mudcat.org: a mnemonic for the modes
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


a mnemonic for the modes

Related threads:
Relative Minor Key signatures? (57)
Modes for Mudcatters: A Synthesis Primer (115)
Tech Talk: Modes and Scales Again (117)
Musical Modes...Anyone Understand? (75)
Transposing Chords and Keys (37)
More About Modes (70)
modes tutorial update (17)
The Naming of Modes (38)
Is the tempered scale overrated? (56)
Modal Music - How to tell? (98)
Modes vs Scales (47)
Music Theory Mavens: D down to C, etc.? (28)
15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used??? (19)
Who Named the Modes? (49)
What is a key, anyway? (31)
Why Keys? (53)
Modes? (56)
singing in key of G (17)


GUEST,leeneia 11 Jun 06 - 10:31 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 10:46 AM
Tig 11 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM
Tootler 11 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,DB 11 Jun 06 - 12:33 PM
Amos 11 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 01:05 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jun 06 - 01:30 PM
number 6 11 Jun 06 - 01:33 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 01:53 PM
Stringsinger 11 Jun 06 - 02:26 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM
Little Robyn 11 Jun 06 - 03:30 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jun 06 - 03:43 PM
KateG 11 Jun 06 - 05:27 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,DB 11 Jun 06 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 11 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 05:35 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 06 - 05:58 PM
paddymac 11 Jun 06 - 06:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 06:49 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 07:07 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 07:08 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:11 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 07:16 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:17 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 07:18 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:33 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:45 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 08:04 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 06 - 08:45 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 11 Jun 06 - 09:01 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 11 Jun 06 - 10:08 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 10:15 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Jun 06 - 10:26 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 10:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 06 - 10:41 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Jun 06 - 11:52 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jun 06 - 11:53 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jun 06 - 05:25 AM
pavane 12 Jun 06 - 07:16 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Jun 06 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,fogie 12 Jun 06 - 09:54 AM
M.Ted 12 Jun 06 - 12:51 PM
M.Ted 12 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Jun 06 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 12 Jun 06 - 07:17 PM
paddymac 12 Jun 06 - 09:47 PM
M.Ted 13 Jun 06 - 12:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jun 06 - 01:07 PM
KateG 13 Jun 06 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 13 Jun 06 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM
Tootler 13 Jun 06 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Ken Brock 13 Jun 06 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 06 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jun 06 - 05:21 PM
Artful Codger 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Jun 06 - 08:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Jun 06 - 09:49 PM
M.Ted 14 Jun 06 - 01:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 14 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Jun 06 - 06:33 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 07:00 AM
M.Ted 14 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 06:46 PM
Artful Codger 14 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jun 06 - 10:16 PM
pavane 15 Jun 06 - 02:22 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 05:11 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 Jun 06 - 06:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 06:47 AM
pavane 15 Jun 06 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Jun 06 - 09:37 AM
Tootler 15 Jun 06 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Val 15 Jun 06 - 01:45 PM
M.Ted 15 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 15 Jun 06 - 04:07 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 07:49 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jun 06 - 08:17 PM
M.Ted 15 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Val 16 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Jun 06 - 04:51 PM
KenBrock 16 Jun 06 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Jun 06 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Jun 06 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Rowan 05 Jul 06 - 07:50 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Jul 06 - 10:03 PM
leeneia 06 Jul 06 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 06 - 08:51 AM
leeneia 07 Jul 06 - 09:25 AM
Snuffy 07 Jul 06 - 10:05 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:











Subject: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:31 AM

First of all, a mnemonic (pronounced ne-mon-ic with a short e) is a device that assists the memory.

Second, I went to an early music workshop where they handed out a list of the modes. This is how they work. Take a major scale, any scale. If a song begins and presumably ends on the first note of the scale, and if the half-note intervals are between 3&4 and 7&8, then it is in the Ionian mode. (Those half-notes are exactly where we would expect them to be in a major scale. The intervals of a major scale are tonic-whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half.)

Each time we go up a step with our starting note, we have a new mode. If we number the notes, the whole and half steps get new numbers. We keep the tonic-whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half order, but we start and end in a different place in that list. Historically, emphasis is placed on where the half-steps are because they often pack the wallop.

The names of the modes are:

Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydia
Mixolydian
Aolian
Locrian.

I'm trying to develop a mnemonic sentence for remembering the modes in order. I've got a start but need help finishing it:

Iona (and) Dora prefer Lydia's mixed (or mixture of) ------ -------.

We need words that begin with A and L, preferably that evoke Aolian and Locrian. Any ideas?

BTW, I don't find modes useful at all, even in doing Greogorian chant. Mostly I use this knowledge to deal with people who irritate me by dismissing any creative piece of traditional music with a shrug and "It's modal."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:46 AM

"I Don't Peel Leftover Mangoes, Apples or Leeks"

"I Don't Pamper Lovers - Men, Animals or Ladies" (!!)

An easy way to remember what these modes actually sound like is to play on a piano keyboard, using the white keys only, an octave scale:

C to C = Ionian
D to D = Dorian
E to E = Phrygian
F to F = Lydian
G to G = Mixolydian
A to A = Aeolian
B to B = Lochrian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: Tig
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM

Ariel Locations?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM

I don't find modes useful at all, even in doing Greogorian chant. Mostly I use this knowledge to deal with people who irritate me by dismissing any creative piece of traditional music with a shrug and "It's modal."

I think you make a mistake dismissing modes in this way, Leeneia. A great many traditional tunes are based on scales which are not the major/minor of modern western tonality. In fact one way of looking at it is that the modern major and minor scales are simply two of a number of possible modes. The different modes give a different "feel" to a tune, just as major and minor tunes are different in feel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 12:11 PM

Leenia, you can squash the trad-dismissers by simply informing them that ALL music is modal. It simply means is that it's based on a scale. People like that irritate me too, not only for their (attempted) condescension toward folk tunes but also for their pretentiousness. I've even heard them mis-pronounce "modal"! Saying a melody is modal is like saying, "We are having weather today."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonicfor the modes
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 12:33 PM

I would really like to understand this - I really, really would!
The trouble is that merely expressing these ideas in words gives no idea about what the notes/intervals actually sound like. And telling me about notes on a piano doesn't help either as (a) I haven't got a piano and (b)I would have absolutely no idea which keys to press if I had. I also suspect that playing scales (on some musical instrument or other) would be of limited use because I would struggle to hear how they would relate to actual tunes which use that particular scale/mode.

Is there any way into this for a musical ignoramus like me ... ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM

Each mode is a scale, Guest. When you sing a song, all, or at least almost all the notes come from one scale.

The intervals between the notes allowed in the scale are different in each mode.

If you can even find a picture of a piano keyboard and name the keys, you can see the mechanism using Bonnie Shaljean's suggestion above.

Most of our western songs in a major scale have intervals between the notes that go like this (in units of "half-notes"):

2-2-1-2-2-2-1

which you can see for yourself just by playing the major scale on any string.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 01:05 PM

DB, if you know someone who has a piano or any type of electronic keyboard, get them to show you which white key corresponds to which alphabet letter. There are only seven different ones, after which they repeat in the same pattern. (This info will also be printed in any beginner's piano book, and I'll bet there are music theory websites that show it too.)

I shouldn't have described it as "playing a scale" because you don't need any instrumental technique at all - just tap the "C" key with your index finger, move to the key on the right ("D") and do the same, then repeat this for 8 keys (which is more useful than tapping only 7 - won't try to explain why!). The keys sit alphabetically, though the first note tends to be C, so it goes C D E F G A B and then repeats in that order all the way up to the top of the keyboard & beyond.

It's actually no problem once you try it. Or else get whoever owns the keyboard to do this for you. As Tootler has said, each series of notes (scale) has its own unique tone colour.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 01:30 PM

Then you have those who wish to complicate life by transposing the modes, keeping the tone and semitone (step and half-step order the same but moving the whole lot up or down by a fixed interval.

I have heard two naming systems used. I do not know which is correct.

One takes the name from the start note - - so they you can have "myxolidian A" which (in this nomenclature) is the myxolidian "scale" starting at A.

Some however name differently, and the logic goes that since all the modes as set out above use all the white notes, all of them must be in C major. So if you move all the notes up a tone, you must have a new set of modes in D, which you can identify by naming just as before, but suffixing the ordinary major key from which the notes come - EG Myxolidian D. In this nomenclature Myxolidian A would have three sharps. However each mode would start on a different note. Ionian A would start 9 semitones up from Ionian C, ie on A but Myxolidian A would then start another 7 semitones up (the interval from C to G) ie on E.

Can anyone justify either system of nomenclature?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: number 6
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 01:33 PM

Would the Nasville numbering system provide some insite into what is in question here?

sIx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 01:53 PM

I'd use the first one Richard!! It's a bit like moveable Do (as in Do Re Mi) vs. fixed Do.

I can't see ANY reason to conflate modes and keys. It's clearest just to specify G (the key) and Mixolydian/Ionian/whatever (the mode).

The whole point of an identified mode is that it's a structure (or tonal colouring) which you can transpose into any key, regardless of what note you start on. So you get Mixolydian C by simply flatting the 7th (i.e. Bb) and Ionian G by raising it (F#). It's by far the simplest and clearest way, and keeps modes and scale pitches in separate camps, where they belong (..."if God had intended them to be mixed...").

DB, ya still with us? DB???   DB?????????????   :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 02:26 PM

The contemporary jazz musicians have developed a series of chordal cadences based on modes. George Russell's "Theory of Lydian Tonality" treatise is an example.

There are examples of chord progressions based on be-bop modes or some on "Lochrian" modes which are not historically part of the Church Modes. Lochrian or Lochryan is a theoretical mode based on the seventh note of a major diatonic scale. B,C,D,E,F,G,A,B. It is not found historically. Someon devised it because the original Church Modes were based on a "gapped" or Hexatonic scale which did not include the seventh note of a modern diatonic sacle.



Here's the deal with folk music and modes. There is no proof that folk music is based on early Church Modes. This is sheer speculation and inferred by academics who have an agenda. Cecil Sharp was trying to find English folk songs in America.
There is some evidence that this might not be the case. Many of the singing styles and fretless banjo playing styles of the Southern Mountains contain what some might call micro-tones or quarter-tones. If you listen to Appalachian singers, they tend to sharp the seventh degree of the scales (assuming that you listen to them with what we know of key-toned scales) and that the African-American based singers tend to flat the seventh tone from a "tempered" pitch. This kind of ornamental pitch-change is not found in Church Modes.

I think that "modality" is basically a reference to Early Music and has perhaps little relationship to folk music. You can of course write a stylistic "folk tune" in a Church Mode and call it a folk song if you want to.

A kind of consistency in so-called "out of tune" singing by ethnic American folk musicians has yet to be studied by ethnomusicologists.
I think it's safe to say that there are musical patterns that define an American approach to traditional folk music.

The study of the Church Modes however is useful depending on how you apply it. In music every rule was made to be broken and even Bach broke his own rules.

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM

Any Scottish pipers out there? Because from what I can recall (and someone correct me if I'm remembering it a bit wrongly) the top "C" on Scottish Highland(?) pipes - which actually sounds at A but is so sharp that it's almost a Bb - is greater than an octave above its lower C. To any ears accustomed to the equal-tempered scale, the top C on the pipes sounds out of tune (sharp), but is correct according to the pipe scale.

In view of the points Frank has made, I wonder how much our tendency to "round off" into the equal-tempered scale (ditto the dearth of analysis of micro-tonal singing & playing) is due to the simple fact that the micro-tones can't be accurately written down, so just get left out? If this music is being reproduced by any process other than hearing and passing it on live, it has no language; and sooner or later it's going to be preserved in writing, hence its impoverished state. The same is true for the elaborate Celtic ornamentation too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Little Robyn
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 03:30 PM

For total non-musicians, does everybody know Doe, a deer, from Sound of music?
OK, that do,re,me,fa,so,la,te,do the kids sing is the Ionian mode.
Now, if you jump up to re, start from there for 8 notes, you're on the Dorian mode.
Start from so and you're in Mixolydian mode.
If someone is singing 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor', the chances are they're using the Mixolydian mode. If they're playing a guitar, they'll probably use chords like D and C instead of D,G and A.
And Aolian goes from la.
Maybe it would be useful to have a list of commonly known songs with their modes listed beside them. It's easier to hear the difference if you recognise the tune.
Robyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 03:43 PM

However, Bonnie, the consequence of your preferred nomenclature is that in the scale of C there are the following modes: -

C to C = Ionian C
D to D = Dorian D
E to E = Phrygian E
F to F = Lydian F
G to G = Mixolydian G
A to A = Aeolian A
B to B = Lochrian B

I find that a bit illogical, and if a tune is called in "Myxolidian A" I'm going to find the second system more helpful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: KateG
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:27 PM

Richard

Here's a way that I've found helpful in differentiating the two nomenclatures.

1) If you are building your modal scales using the sharp and flat notes of a particular scale: eg C to C, D to D, E to E etc. using only the white keys of the C major scale, then it makes sense to refer to them as the Ionian _OF_ C, the Dorian _OF_ C, the Phyrgian _OF_ C. This seems to conform to the usage (or at least the meaning) of classically trained musicians.

2) The other method starts by naming the home tone or root of the scale or tune, and then the mode to indicate the pattern of whole and half steps. Thus a C scale with no sharps or flats would be a C major or C ionian scale. If it has one flat (B flat - the flatted seventh), then it would be C mixolydian, and so forth. This seems to make more sense for us trad types, since it conveys two vital pieces of information: the home tone and the harmonic structure.

For those of you who don't like to get too technical but know your basic key signatures, a quick way to spot a modal tune is to look for a disconnect between the home tone (usually the first and/or last note of the tune) and the key signature. So, if it looks like it's in C major (= aeolian, normally nothing), G major (normally one sharp - F#), D major (F# & C#) or A major (F#, C# and G#) but it seems to be missing the last sharp or has one too many flats (whether in the key sig or as accidentals), then it's a mixolydian tune. And if it looks like a minor tune, but it has one too many sharps then its a Dorian tune: A minor (= aeolian normally nothing), E minor (normally F#), B minor (normally F# & C#), F# minor (normally F#, C# and G#).

Are you hopelessly confused? Hope not...it's a fun game to play once you get the hang of it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM

Hi Richard -

Not quite! In the scale of C, all seven modes would begin on C, but each one consists of a different interval structure. All I meant (but probably failed to convey) was to simply keep key (pitches and their relationships, e.g. tonic to dominant) and mode as separate things and identify each property independently of the other.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:33 PM

Dear Bonnie,

I appreciate your efforts to help me - thanks! There's nothing for it, I'll just have to buy myself some sort of keyboard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM

Try the modes tutorial on my website:

http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/Music/Modes.abc

You will need ABC software to make effective use of it (it's free or cheap).

I slant it mainly at Scottish music but the basic framework fits things as
remote as Indian ragas. I've covered every issue raised in this thread and
a lot more.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:35 PM

Kate, my "not quite" was in response to the thread above yours - we crossed-posted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 05:58 PM

members.aol.com/liberal7arts/ mus/melody/modes/modalmap.html

Great site there. Worth reading.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: paddymac
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 06:15 PM

DB - you can do like many others of us do - further you musical acumen right here at "Mudcat U." You're are unlikely to find a bigger or better "faculty" of talented people genuinely willing to help you along.
BTW, your "call sign" is my pedrsonal mnemonic (Defensive Back) for remembering the Ionian - Aolian pair in the key of "D".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 06:49 PM

Of course, there is something important about modes that you have so far avoided like the 'plague'... :-0


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:07 PM

Which is ...?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:08 PM

Ahhh, Plagal cadence! Clever -


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:11 PM

Which NOW you are going to explain... :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:16 PM

O gosh. Weren't you making a pun? Tell you what, I'll explain if you will. A plagal cadence is a final chord resolution IV-I, from the sub-dominant chord to the tonic. In plain English, in church hymns when you sing "Amen" at the end, that's a plagal cadence.

Your turn! What have we been avoiding like the plague?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:17 PM

Nope!

The Plagal Mode!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:18 PM

R.O.F.G. (rolls over on the floor groaning)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:33 PM

I play many different instruments of various types.

When learning the whistle, I was struck by how naturally it is a Bi-Modal Instrument.

If you play 'along the tube, the 'Authentic Mode' scale runs from 'all fingers on' - up one octave.

If you play 'around the corner', the 'Plagal Mode' scale runs from 'all fingers of bottom hand off' up one octave.

The whistle is easy for this, as the seventh of the 'Authentic Mode' scale is easily flattened, just by adding some fingers and keeping at least the top hole open.

On a C whistle the 'Major Keys - Ionian Modes' of C and G, for D whistle players, D & A.

"Each Plagal Mode begins on the Dominant, four notes below the Final of its corresponding Authentic Mode (but ends on the same Final as its corresponding Authentic Mode)."
from
FOLK MUSIC FOR THE VIOLIN LEARNER

I know I act the Foole a lot, but stop laughing, this is serious!

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:37 PM

There is a serious lesson in this, for all those who wish to proudly ignore 'modes' - they are an inherent underlying part of the structure of Music, and

"Ignorance is NOT Bliss!!!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:45 PM

Further, from the approach of that site I linked to, you can now understand the basis of that invertible Perpetual Civil War between "Violin Players" and "Fiddle Players" -

One proudly claims all that 'technical knowledge' is just 'Bullshit' and proudly tries to denigrate acquisition of such knowledge: the other believes - in the Spirit of 'The Renaissance Man', that the more knowledge about the whole matter, including History, the better.

Never The Twain Shall Meet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM

"invertible" ???!!!!

Damn Spell Checker - Inevitable Error, I suppose...

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 08:04 PM

Stumbling around further on the Net, I found this which clarifies some points too...

ORB Online Encyclopedia
"Music"
Introduction to Church Modes
Cynthia J. Cyrus


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 08:45 PM

Iona and Dora Lyke to Mix Ale and Loquats?

A major difficulty in explaining modes by the C to B method is that the tonic keeps shifting, so the scale still sounds like C major/Ionian to the person trying it, and is no use at all to the person trying to sing in, say, G Dorian.

So, assuming one has enough understanding of music theory to recognize that the melodic minor scale is the major scale with the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes lowered, the standard modes are:

--------------------------------------------
Ionian = major scale [reference scale]
Dorian = lowered 3rd and 7th = minor with a raised 6th
Phrygian = lowered 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th = minor with lowered 2nd
Lydian = raised 4th
Mixolydian = lowered 7th
Aolian = minor [melodic] = lowered 3rd, 6th and 7th
Locrian = lowered 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th
--------------------------------------------

Of course, I'm talking about relative lowering/raising, not sharps and flats. This system works for all chromatic scale tones. You can ignore the Locrian mode; you will rarely if ever encounter it.

Then there are the "hyper" modes (e.g. Hypermixolydian), where the melody centers on (esp. begins/ends on) the 5th tone of the reference mode, rather than the 1st. Since the shift to even-tempering, we tend to hear and label these as other modes.

I won't bother to get into other "odd" modes, like the ascending and harmonic minors, pentatonic scales, ambiguous modes and bagpipe tuning. As others have said, there are many modes that don't fit the liturgical classification, much less our even-tempered diatonic scale.

I tried to include an ASCII-formatted (tab = 8 spaces) crib sheet to help in dealing with modes, but even using CODE or PRE tags the alignment got botched - any help, you lot? My crib lists:

The modes in scale order, with their interval patterns and alterations from the major/Ionian.
A map of key signature (sharps/flats) to the tonic in each mode.
A map of tonic/mode to key signature.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM

"the scale still sounds like C major/Ionian to the person trying it, and is no use at all to the person trying to sing in, say, G Dorian."

This is only because the world now runs on 'even tempered'... and the Piano Accordion was the devil that spread that!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 09:01 PM

The tables in my modes tutorial work okay in any monospace font, I think.
I included more or less what you describe.

I didn't use tabs. You can't count on tab settings being either constant or
easily changeable - I don't think there is anything in HTML standards
to define their rendering within PRE blocks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:08 PM

Fascinating discussion. Mind you, my brain is starting to hurt, but I am learning stuff.

A minor fine point (no pun intended there) without referring to the simplification of illustrating examples with the 'C' scale (and assuming that I am getting a handle on this):

Ionian (what we commonly refer to as the major scale)
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian (often called the 'blues scale')
Aeolian (the minor scale)
Lochrian

Also point out that what I and a lot of folks refer to as a 'modal' tune simply means a tune in which chords are neither major nor minor. In this case 'modal' is a descriptive, or even slang term, technically incorrect and really just helps to confuse all the other stuff that's been talked about above! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:15 PM

Ah! Dammit! Siily Me!

And I thought you guys wanted to keep it SIMPLE!

Now you wanna bring CHORDS (more than one fundamental tone sounding at a time!) into this discussion....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:26 PM

Jeremiah, I don't think Mixolydian is a definition of a blues scale - it has a major 3rd, and if it carries any descriptive name I'd think it would probably be something like the Celtic scale, because that dropped 7th is a distinctive feature of much of the music. Blues traditionally has a minor 3rd, and the two common minor scales are the Dorian and the Aeolian, the difference between them being a raised 6th (Dorian) or lowered 6th (Aeolian). The Phrygian has a minor 3rd in it, but always sounds - to my ear at least - like an Ionian that someone forgot to finish, rather than a true minor scale.

The "blues scale" that I know of - just to keep life from being too simple - is not one of these seven. It has gaps in it and a flat 5th as well as the natural 5th. In other words, if you played it on a piano keyboard (or any other instrument, come to that) starting on C, it would be (trying to type this while listening to Fidelio in the headphones!):

C D Eb F Gb G Bb C

Or you can leave the D out: I sometimes tune my harp this way and play scales (or make the D into D# so it rings against the Eb) which takes some of the tedium out of them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:35 PM

"you wanna bring CHORDS into this discussion"

AH!

Well you, see, music that was 'MODAL' generally focused on the 'horizontal progression of a tune' (as viewed on printed sheet music). Of course, from this early historical period, there existed minimal methods to actually write 'Music' down in an easily reproduced format. There still exists such 'horizontal music' (in mostly 'Just', not 'Even Tempered' format) in Eastern Cultures - but it is being rapidly consumed and replaced.

Any 'vertical harmonies' were mostly accidental (pardon the pun!) in this scheme of things. Which also funnily enough explains the reason for later cultural use of that word for 'key signature modifications'!!!

After it became possible to easily write permanent unambiguous visual records of music 'as an author intended', 'Western European Culture Music' began to drift more into the 'vertical harmonies' game. And began to be more obsessed with straight-jacketing "Modes into Scales" and "Chordal Structures", as well as obsessing over things in the horizontal frame such as the 'Plagal Cadence' previously mentioned...

Then they began to use larger ensembles and wanted to standardise pitch tuning...

So arose the 'Cult of The Composer'... and individual performers became much less important. Thus the death of Western 'Folk Music' began, and when the 'Music Recording Industry' arrived, that put more nails in the coffin... but like Dracula, it just refuses to lie down permanently...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 10:41 PM

"just refuses to lie down permanently"

Oh yes... and many pretentious uneducated ignorant twats insist on spraying around terms that they don't really understand so that they can pretend to those more ignorant and uneducated than themselves, that they might actually know something...


"Those that think they know everything, only annoy those of us who do!"

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 11:52 PM

As to the original request for a 'memberer, insisting that you start with the Ionian (Major scale) is completely unnecessary. The minor is arguably much more often used, and if you start with it, the modes, in ascending order are:

Aolian
Locrian
Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydia
Mixolydian

"Any Lassie Is Dumb Pursuing Laddies' Money."
"Any Lady is Damned Pursuing Losers' Money." (Adults only version)

(If it's "sexist" offensive, swap Lassie/Lady and Laddie/Loser. It'll still be sexist, but different people will be offended.)

It may be just personal stupidity, but it seems to me that one really needs to abandon the attachment to the major and minor - just forget about them - in order to really appreciate the other modes.

As a further "jog" for the memory that results if you start with Aeolian, on the white keys of the piano Aeolian starts on A. (Ionian doesn't start on the I key.)

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jun 06 - 11:53 PM

Thank you Kate G, that is very helpful (and logical and internally consistent)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 05:25 AM

Jeremiah: Do selchies sing in Lochrian mode? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: pavane
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 07:16 AM

And the probable reason for the modes to have declined in popularity was the more limited scope for harmony. In the most common modes, you don't have the v7 chord to use, as it doesn't resolve to the tonic chord of the mode.

So when harmonies and chords became an essential part of western music, the major scale became predominant, and the Aeolian mode evolved into the Minor scale(s).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 07:58 AM

OK pavanne, I'll agree with you there too.

But nobody managed to convince the (relatively uneducated - that is in terms of Offical Music Theory!) Folkies of that - they just kept on singing how they felt...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,fogie
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 09:54 AM

I, on Dora's fridge lid mixed ales locally- thats what I use


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 12:51 PM

The idea that a scale starting on C is Ionian, D is Dorian, etc, is a cute, easy, music lesson, but it is of limited to no value for most people--the first question to ask, is, why am I being told about this? If you are going to be writing plainsong chants--OK--If you are studying Jazz, Good--Turkish, Arabic, Indian, Persian classical music, a logical place to begin--but if it doesn't lead you into a specific musical area, the idea of "modes" is simply confusing--

In practical terms, these Ionian, Dorian etc are really just names for seven of the hundreds of possible scales--you could use other names for them--and if you did, it would probably be less confusing.

To get the idea of what really modal music would be, think of the pipes, or the Applalachian dulcimer, or the Turkish Saz or any instruments that use a continuous drone--The idea is that the fundamental tonality doesn't shift--which is to say, the melodic line always plays against or leads to the same note--no chord changes, no key changes, and no   harmonies(other than the drone notes)--(keep in mind that this is a very general idea, just to help clarify a point, and not a cut in stone sort of rule)


And, just to make things more confusing, you can play modal music without using the Ionian, Dorian, etc--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM

Per Pavane's illuminated comment, As Western Music moved in to harmony, they tried to stretch modal theories to accomodate, which was a bit like trying to explain planetary movement in a geocentric universe--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 06:20 PM

Modal is to post-Modal as Cheese is to Chalk!

M Ted
"To get the idea of what really modal music would be, think of the pipes, or the Appalachian dulcimer, or the Turkish Saz or any instruments that use a continuous drone -- The idea is that the fundamental tonality doesn't shift -- which is to say, the melodic line always plays against or leads to the same note -- no chord changes, no key changes, and no harmonies (other than the drone notes"

And the Hurdy Gurdy - tuned with 'Just Temperament'!!

Couldn't put it better myself! And the effect is even more accentuated because it was ALWAYS in 'Just' Temperament, not 'Even'!!! So the intervals (and the resulting harmonies, and the harmonic beats!) between all the notes is very different from that possible with Even Temperament!

I sincerely doubt if it can be Technically Correct (other than for Pretentious Wankers!!!) to call _any_ Music 'Modal' at all, if it is played in a 'Post-Modal' Style, with Even Tempered Instruments???


"they tried to stretch [the existing philosophies, i.e.] modal theories to accommodate"

Humanity is unable to do much else...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 07:17 PM

This gets a lot less rarefied and more obviously practical if you think of it as applying to specific diatonic instruments, like the melodeon, diatonic autoharp or mouth organ.

e.g. E dorian uses the D row on your melodeon, tonic chord is E minor, IV is A major, V is B minor. If your instrument can't produce a D major scale you can't play the tune and if you can't produce those chords you probably can't harmonize it. It's got nothing to do with intonation systems and less to do with church music.

See the tutorial on my website for instrumental applications of gapped scales.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: paddymac
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 09:47 PM

It'll take more than a semester just to glean the depths of theory and practical commentary in this thread. Leenia, mdon't panic and don't give up. All these wonderful and talented and knowledgeable folks will continue to be available here at "Mudcat U" to help out any serious student. Your query simple drew the moths to the fire, or, maybe, brought the fire to the moths.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 12:37 AM

Exactly so, Robin--Those modal intervals are very different from one another--uneven---and the horizontal harmonies(that is, the melodies) have a more complex sound to them on non-diatonic, non-tempered instruments. Lots more tension. That's what we traded off in order to get all those nice fat chords.

And how could I forget the Hurdy-Gurdy? Thanks for setting it right.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:07 PM

Way up the screen, DB asked to hear what the modes sound like. I wish I had thought of it before, but now I have sent in a MIDI that shows what they sound like. If Joe can do it, a MIDI should appear that takes a simple phrase and plays it in the various modes in turn. You will hear a little ditty followed by three chords. After the three chords, the next mode begins. I used all white notes and played them in the order given in the first post.

After they play, you will hear a new phrase. It is in the Locrian mode, the mode starting on F. Then it replays in the key of F, where B's are flatted. This shows the difference between the old mode and a modern scale.

I wonder whether some of these modes were ever used. Did the ancients just think that every possibility needed a name?

The few chants that appear in "Breaking Bread," the book we sing from in Catholic church, don't use these mode names at all. They have "Mode V, Mode VII" etc. And as far as I can tell, the chants in the book don't fit the categories anyway. I suspect that the publisher selected chants that sound more modern to our ears.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: KateG
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:11 PM

Bonnie,

You wrote: Not quite! In the scale of C, all seven modes would begin on C, but each one consists of a different interval structure. All I meant (but probably failed to convey) was to simply keep key (pitches and their relationships, e.g. tonic to dominant) and mode as separate things and identify each property independently of the other.

Actually, I think we're in agreement. What you're describing fits with my nomenclature #2. Specify a home tone, and then use the modal term to indicate the pattern of whole and half steps (and thus the appropriate harmony).

This method also has the advantage of accomodating non-modal scales like blues and pentatonic scales and various non-western scales: they still have a home tone and a pattern of intervals within the octave. It even works for 12-tone music, which uses a chromatic scale.

It occurs to me that the two methods may have their roots in types of instruments used by the various cultures. For instance, if you take a simple folk harp with no levers and tune it to a C major scale you end up with modes following the classical nomenclature system: where each mode starts on a different note but is using the notes of the C major scale: so D dorian is the Dorian_OF_C and so forth. However, instruments with fixed drones tend to build their modes based on a fixed root. Thus with my mountain dulcimer, I tune the drone strings to a fixed tonic and fifth, and adjust the tuning of my melody strings so that the tonic falls on the fret that will give me the pattern of whole and half notes that match the notes in the tune. So in this instance referring to D dorian as the dorian of C is confusing and irrelevant: C major is nowhere in my picture.

Given that much of our current classical nomenclature was codified in the 19th century (based on earlier roots) when the keyboard reigned supreme as the arbiter of pitch and tonality, it is not surprising that the Dorain_OF_C nomenclature took hold. It paid homage to the ancient roots of the system and made sense on a chromatic keyboard. However, now that traditional music is taking its own place and legitimacy, and is expanding beyond the Eurocentric basis of classical music, the folk terminology makes much more sense and is far more flexible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM

"Mode VIII" etc is standard liturgical terminology (explained in my modes tutorial, hasn't *anybody* reading this thread looked at it?)

"D Dorian is the Dorian of C" is utterly confusing and pointless, and it *didn't* take hold; it's not a standard anywhere I know of. We have too much terminology for these concepts already.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:03 PM

Hi Kate -

Yes, I think we're in agreement too - I wrote that "not quite" message before I saw yours, but unfortunately it landed in the pile AFTER yours, so it looked like I was contradicting you. Good old cross posts...

This has been a really interesting thread -


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:53 PM

: instruments with fixed drones tend to build their modes based on a fixed root

Not on the bagpipe. Highland pipes have the drones fixed on A, but tunes can be in A mixolydian, D major, E dorian or B minor (or gapped scales derived from any of those). The interaction between the tonal centre and the drone is a large part of what gives pipe tunes their distinctive character. B minor (or any gapped scale with B as tonal centre) gives a spectacularly abrasive effect, with the tune resolving onto a major-ninth dissonance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:04 PM

Jack,

I did read through your tutorial a few years ago now. I looked at it on a number of occasions, but I have not been back recently because I found it difficult to see the wood for the trees.

Your tutorial is very comprehensive, but IMHO too detailed for anyone coming new to this. What is needed is a simple introduction to give people a clear understanding of the basics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:18 PM

The mnenomic I've heard is "I don't play loud music any longer".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 03:58 PM

I re-edited that tutorial quite extensively a few months ago, you might like the current version better.

There are quite a few "simple explanations" around on the interweb, and I have problems with all of them. Mostly, they present something that isn't any obvious use for the traditional musician. OK, you can classify the tunes you perform according to a scheme somebody thought up for an entirely different kind of music a few hundred years ago. So what? Why should anybody care?

With the extra detail the gapped-scale system gives you, you can do far more - once you listen to the examples, you can hear how some melodic patterns are typical of certain modes, and you hear how the modes help you *express* something. (Look at the examples of gap-filling development). Knowing where the gaps are and what the common patterns are, you can play tunes better, or improvise on them in ways that will sound more idiomatic. If your instrument has diatonic limitations, you can use the modal structure to play stuff the standard key signature would tell you you couldn't. You can memorize tunes easier.

However, going into intonation is *too much* detail. There are many different intonation schemes you can use for any one mode - Dorian mode is recognizably itself whether you render it in equal temperament, Pythagorean, the classical Turkish system, third-comma meantone or whatever.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 04:28 PM

I had come up with "I Don't Pet Leeches, Mites, And Locusts"

But I think I prefer Ken Brock's!

And to add some confusion to the "what's a mode" discussion, I had a short (2 hour) class on medieval harp with Diana Stork earlier this year, and she discussed some of the modes from a Medieval perspective. For one thing, the Greek names weren't in vogue. Rather, they called them (I hope I'm recalling this correctly) things like Primus, Secondus, Tertius, etc.   

In this philosophy, the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale. Melodies were usually constructed with this as a "home". Melodic phrases generally started on this note and either resolved to 1/5 higher (or 1/4 lower) - an "open" phrase, or resolved to the home note - a "closed" phrase.

So if your instrument is tuned in C, and you played the mode centered around the F note (I think this was called Tetrardis, but I don't have my notes handy. The "Fourth" mode, at any rate), you might have a (VERY simple) melody that goes something like:

F - (ascending) A - B - C - D - B- C (open phrase, ending 1/5 up from home)
followed by
F - (descending) D - C - D - (back up to) F - A - F (second phrase, resolving to the home note)

Although our brief workshop didn't get into the detail, Diana also indicated that each mode also had a common rhythm associated with it. So if someone said "This is in Secundus mode" and all the instruments were in tune with each other (no matter what "key" they happened to be in), then everyone would know enough of what the tune would be like that they could "jam" and make it sound good. Kinda like someone saying "12-bar blues in E" these days - if you know the style then you know what rhythm to expect, what notes are going to make up the melody, and what note the phrase is likely to "land" on. So even if you don't know exactly where the leader's going, you can manage a decent accompaniment.

These days, with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles, the notion of Modes may not be so useful.

Val


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 04:48 PM

I'd suggest that "with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles" the notion of mode is even more useful. The point of mixing styles is to set up transitions between them, which means having chunks of music in clearly-defined modes, and it helps to understand what those modes are if you're going to compose in them.. The gap-filling development I described is one way of doing that - not so new, the earliest example I gave was from the 13th century.

And you even get it with Highland bagpipe music - as if having only nine notes in a diatonic scale wasn't restriction enough, composers of pipe marches from the early 19th century on went in for pentatonic modes in an unprecedented way. The idea was to liven up the marching by regular changes of tonality. (Earlier Scottish music isn't anywhere near as systematically pentatonic as this Army repertoire - the idea that pentatonic scales are primordial is dead wrong).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 05:21 PM

I posted this MIDI per leeneia's request. I'll let her explain it to you.

Click to play


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM

Yes, all the modes except Locrian are used for real music, even to the present day. I'm sure there are Locrian examples, too, though these are most likely to be pedagogical exercises.

A couple problem with Leeneia's MIDI sampler:

First, the tonal center keeps shifting, rather than staying the same. To the listener, it simply sounds like everything is in C, with the tune and chords simply wandering up the scale but with no shift in either mode or tonal center. It would be better to play them starting on the same note (i.e. keeping the tonal center constant.) As Jack pointed out, C Dorian is NOT the same as playing the C major scale from D to D. C Dorian has E-flat and B-flat. If played that way, the difference in modes would become quite apparent. See my earlier posting.

Second, the sample tune only includes six notes of the scale; it lacks the 7th. Consequently, the full character of each mode is not apparent. The Ionian and Mixolydian modes differ only in whether the 7th is lowered, so these samples, if played from the same tonal center, would sound identical!

I think Leeneia has the right idea, though - a tune is worth a thousand words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:53 PM

It makes sense to present modes both ways, with the pitch set fixed and with the tonal centre fixed. That's what I do. People who play diatonic instruments (melodeon, moothie, bagpipe, clarsach) have to think in the fixed-pitch-set model.

If you really want to try the experiment of playing the same tune in different modes, you can use any ABC player (or ABC MIDI-fier) and change the "K" line in a tune to each mode in turn. What you will typically find is that one sounds right, one sounds sort-of-okay and the rest sound crap. This is telling you that modes determine melodic structures. The next step is to listen to a whole lot of tunes in various modes that all sound good as written (which is why I included so many examples).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:49 PM

QUOTE
"with chromatic instruments that can handle accidentals, and tunes that mix rhythms and styles" the notion of mode is even more useful.
UNQUOTE

Sorry. Missed the boat! Although I do admire your efforts to assist others to start off on the torturous path of understanding 'Modes', even if you are getting distracted by 'Modern Pseudo-Modes'.

Strictly speaking, based on Music Historical Theory, 'Just Tempered Chromatic Instruments' able to play in all keys WITH other instruments from random makers is very ironic, and damn near impossible(###) ...

In the days before "Major & Minor" took over, instruments were built ONLY with "Just Tuning"... yes, an 'old' un-fretted 'Just tempered' string instrument CAN play in EVEN Temper, but only if the muso knows HOW to..., and vice versa...

You should really ask a Trombone Teacher about the delights of getting 'cloth eared' beginners to play in Real Even Temper Tuning!!! :-) hehehehe! My Grandfather was a Brass Band player! "Even Tempered Trombones", is an OLD Brass band Players JOKE!

Those who do not understand History are condemned to keep repeating their mistakes.

If you try to play an 'old' wind instrument like a recorder in Just temperament with a modern Even tempered one, you will NOTICE the problem...

Artful Codgers comments of 13 Jun 06 - 08:18 PM sidestep this somewhat, as he appears to be saying all that from the viewpoint of 'Modern Even Tempered Instruments' - which is technically VERY misleading.

You CANNOT disentangle($$$) 'Modes' from 'Just Temperament', unless you are doing a 'Lewis Carroll Humpty Dumpty' and 'making words mean just (pardon the pun!) what you want them to mean'! You CAN do 'SORTA MODES' thingies with Even Tempered Instruments, but the technical things, and they can be easily displayed on an oscilloscope screen! say there are BIG DIFFERENCES in the beat frequencies!!!

(###)
A 'Just Tempered Instrument Built In The Key of C'(@@@) behaves VERY differently technically when 'demonstrating pseudo-modes' from an Even Tempered Instrument Tuned to C - Concert Pitch... and also behaves VERY differently technically to a 'Just Tempered Instrument Built In The Key of D'(@@@), which is WHY 'The Well Tempered Clavier' was brought into existence by that famous Composer, and the instrument it was INTENDED to be played on, WAS NOT an Even Tempered one, but one of the better practical (not mathematical!) hand built attempts to create what _evolved_ INTO modern 1/12 based Even Temperament!

(@@@)
And these two CANNOT be played ensemble to make sweet music...
which is WHY 'Even Temper' had to be created!

($$$)
Of course you CAN discuss all the variants of differing SCALES (a predefined set of consecutive tones separated in pitch by predetermined fixed pitch intervals) all you want, but since NOWADAYS, it is ALWAYS ASSUMED that they will ALL be in 'Even Temper'... sigh, here we go around again... (Scales are NOT Modes...)

Confused yet? :-)

Try Indian Classical Music then :-) ...

Robin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 01:57 AM

A couple things--first, the discussion of modes is pointless and meaningless unless you are talking about a specific sort of music--Jack Campin's articles are very useful because they have a very specific subject, and are replete with examples--

Second, the Diana Stork businesss referred to above has to do with the plagal modes that Foolestroupe made the comment about above--the original eight Church Modes consisted of four authentic modes, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian, in which were descending octaves that ended on the name pitch, and plagal modes, Hypodorian, Hypophrygian, Hypolydian, and Hypomixolydian, which went a fifth above and a fourth below the name pitch.

third, to make things less confusing, it is helpful to think of their being two different classes of modes, relative modes, in which a C dorian mode would be a Dorian that starts on D relative to C, and absolute modes, in which the C dorian would be a dorian that starts on C.

Fourth, "tempered" means that all the half-steps in the scale have been evened out. There are various systems of temperament for keyboard instruments and fretted instruments, however, many instruments, such as violins and trombones, are not tempered--that means that notes like F# and Gb are not the same on them, and that, when playing in the key of C, C to G is a perfect fifth interval but D to A isn't, and the reverse is true in key of D--

Fifth, for practical purposes, Ionic, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian relative modes all have the same notes in them.    This means that when you play one, it is pretty much going to sound like all the others, unless you have further rules about where you start and end--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:02 AM

"In this philosophy, the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale. Melodies were usually constructed with this as a "home". Melodic phrases generally started on this note and either resolved to 1/5 higher (or 1/4 lower) - an "open" phrase, or resolved to the home note - a "closed" phrase."

"MIDDLE note of the tune"

Here I ASS-U-ME that you REALLY mean 'MIDDLE note of the pitch RANGE of the tune'

Hmm, I'm no longer a teenager, so I'm no longer an expert, but what I have learned was that it was the 'ending note' that defined the Mode. Some tunes did start there too.

"the mode was defined by the MIDDLE note of the tune, not the endpoints of the scale."

This sounds more like the 'Plagal Mode', not the 'Authentic Mode'... the latter from which the 'Major & Minor scales' evolved.

Part of the 'Musica Ficta' game involved knowing just when you flattened a (usually seventh) pitch, and being not confused by mixing 'Authentic & Plagal' Modes.

Earlier real 'Modal Music' was strangled and mangled to fit into the new evolving 'music' based on the 'King of Instruments' - the keyboard, as has been mentioned above.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Dorian mode is recognisably itself whether you render it in equal temperament, Pythagorean, the classical Turkish system, third-comma mean-tone or whatever. "

I'm sorry, but all I can say is 'Humpty dumpty strikes again!' - I'd really like to see and hear a demonstration of this thesis - and it can't be in midi - my (normal PC) midi player can only play in Even Temperament! The basic 'Tone - Semitone' spacing arrangement might be DEFINED to be 'itself', I suppose, once one has got one's ear 'calibrated' for each of the differing microtonaly tuned systems... but of course you have compared apples with oranges, because the technical BASIS of the definitions of 'Tone & Semitone' is redefined (look at the oscilloscope and measure the frequencies!) in each system you mention...
~~~~~~~~~~~~

"many instruments, such as violins and trombones, are not tempered"

Sigh! If only THAT were true - you can play in any temper you want on those, you just have to blow, or finger the 'naturally occurring Just' notes to the even temper... See "Even Tempered Trombones", is an OLD Brass band Players JOKE! above.. you can even play in a bad temper if you want... sorry.. :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are playing with modern 'Even (1/12) Temper' instruments you have to discard all thoughts of 'Ancient Modes', and start all over again, generating 'New Modes' which are really just using 'old words' for 'new concepts' that are similar and perhaps related, but NOT exact copies of the 'original concepts'. Humanity does this confusing bungle all the time, and Politics is Absolutely Trumps at that...
:-) (Un-American Activities, Patriot, etc, indeed! Hahaha!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM

Replying to Foolestroupe's last note:

: In the days before "Major & Minor" took over, instruments were built ONLY with "Just Tuning"

That's muddled history. Major/minor tonality and equal temperament developed independently. The earliest equally tempered instruments were lutes and guitars before 1600 - making a fretted chordal instrument any other way is pretty near impossible. Equal temperament only got to be general practice some time in the 19th century, by which point major/minor tonality had been established for 100 years. And the tunings people used before the era of equal temperament were very varied - baroque-era "meantone" and its variants make A flat higher than G sharp, whereas mediaeval "Pythagorean" tuning does the opposite. Look up "archicembalo" to see how seriously some people took this.

The point is, what do you want the modal system *for*? I've given a lot of reasons why you might want to know the conventional version of it (Glareanus via Zarlino to Bronson) when performing traditional music under *any* tuning system. Can Foolestroupe give an example of where his/her much more complicated and restrictive system (whatever it is) does something helpful?

As far as I can see, the main effect of it would be discouragement - is he/she saying melodeon players simply shouldn't play tunes in modes where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM

With my historical precursor of the Hurdy Gurdy - the Symphonia, I can tune the chanter stop pegs to any pitch I want, then the drone string to any of these I want. You can stuff around with the 'fifth and beats' game to get real 'Just tuning' or use a very expensive electronic tuner set up FOR 'Just' tuning - but if you use a 'normal electronic Tuner', you will always get it 'Even Tempered'!

If I want to play with any other muso with a 'normal modern instrument' I have to tune it back to normal, so it's not worth the bother unless you play it solo all the time - and frankly, it always plays So Low, you can hardly hear it on its own in a big room anyway! :-P

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So if [...] and all the instruments were in tune with each other (no matter what "key" they happened to be in")

As Charlie Brown said... ARRGHH!!!!

"all the instruments were in tune with each other" would only be the case if they were all MADE as a ensemble SET - examples still exist in Collections of such Sets, but no random grab bag of itinerant strolling musicians dare DREAM that they COULD EVER BE in 'pitch tune', as well as 'mode tune'...


"if you take a simple folk harp with no levers and tune it to a C major scale you end up with modes following the classical nomenclature system: where each mode starts on a different note but is using the notes of the C major scale: "

Arrrggggh!!

Not if you tune it with an Even Tempered Electronic Tuner, you don't! OK, CLOSE, but no cigar! You only get 'Modern-Pseudo-Modes'! The resonances are all 'wrong' as they JUST (sorry!) are not 'Just Tempered'... you CAN play tunes in all 24 major and Minor scales on it (except where you lack the necessary chromatic 'accidentals') and they will all sound nice - no jarring sounds. That IS the whole point of the maths behind 'Even Temper'!

There is a music cult that claims that each scale has its own 'emotion' - perhaps true when using 'Just' instruments, but technically impossible (but not mentally impossible - the brain is wonderful!) for 'Even' instruments, you need to really understand the mathematics and physics to realise that this can be only BS, as all the intervals are 'EVEN', and when we threw away the 'Just tunings' - those 'emotional sounds' went with the bathwater. Ok, if you really suck hard on that funny smelling cigarette, you CAN convince yourself of anything 'emotional'...

OK, OK, OK, I can feel a tiny 'emotional' difference between a Major and Minor, but for each of all the 12 Major and all 24 (Harmonic and ...) scales, I only possess a normal 'relative' and not a precise 'absolute' 'pitch sense', so can't really feel much emotional difference. Now when you play a particular PIECE of music, I can feel 'emotions', but that often has more to do with use of particular pitch interval progressions, or combinations of particular instruments.

But, there is perhaps an exception - if you have acapella voices that are VERY well trained, the human voice has a tendency to be attracted to 'Just' pitch differences (tunings) [all to do simply with the Physics {Maths} of vibrating objects, as first accredited to Pythagoras], unless you have been thoroughly 'culturised' to reject that for 'Even'. Ever wondered why SOME acapella groups give you a different buzz? You need accurate measuring instruments to tell, because most people's ears are not that good (and the human mind is exceptionally good at forcing our perceptions of reality into predetermined models - ha! nearly said 'Modes'!), but there IS an emotional difference :-).


"But you CAN drive a American car in Australia or Great Britain!"

Yes, BUT! IF you don't want to keep running into things, like other cars, you'll have to be sensitive enough to accept that you must drive on the OTHER side of the road, and then you'll find that the driver's seat is inconveniently not positioned where you can easily see down the centre of the road, but can see only the gutter... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The curse of being a well trained modern musician, is that you have forced your brain to automatically adjust to 'Even Temper', so that when you raise or lower the reference pitch by a few Hz, the scale still sounds the same... When I was a youngster and entering Eisteddfods, my teacher transposed all the pieces I had to sing, into some really weird keys with lots of 'fly specs' everywhere, just to get the tune (alright - Mode, in ONE sense of meaning!) into EXACTLY the right pitch range to suit my vocal range, and thus was not forcing me to sing other than right in the center of my natural range! She WAS a very good teacher, so maybe THAT's why I often did pretty well in the comps...

:-0


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:33 AM

I don't play like my Aunt Lydia
G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM

Jack - you seem to have a wider and more deep Musical Education than I - I am just a 'generalist'.

"The point is, what do you want the modal system *for*?"

Ah! :-) Everybody wants it, like some 'token of the true cross' to prove that they are much better than others... :-)
~~~~~~

"saying melodeon players simply shouldn't play tunes in modes where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2?"

You used that WORD again - which has so many confusing differing meanings... :-)

No, I am not saying that - but the Word 'Mode' in Music Theory/History has some very restricted meanings - and I use the plural advisedly - if you have been following this torrent of words, you SHOULD understand why, cause it meant apparently different things to people in different periods of history!!!

OK, I'll agree that these players may be trying to IMITATE something like that!!! But melodeon players (or any other Musician who wants to be taken seriously) 'playing instruments where the fifth from the tonic isn't a pure 3:2' should not attempt to delude us, or themselves that they are doing something seriously 'OLD' and - Shut your eyes!!! 'TRADITIONAL'!!!! by pretending to play in Modes!!!..... If they DO insist on trying that on, some people may well chuckle and mutter the naughty 'W' word under our breaths!
:-)

The trouble is that IF we insist on degrading the words used to describe precise things, then the words end up having no real meaning! Which is what Lewis Carrol was satirising with the Humpty Dumpty quote I used above.

Take for example the current argument about wanting "Intelligent Design" to be taught in "Science" Classes. "ID" can NEVER be part of Science(@@@), as it is a 'Belief System'! I don't wish to STOP teaching of ID in schools, but please put it in the correct place, in the 'Philosophy' subject - the Study of 'Belief Systems'. WHAT? You don't want 'Philosophy' taught as a real subject cause there are too many 'subversive ideas'? Subversive to what? YOUR Absolutist 'Belief System' (Narrow minded Religion)???
:-)

~~~~~~~
(@@@)
Oh, all right! 'Science' IS a 'Belief System' ;-) but founded on certain very strict Rules which involve 'ONLY objectively examining the (physical) evidence before us'. All 'Religions' are 'Belief Systems' too, but they are based on the exact antithetical 'Basic Belief System' - they DO NOT QUESTION, but only BLINDLY ACCEPT (you are with me or against me!) the given thesis AS A MATTER OF FAITH! Pity that some cults of Politics (also based on systems of Beliefs!) are trying that path now...

OK, so I can get very pedantic...

But if you want to play 'Modal', just exactly what sort of music do you want to DO? If you have only the vaguest of inexplicable ideas (in terms that others UNDERSTAND using words with already well established meanings, that you think just sound 'trendy') about that...
Nothing wrong with Music that sounds vaguely 'Sorta-Mode-Like', really... :-)
Just don't try to pretend that you are upholding some 'Ancient Music Tradition' that way...

Now... Anybody want a serious discussion on 'What is Folk Music?'

:-)

Robin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 07:00 AM

Giok,

Wasn't Lydia "the Tattoed Lady"?



I'll get me hat...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM

Just as a point of information, fretted instruments often had, and occasionally still have, movable frets--often, they were only intended to play music that related to a single fundamental or tonic pitch, so the frets and could be tuned to uneven intervals without a problem--think about banjos or open tuned guitars--they play in only one key, so you can tune open strings to perfect, rather than tempered fifths(and, in fact, deliberately or intuitively, players often do)-There is no inherent need for tempering, just because an instrument is fretted--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 06:46 PM

Don't fret! Temper, Temper!

:-)



I'll get me hat...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 08:59 PM

I'm a pragmatist, not a purist. The meaning of "mode" and attendant musical concepts continuously evolved throughout the medieval times and up through the present day. What has remained constant has been the relation of the named modes to particular intervalic structures. I'm certainly not being "VERY misleading" in explaining modes from this perspective. The fundamental character of a mode derives from the intervalic structure relative to the tonal center; intonation systems have an effect, but since there was never a single intonation system in use, there never was a single Dorian mode whose character was primarily dependent on a specific intonation system.

This can be very easily proved: On a just-intoned instrument, transpose a tune by a second or third. By purist standards this is the equivalent of harmonic heresy. Yet most people will hardly notice anything more than that you have changed key - they will remain largely oblivious to the microtonal changes in the intervals with respect to the tonal center. Then play the tune in a different mode, keeping the tonal center the same. They will instantly notice the fundamental change in character/mood.

That being the case, the modern shift to even temperament does not cause a reinterpretation of "mode". (Speaking of "olds words for new concepts", what about the naming of Latin liturgical modes after Greek ones, when the Greek concept of mode bears little relation? ;-)

So pardon me if my remarks are directed at helping practical musicians, playing modern instruments according to modern conventions for the pleasure of real people. It's useful to have the historical perspective, but such limited notions are not very helpful to one who wants to recognize a Mixolydian tune when he hears it, or needs to play a C Dorian accompaniment on a particular instrument. When teaching someone to ride a bike, do you expatiate on power conversion?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM

"(Speaking of "old words for new concepts", what about the naming of Latin liturgical modes after Greek ones, when the Greek concept of mode bears little relation? ;-)"

Yep! With you there. And since we don't have anything earlier than the Greeks - who were rabbiting on about 'older times', how do we know THEY didn't stuff it up too?
~~~~~~~~
"It's useful to have the historical perspective, but such limited notions are not very helpful"

Well to PROPERLY understand 'Science' - STILL a branch of Philosophy! - you must NOT encourage Society as a whole to mindlessly discard(@@@) all the old 'failed theories' such as 'Philostogen', etc, nor indeed wilfully discard the whole box and dice of 'Evolution Theory' and sit mindlessly chanting "Intelligent Design!", just cause that's easier for SOME people to follow....

:-P

(@@@)
Forgetting old 'wrong paths' turns Science into just another 'Faith Based Philosophy', as we can no longer PROVE that other 'guesses' were tried, and were shown NOT to work satisfactorally...

~~~~~~~~~~
"wants to recognise a Mixolydian tune when he hears it, or needs to play a C Dorian accompaniment on a particular instrument - When teaching someone to ride a bike, do you expatiate on power conversion?"

Ah, yes, ... "Lies to Children!" (telling total beginners only a simplified version!)

I had already covered that, I thought, in my remarks about 'Modern-Pseudo-Modes', but "Lies to Children" surely only is a 'Starting Point' in a real Musical Education?!!! :-)

And as long as your 'student' doesn't end up 'knowing it all' in utter misguided ignorance, and then start trying to misguidedly impress those who know even less... Learning is a life-long process...


(Spellchecker Humour; Mixolydian -> Misleading!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 10:16 PM

"On a just-intoned instrument, transpose a tune by a second or third. By purist standards this is the equivalent of harmonic heresy. Yet most people will hardly notice anything more than that you have changed key - they will remain largely oblivious to the microtonal changes in the intervals with respect to the tonal center. Then play the tune in a different mode, keeping the tonal center the same. They will instantly notice the fundamental change in character/mood.

That being the case, the modern shift to even temperament does not cause a reinterpretation of "mode". "

ARGH!!!!
Apples and oranges, or maybe 'cloth ears'?...

Sorry I have to be busy for a few days...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 02:22 AM

So can one of the experts now tell me the mode used in 'Jockey Lay up in the Hayloft"?

If played on (mostly) the white note row, it starts on C, and most phrases end on a B. But it then flattens the B in the last bar and ends on B flat!.

Here it is in the original key, using the notes of the scale of G, except for flattening the F in the last bar
(Hope I typed it right)

X:1
T: Jockey Lay Up in the Hay Loft
M:9/8
S:Northumbrian Minstrelsy
K:G
G2B2G2 G2B2G2 F4 D2| G2B2G2 G4 B2 c2A2F2|
G2B2G2 G2B2G2 F4 D2| =F2G2A2 =f4 d2 c2A2F2::
Bcd2B2 ABc2A2 B4 G2| Bcd2B2 c2A2d2 c2A2f2|
Bcd2B2 ABc2A2 B4 G2| F2G2A2 =f4 d2 c2A2F2:|


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 05:11 AM

I'll leave it to the 'experts' - I'm just a pedantic amateur...
;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 05:37 AM

If you think I'm pedantic - I'll give you more information that you really think you need to know... :-)

Explains it all MUCH better than I can.... :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 06:25 AM

I don't see where "Jockey Lay Up in the Hayloft" ever goes into C - looks like a G mixolydian tune that has acquired a few decorative F sharps over the years. I would guess it was originally a pipe tune for a mixolydian chanter and got the low D and the F sharps when fiddlers took it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 06:47 AM

Jack - no argument on your analysis.

One of the 'tricks' for understanding how tunes get 'transformed' is that of 'note substitution'. Octave swaps(@@@) are the most common, but fifth (and fourth - depending on your viewpoint!) swaps are easy too, especially on some instruments.

(@@@)
After the octave swap has occurred, a common path of growth of difference is to start modifying the notes next to where the 'swap' took place (think twiddling your fingers on a whistle). This 'growth path for change' can also occur around the fifth 'swap'.

"acquired a few decorative F sharps"

When a tune 'changes instruments', some 'accidentals' are easy to add for decorative twiddles depending on the new instrument being used.

As for what 'mode' it is in NOW, it ain't!

It has become, for want of a better word, what some may wish to call, 'multimodal!!!' - or you could just say that it 'has evolved its own particular gapped scale'...

One CAN get too pedantic! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:26 AM

It only got 'into C' when I transposed it to clarify for my own purposes! The pasted tune was the original version I received.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 09:37 AM

I say that someone was simply being creative and developed a tune with an unusual set of notes. A tune doesn't have to fit into a mode, a key or any other musicological category.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 10:42 AM

Pavane has copied "Jockey Lay up in the Hay Loft" quite correctly as it appears in the Northumbrian Minstrelsey, except he forgot to make the first F in the final bar into Fnat. It is written with a single sharp bit the F's are modified to Fnat & fnat in the last bar of each section.

The tune was originally a Northumbrian Pipe tune and Northumbrian Pipes are a very different beast from the Highland Pipes - or from almost any other bagpipe, for that matter.

The original chanter had eight holes and played a single octave in G major from G to g. During the 18th. and 19th. centuries, keys were added to the chanter which extended the range of the pipes both below G and above g and added some accidentals. This was mainly done so that pipers could access the Northumbrian Fiddle repertoire. The modern "standard" chanter has seven keys and has a range of an octave and sixth from D to b' (written) and is capable of playing in D and G plus associated modes.

The Fnat in "Jockey Lay up in the Hayloft" is a little odd as Fnat is not one of the accidentals normally found on a seven key chanter, normally, they are C# and d#, but given that the type of development that has happened to the Northumbrian Pipes is usually subject to considerable experiment along the way, it is not inconceivable that pipes with Fnat were made at some time.

Modern pipes are available with up to 17 keys which gives a fully chromatic two octave range.

If you want to find out more about Northumbrian Pipes click here

For a sound clip of Northumbrian Pipes click here. Scroll down to find the sound clips - available as either real audio or mp3.

I love the sound of the Northumbrian Pipes - much more attractive than the Highland Pipes, IMHO; but then I live in North East England :-)

Geoff


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 01:45 PM

Foolestroupe wrote:
"There is a music cult that claims that each scale has its own 'emotion' - "

Personally, I always thought this had more to do with the instruments the tune is played on. IF you confine yourself to a "standard orchestra", then playing in different key signatures will emphasize the resonance of each instrument-type differently (I'm assuming a typical flute has a strong natural resonance in one key, and a typical violin has strong natural resonance in another key).

There is some study of psychoacoustics, and how some frequencies do interact differently with the human nervous system than others, but I suspect (speaking out of ignorance here) that for this to have maximum effect, the instrument would have to be "tuned" to the nervous system of the specific listener. One person's brain waves are probably a little bit different frequencies than another.
--------------

As for the use of modes, to get a thorough understanding one probably ought to study a LOT of Music History because it appears the use of the word "Mode" has changed over time and with different cultures.

On the other hand, it shouldn't be THAT difficult to grasp the REALLY BASIC concept. Then if a reader/student wants, he or she can delve further. I'd hate to discourage someone's curiosity just because they don't have several semesters to study postgraduate-level comparitive musicology. This discussion has given some great hints of directions to pursue.

As for the differences in temperment, it is something of a shame that many hobbyist-level musicians rarely think that even-temperment might not be the "Only & Best" method to tune their instruments. I know it drives me bonkers when I tune strings (guitar & harp) using an electronic tuner - it never sounds right (especially the B's, when tuning in key of C). And of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes. So I always tweak by ear after using the black box to get "close" to correct. I don't worry too much about exactly WHICH temperment I'm using, but I know some changes get the instrument sounding closer to "right".

Playing harp is actually somewhat liberating. I just have to repeat the old adage "Harpers spend half their life tuning, and the other half playing out of tune" - and I realize I can stop fretting about it! [grin]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM

Tune your piano using Just intonation, Artful Codger, then tell me if anyone notices--the changes in tuning and temperament were made to accomodate the development of the piano--so you could play chords without having the overtones clash too much.

As to your mixolydian mode--is it really a mixolydian mode, or is someone just playing a dominant scale?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 04:07 PM

Northumbrian pipes haven't been around forever. In their present form they only date from the end of the 18th century. Mixolydian chanters are older, and must have been played in Northumbria before the advent of the Northumbrian pipes. That tune looks to me like an *early* 18th century one, the sort of thing you find in the earliest Scottish manuscripts.

Do the people who are praising "just intonation" really know what it is? It isn't used in any folk tradition I can think of. Experiments have shown that when people with flexible-pitch instruments like fiddles are left to their own instincts, they tend to use Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths), which is quite different. And if you are trying to get the most out of an instrument like the hammered dulcimer by emphasizing pure thirds, you'll probably use meantone, which is neither just nor Pythagorean. And the Highland bagpipe is wildly different again, with its closest analogue being a scale developed by the Arab theorist Zalzal in the early Middle Ages.

Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same, but a mode like Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these intonation systems you play it in.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:49 PM

"Do the people who are praising "just intonation" really know what it is? It isn't used in any folk tradition I can think of. "

I wasn't 'praising' it! The problem with people flinging around terms willy nilly, is what those who HAVE passed formalised study regimes tell me, is that if you get the terms confused, you won't pass the exams, but you can still keep running around rabbiting on in a misleading way, sounding like you KNOW what you are talking about - I point to Iraq for a current non-musical example!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"isn't used in any"

Well, it WAS in history, depending on the historical period! That is IMPOSSIBLE nowadays in the modern world if you have instruments (such as the once extremely widespread piano accordion!) which are specifically tuned to BE NOT "JUST", and are manufactured with the intent to be 'played in tune' with all the others designed to be played in 'even 1/12 intonation'! - which I thought I had well and truly 'Shambled to Death!' (sorry!). I thought I had made it quite clear that 'Humpty-Dumpty-ing' Terms out of history to mean anything the user currently wants is not clarifying at all, merely obfuscation!.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Words DO change meanings over time, and their fields of use are dying out, or being newly created: viz, Engine, Engineer... but those other than the uneducated ignorant layman know quite clearly which field they work in, and exactly what the words mean for their purposes. No educated Inter-disciplinarian thoughtlessly drags the meaning from one field into another!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Experiments have shown that when people with flexible-pitch instruments like fiddles are left to their own instincts, they tend to use Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths), which is quite different."

I do not have the expertise and related precise experience to argue with this! I must be confused, but I had gathered in my considerable educational travels (including formalised study programs) that "Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths)" WAS the original Western Music temperament, WAS the one used in 'Church Modes', and WAS the one called 'Just'!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same"

Well, what most modern instruments (intended to be tuned with electronic tuners, anyway!) are BUILT to, and designed to be played with most other instruments built today, IS the temperament that involves equally dispersing the 'comma' of a few Hz equally among the octave - or precisely, defining all the semitones as 100 cents each. To say 'Not all alternatives to equal temperament are the same', is of course just an unhelpful tautology!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To say "Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these intonation systems" seems to me be be starting to border on a matter of 'Faith', almost a Religion! It really would be more fair and reasonable to say that 'gapped scales with these defined patterns of Tone/Semitone(@@@) distribution sound similar in all intonation systems to untrained ears': saying anything else allegedly precise is 'fighting a semantic propaganda war'!

(@@@)
Of course these words are defined differently in terms of the 'frequency range gaps' in each system, so you are just comparing apples and oranges anyway! And because of the differing temperings, BY DEFINITION, the actual pitches of 'notes with the same name' differ in frequency! And to CONFUSE things even more, practical instruments TUNED WITH EQUAL TEMPERAMENT, do not have all the note pitches tuned to these precise figures anyway - they are 'spread' for very good reasons, i.e. on many keyboard instruments the 'bass end' is flattened, and the 'treble end' raised to avoid nasty sounds!

I do not consider that I have sufficient knowledge to tune my own piano accordions. Tuning real instruments in the real world is ALL COMPROMISE! If you let some uneducated lout with an 'electronic tuner' loose on a valuable instrument, they will often stuff it up big time! I had some 'alleged international Hurdy Gurdy expert' hack into my Symphonia (without my knowledge or consent, I point out!) with a razor blade to 'fix' a subtle flattening (of about 2 mm) in one small spot on the wheel! His 'efforts' required that the original maker turn up a whole new wheel on the lathe! (And this clown was MOST offended when I told him to initiate a sexually self-oriented method of locomotion!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"There is some study of psychoacoustics, and how some frequencies do interact differently with the human nervous system than others"

And there is similar work on 'colours' - we have had some such threads here too - and the outcome seems to be that each individual reacts personally, not to and simple universal 'Rules'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 07:54 PM

"and simple universal 'Rules'"

typo -> "any simple universal 'Rules'"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 08:17 PM

"of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes."

It CAN'T EVER!!!

Because unless the frets on your guitar were SPECIALLY cut to the EXACT correct places mathematically according to JUST intonation, your Luthier would have merely used the 'normal table of intervals' built for 'EVEN 1/12 TEMPERED' guitars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are trying to MIX TWO mathematically INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS OF INTONATION!

And btw, I will extremely surprised if the 'normal even tempered tables' did not also contain subtle 'modifications' for shifting the correct theoretical mathematical upper fret placings, to compensate for the practical effects of shortening the length of practical vibrating strings by stopping them on the frets (thus also slightly stretching the strings and changing their tension!), so that the instrument just (sorry!) 'sounds sweeter' at the higher frets!

Oh...

The word 'just' for that method of tuning/intonation came from the same greek word from which we get 'Justice' - and basically meant 'an even distribution' ... confused yet? ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jun 06 - 10:43 PM

Mansoor Zalzal was the first singer/songwriter/guitarist
superstar--which is to say he played his oud and sang his songs in the Court of the Celebrated Haroun al Rashid--he died in or about 790, which, I guess, could qualify as very,very, early middle ages--at any rate, rather than being a theorist, he was a great player, and he refined fingering techniques which are the basis of a lot of what we still do on our axes today--

He claim to fame wasn't scales, exactly, but I am guessing that what Jack is talking is a note that he invented, called "The Wusta of Zalzal"--this is a neutral third, halfway between the major and minor----this is the note that some ethnomusicologists claim that the "Blue Note" is supposed to be--

I don't know enough about the Highand pipes to know if this is right or not, but I am taking it that Jack is saying that they feature a neutral third--a blue note!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 01:24 PM

Foolestroupe wrote:
"of course tuning a guitar (fixed frets) using overtones (3:2 ratio on open strings) never sounds quite right for the fretted notes."

It CAN'T EVER!!!...!!!!!!!!...You are trying to MIX TWO mathematically INCOMPATIBLE SYSTEMS OF INTONATION!
------------

Uh, yep. 'Ats whut I's tryin' ta say. T'anks fer hammerin' it home.

---------------------------------
Oh, and for some perverse fun, when you have an instrument with courses of multiple strings (mandolin, 12-string guitar, lute, piano), try tuning one set of strings to even temperment & the doubled (or tripled) set using more perfect harmonic intervals. That way, you can annoy EVERYONE while still saying your instrument is "in tune". [grin]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 04:51 PM

We still haven't come up with a usable mnemonic. Where are all those people who are good at verses, puns, etc?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: KenBrock
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 05:09 PM

I don't play loud music any longer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 05:37 PM

> I had gathered [...] that "Pythagorean intonation (pure fourths and fifths)" WAS the original
> Western Music temperament, WAS the one used in 'Church Modes', and WAS the one called
> 'Just'!!!

You gathered wrong. In just intonation the frequency ratio of a major third (say C to E) is 5:4.
In the Pythagorean system, all notes are derived from successive fifths.   So to get from C to E you have to do that four times, and the ratio you end up with is 81:64, which sounds pretty horrible if you have to listen to it for any length of time. In the Middle Ages that didn't matter since a major third was considered as a dissonance that needed resolving anyway, what really did matter was getting fourths and fifths to sound good. Mediaeval harpists always tune that way. (English musicians may have been an exception, they got into thirds much earlier than anybody else, but they didn't leave any guidelines about how to play their stuff).

By the Baroque, thirds and sixths were considered consonant and bare fourths and fifths were unusual, so musicians used various "meantone" systems that made thirds sound close to just intonation and made fifths sound rather a mess. These systems were often fixed in hardware, as with pipe organs or flutes.

In between, Renaissance musicians tried a mind-boggling range of alternatives, so many that it is hardly ever possible to be sure what the "right" tuning system for any piece really is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 06:01 PM

> To say "Dorian or mixolydian/major/lydian pentatonic is recognizable whichever of these
> intonation systems" seems to me be be starting to border on a matter of 'Faith', almost
> a Religion!

No, it's a matter of perception. If you know what those modes are you can identify them regardless of what intonation scheme is being used. And you can then *use* what your ears just told you: for example, if you noticed that a tune you were playing was in E dorian, you'd know that you could switch to/from another tune in D major on a lever harp without any lever-flipping delay. The precise system used to tune the harp would make no difference to whether you could pull that trick off or not.

You couldn't do it if you insisted thal all possible intervals in both E dorian and D major had be just-intonation pure, but equally you couldn't even get all intervals *in either key in isolation* to be just-intonation pure without redesigning the harp to have a zillion extra strings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 07:50 PM

Some people spend a lot of time at their keyboards. I started reading this thread to find good mnemonic and found several but the rest of the discussion has been fascinating. I forget who made the point about beginners and simplified stories but it reminded me of when I was teaching myself to play the concertina. This was relatively late in life, well after I had bought and listened intently to Glen Gould's collection of the Well Tempered Klavier and was thus aware of Bach's intent on the piano, but I had to learn by ear, as I didn't (and still don't) read music beyond the finger-counting level.

It was a 20 key anglo in C/G, with no accidentals. Most of the tunes in sessions seemed to be in ... I was about to write "D, G and A major or their relative minors." As several of the instruments were button accordions (A,D,G), concertinas (English) or concert flutes (all 'modern' and thus tuned in mean temperament) I suppose I should be more precise but you get my drift. Although I had a good sense of relative pitch (being a member of a rather accomplished group singing a cappella harmonies) I could follow the tunes OK but couldn't pick which key they used. Not wishing to cause trouble I attempted only the tunes I could play on the G row. This meant I kept a sharp eye on which row my ADG accordion mate was using whenever the tune changed.

I remember one session I had to lean past a very senior and accomplished fiddler to see whether my mate's fingers were on the inside (G) row or the middle (D) row. I was in luck! He was playing the inside row, so I could join in.
"Ah, G!" I muttered as I sat back.
"A minor!" the senior and accomplished fiddle player sternly corrected me.

I kept on trying to play the tune but I was now confused. I had been exposed to just enough music theory to know that scales in minor keys used one set of notes when ascending and a different set when descending, Yet, a diatonic melodeon in C with only one row of buttons could play tunes in minor keys (mostly described as "D minor" but some described as "A minor") as well as tunes in "C major". What was going on? An orchestral violinist who also happened to be a folkie fiddler told me about temperament, scales, modes and keys. I was away at last.

In Melbourne at the time we had Chris Wendt, who played highland pipes, fiddle and anglo concertina. His favourite concertina was the same as mine, a 20 key Lachenal, but he had retuned it so that it played in just temperament with D as the tonic and the notes in modern pitch, ie A=440. It was the sweetest concertina I've ever heard but he could only ever play it solo. If anyone else tried to accompany him (even fiddlers) it usually sounded off because either their instrument was mean tempered (but otherwise pleasant) or their ears were not attuned justly.

Since then I've had many occasions to get inside my concertina and, on several of these, was accompanied by Geoff Wooff who played English concertina (and Northumbrian pipes)and repaired lots of different concers; these days he makes and plays uillean pipes. Whoever it was in the thread above who made the comment about the difference between electronic tuners' versions of pitch and a good ear's version of 'correct pitch', they certainly spoke the truth.

But that reminds me of a paper I heard of, 30 years ago now, that made a point I suspect some of you may find interesting, even relevant. Someone went and did the Percy Grainger thing and recorded solo singers, from around the boondocks of England, singing unaccompanied. Unlike Percy (who transcribed the precise notation of every minute variation in pitch and timing, setting the cat amongst the academic pigeons) the person then fed the recorded singing through a frequency analyser.

According to my (now ancient) memory, they found the recordings split into two groups. Those singers who had grown up exposed to pop music or classical music had overtones of thirds and fifths in their (solo) voices, while those who'd grown up without exposure to such music had overtones of fourths and sevenths. This seems interesting, in the context of this thread. Does anyone have any memory of such a finding?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 10:03 PM

I am just going to have to keep re-reading this until I get it - preferably with a chart by my hand showing the application of the two nomenclature systems for modes discussed above. It looks as if I will also need the chart I made for myself showing the order of accession of sharps and flats.

I ahve read teh Oxford dictionary of music explanation of modes, and will re-read it, but as I recollect it it assumed that (or at least didn't explain otherwise) modes WERE (ignoring temerament for the purpose) the relationships defined by where on the C major scale you started the ascending set of notes.

End of insomnia now (I hope): 3 am in the UK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Jul 06 - 02:12 PM

Hi, Jack. "scales in minor keys used one set of notes when ascending and a different set when descending"

That was just in some music of the Romantic era - Chopin, Debussy and them.

My piano teacher told me there were three minors - the melodic, the harmonic, and the romantic. Since the first two name convey nothing to me, I call them the 1) "ordinary" and 2) the "erotic" or "belly-dance," depending on my mood.

If you take the C scale, the ordinary minor based on it is:

A B C D E F G A

The erotic is:

A B C D E F G# A

It's amazing what that G# does to people.

I've quit thinking about the romantic minor. To me, it's just another thing that makes romantic music so muddy. Others are free to differ with me, of course.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 08:51 AM

The erotic minor would be the typical mode of Basque music, I guess?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:25 AM

I don't know anything about Basque music, but the erotic minor is pretty common, especially in dance music. Of course, I'm referring to older music. I doubt if Britney Spears has ever heard of it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: a mnemonic for the modes
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 10:05 AM

Basque music is a bit too strait-laced for my tastes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 January 1:55 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.