lost another important note.

Then of course there are some modes from other parts of the world that don't stick to two tones, one semitone, three tones, one semitone. So for example you might have a tune with E flat and F sharp, giving a three-semitone interval.

I play one Swedish tune that is in G-minorish with the F always sharp, the B always flat and the C sometimes natural and sometimes sharp.

If you are not yet confused, you are not yet informed.


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 21 Nov 20 - 12:30 PM

Leeneia ~ thanks for a great mnemonic,
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 22 Nov 20 - 04:59 AM

The trouble though with the common piano white notes explanation is that not everyone has got a piano, or even an understanding of what notes they are actually playing if they tend to play an instrument by ear. Plus you can get locked into the idea that to play in Dorian you must play in the key of D, Mixolydian in the key of. G, etc. when in reality of course you can use the modes in any of the standard twelve keys (G, G#, A, etc), and will need to do so if you venture into playing solos on guitar, etc.
.


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: leeneia
Date: 22 Nov 20 - 11:04 AM

You're welcome, Dr. Word.
================
The modes were probably developed in an attempt to help people learn music, but they don't seem to be much help. I suppose the idea was to convey the general sound of a piece, but to an amateur that's not much help. To understand the modes, you need to understand keys, and if you understand keys you don't need the modes.

The modes have become mere curiosities for us early-music & trad fans who get a little thrill when we spot one. Meanwhile, our folkie friends are playing the music without giving modes a thought.


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: G-Force
Date: 22 Nov 20 - 11:40 AM

Whereas the Mixolydian ascends by 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2.

Actually, that's the Dorian.


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Subject: RE: Relative Minor Key signatures?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 22 Nov 20 - 12:21 PM

Ooopps....I wonder who’d be the first to spot that.
The Mixolydian should be (from the nut to the twelve fret):
0+2+2+1+2+2+1+2.

I can accept you don’t need to worry about modes if you’re only going sing or play simple tunes in our standard major and natural minor (Ionian and Aeolian), and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to explore any of Early English, Irish and Celtic, Old Timey American, Bluegrass, Klezmer, Flamenco, Rock, Blues, Jazz solos, etc, it helps to have some appreciation of the different modes you will encounter, to my mind, though I guess some might see it as intellectual snobbery.


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