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a mnemonic for the modes

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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
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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."


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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


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

Ariel Locations?


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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.


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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."


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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 ... ?


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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


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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.


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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?


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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


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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?????????????   :-)


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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


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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".


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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


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

Which is ...?


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

Ahhh, Plagal cadence! Clever -


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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... :-)


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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?


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

Nope!

The Plagal Mode!


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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)


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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!

:-)


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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!!!"


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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.


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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...

:-)


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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


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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! :-)


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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....


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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.


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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...


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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!"

:-)


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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


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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)


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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.)


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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).


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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...


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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


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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--


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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--


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