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Modal Scale/Keys
What makes modal scales different?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (16 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 22, 2021 - 12:28 am
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  There is an abundance of Traditional Fiddle music based on Modal scales.

I admit I still have to go back to some of my reference material for help when I need to identify a Key, especially Modal scale Keys. 

Wanted to share this great article from "Berklee Online" that helps me understand what's different about them and even includes an interesting exercise to do. 

Let me know if this link breaks again!

https://online.berklee.edu/tak.....d-minor/ 

In afterthought, figured I should also re-mention this link discussing Minor scale pattern variation - for added understanding. 

https://www.schoolofcompositio.....-scales/ 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/The_fiddler%2C_Strabane_-_geograph.org.uk_-_654143.jpg

 

"The Fiddler", from the "Let the Dance Begin" sculptural installation, by Maurice Harron -  at Strabane, N. Ireland.

- Emily

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ELCBK
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February 20, 2021 - 5:23 pm
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A recent podcast interview with Liam Thomas Bailey talking about how much he likes the modal keys, got me thinking again.

Didn't know modal keys/scales existed until I got on this forum - thought I just liked minor keys.  I understand them now, but they didn't really mean much to me other than I play a lot of them - still don't know the patterns by heart. 

I like the idea of better understanding what I like in music.  Think we ALL have a little more complex love of music, not simply a preference for " Major" or "Minor".

Like in any other creative endeaver, it's better to have more tools! 

So, thought if only I could put a "face" to some of these modes then maybe I'll get a better feel for what I'm playing with - and how to use them down the road. 

  • • Seems I like a lot of A dorian, like Rocky Road to Dublin (off the top of my head) and who doesn't love Scarborough Fair?  
  • • Just found out when I learned Banish Misfortune that it is D mixolydian. 
  • • GregW helped me find out "Eleanor Rigby" (Beatles) is Em dorian 
  • • Greg also pointed out, the common use of lydian mode in Scandinavian music (Emilie Waldken, Halling video)! 
  • • Didn't think I knew any lydian modal tunes until Liam pointed out The Simpsons... 

Go ahead and laugh, but then listen to this cool lydian waltz! 

Elliott Smith - Waltz #1

 

Okay, now I'm REALLY interested... did Waltz #1 remind anyone of some other music (Pink Floyd, or Enya maybe)? 

Great article, "Lydian Mode: How to Use it to Write Better Songs". 

https://blog.landr.com/lydian-mode/ 

Here's the parent article, "Music Modes: How to Enrich Your Songs With Modal Color". 

https://blog.landr.com/music-modes/ 

giphy.gif

 

Think I'll start to be on the lookout for more music that use some of the other modes! 

- Emily

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GregW
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February 20, 2021 - 6:27 pm
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forget its guitar..this guy explains things as good as anybody.  for instance..if you looked at just the sheet music for banish..depending on who notated it and such..and it had one #.. how would you KNOW its mixolydian and not Ador or Bminor or G major?   he goes into some of that here using sweet home alabama.  be careful... lol..deep rabbit hole. 😁  but fun.  like i was saying earlier in the ither topic.. other than a learning thing, it seems playing tunes on fiddle may not require as much in this area.  bluegrass, jazz, pop fiddlers probably would need more due to the backing other muscians and improv breaks.  youd want to make sure your choices of scale runs and double stops matched..  but it seems to me especially playing like irish tunes and stuff youd be playing the melody and it is what it is.  not diminishing the value and i love the subject..just maybe not something to sweat as much about on fiddle.  opinion and not a knock on your topic, just my rambling.  hope the video is useful.  he has two excellent books that go way deep into the subject.  but theyre guitar oriented.

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ELCBK
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February 20, 2021 - 7:26 pm
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@GregW -

This is a SUPER video - actually does clear a few things up for me.

Was just thinking about tunes that change keys, but Classic Modal Interchange?

Fabulous! - probably a lot of this going on in music I love, no wonder I'm so confused. (lol)

The different ways of looking at "Sweet Home Alabama" is extremely interesting. 

Thanx, Greg! 

giphy.gif

 

I may just have to stick to the broad term, "Modal Mixture and Modulation" when describing music I like. (lol)

- Emily

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GregW
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February 20, 2021 - 8:23 pm
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fun stuff @elcbk  and at times all makes sense...then i look at a tune like The Earls Chair... lol

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ELCBK
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February 21, 2021 - 1:01 am
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Okay, so far I can see why I like Pink Floyd. 

David Gilmour liked to use the dorian mode e.g., Another Brick in the Wall is D dorian. 

But what about Phrygian?  

Turns out phrygian modal music can get pretty strange & dark - LOVE IT! 

Well, the theme from "Lord of The Rings", David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Metallica's "Wherever I May Roam" are all phrygian! 

Have to say I love Flamenco music - phrygian mode!

All about the sound of the Phrygian mode - by QJamTracks! 

 

 

giphy.gif

 

Oooh... now I'm wondering what about the music from "How to Train Your Dragon"? 

This is enough brain work for me for a while. (lol)

- Emily

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ELCBK
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February 21, 2021 - 9:09 am
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I'm trying to keep from running down the rabbit hole, but... 

Got to love Grace Slick's "White Rabbit" with Jefferson Airplane - F# phrygian mode!  Performed here by Quartet San Francisco!

 

 

...curious about a few other modes, now. (lol)

 

giphy.gif 

 

🤔 I was barely a teenager when this song became popular - always associated it with the book that helped keep me away from drug use, "Go Ask Alice" (thought at that time to be a real diary)... too bad I didn't find a book it's equal about teenage alcohol use, back then. (lol) 

Don't do drugs or alcohol! 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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February 21, 2021 - 6:43 pm
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Just found my new best friend! 

https://www.scales-chords.com/.....finder.php

Really helps, for right now, if I suspect a tune is modal. 

 

Just Being Contented Smiley

...would be cool if I get to where I'm changing tunes to modal keys or composing them.🙄 

- Emily 

 

I'm in a mode...

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GregW
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April 21, 2021 - 8:16 am
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this is required viewing and there will be a test later.   Dont let the title fool you...more to it than that. wink

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Gordon Shumway
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April 21, 2021 - 10:43 am
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Ebulent? Do you think he is trying to say ebUllient?

It may be that the original ideas about how a key supposedly feels were developed before perfect ET was finalised. Did we have another thread about this elsewhere? maybe it was vcom. I joked that if an orchestra is playing in D minor (one flat), the brass and clarinets are playing in E minor (one sharp). How is that going to work if half the orchestra is crying and the other half is laughing?

And then, as was pointed out, string instruments tuned in fifths aren't completely ET. But bear in mind, some, heavily influenced by Bach (or whomever), if he wrote in certain keys for the violin or cello, exploiting their tuning, are going to be unable to gainsay him. Is that what the guy in the video said? I didn't watch the whole thing. I'm practising the violin as I type, lol!

I think my school music teacher once said he felt these things on a modern ET piano. OK, some can smell the colour blue - I cant. boohoo.

Andrew

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GregW
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Gordon Shumway said
Ebulent? Do you think he is trying to say ebUllient?

It may be that the original ideas about how a key supposedly feels were developed before perfect ET was finalised. Did we have another thread about this elsewhere? maybe it was vcom. I joked that if an orchestra is playing in D minor (one flat), the brass and clarinets are playing in E minor (one sharp). How is that going to work if half the orchestra is crying and the other half is laughing?

And then, as was pointed out, string instruments tuned in fifths aren't completely ET. But bear in mind, some, heavily influenced by Bach (or whomever), if he wrote in certain keys for the violin or cello, exploiting their tuning, are going to be unable to gainsay him. Is that what the guy in the video said? I didn't watch the whole thing. I'm practising the violin as I type, lol!

I think my school music teacher once said he felt these things on a modern ET piano. OK, some can smell the colour blue - I cant. boohoo.

  

what I got out of the video...

pick a key that suits the instrument...take advantage of what ithe instrument does best depending on music type and possibly muscian.   key obviously important to lead singer.  dark vs bright keys not really the reason to pick a key for a song...more about who is singing or what is playing it.  something along those lines...

only my opinion.which.may be effluent  violin-student

i did think it was a good video as are most of his to me.

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Gordon Shumway
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GregW said

pick a key that suits the instrument...take advantage of what ithe instrument does best depending on music type and possibly muscian.

I wasn't disagreeing with the video - just trying to look at the same things but from a slightly different angle.

When I was learning guitar, it was clear that some pieces were "guitaristic", in other words, if the composer was a guitarist like Villa Lobos, then all the notes sat comfortably. But if a piece of keyboard music by Scarlatti was transcribed for guitar, then no note sat comfortably. It was not guitaristic music. Similarly, a violinistic piece (i.e. hopping between the E and A strings, or, worse, between the E and D strings) written by Vivaldi is pretty dreadful to play on a keyboard.

Someone on vcom asked about playing violin music on viola - transpose or not?

I invented the words "violinistic" and "violistic" and said that if a piece was violinistic, it would only be violistic if it was transposed. Ditto for cello. I have no idea if anyone understood what I said, as I didn't get a response.

Andrew

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GregW
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Gordon Shumway said

GregW said

pick a key that suits the instrument...take advantage of what ithe instrument does best depending on music type and possibly muscian.

I wasn't disagreeing with the video - just trying to look at the same things but from a slightly different angle.

When I was learning guitar, it was clear that some pieces were "guitaristic", in other words, if the composer was a guitarist like Villa Lobos, then all the notes sat comfortably. But if a piece of keyboard music by Scarlatti was transcribed for guitar, then no note sat comfortably. It was not guitaristic music. Similarly, a violinistic piece (i.e. hopping between the E and A strings, or, worse, between the E and D strings) written by Vivaldi is pretty dreadful to play on a keyboard.

Someone on vcom asked about playing violin music on viola - transpose or not?

I invented the words "violinistic" and "violistic" and said that if a piece was violinistic, it would only be violistic if it was transposed. Ditto for cello. I have no idea if anyone understood what I said, as I didn't get a response.

  

i didnt take as disagreein..i gave my synopsis since you said you wernt able to finish.  from what you did state i gathered you were pretty much on the same wavelength in thought that the video was..

my effluent was a play on words keying off the Ebulent question.. ..  sry...lol..

Its just that I feel some of this stuff is a little above were i should be spending time when i think about it....but its still interesting.   if im not careful me repeating the information can become nonsense..

there is a section in the video where he discusses guitar music and also why things like irish/bluegrass fiddle sound better in keys like g,c,d,a. so your violinistic term is spot on...

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JohnG
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@GregW - That video "Which Key is the Saddest" was excellent and taught me new things (or reminded me of long forgotten things). I am very poorly trained in music theory history and videos like this remind of my lack.

THANKS

The old curmudgeon!

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GregW
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JohnG said
@GregW - That video "Which Key is the Saddest" was excellent and taught me new things (or reminded me of long forgotten things). I am very poorly trained in music theory history and videos like this remind of my lack.

THANKS

  

Me too.. theres alot of good stuff out there!

somewhere around 30 min mark he gets into modes which I think relates this video to Elcbk's original topic here.  the whole video is good though.

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ELCBK
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April 22, 2021 - 4:31 pm
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@GregW -

Love Adam Neely videos!

Thanx for tying these videos in here. 

McCartney... creative genius, my hero! 

So, appears The Beatles first started to learn by playing, and modifying, many different types/styles of music (hint, hint Fiddlers), to make each tune their own! 

Nice to know that process helped lead them into understanding how to create all those fabulous, original pieces! 

Fabulous chord progressions/harmony.

LOVED how powerful using "Plagal Cadence" (heard in hymns) can be.

https://www.britannica.com/art.....cadence/ 

The Pentatonic Scale!

Brilliant use of modes and modulation. 

Just Being Contented Smiley

...this video helped me understand why I never cared for 50's popular music! (lol)

- Emily

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ELCBK
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April 22, 2021 - 11:50 pm
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Discovered more modal treasure - a little more modulation, too! 

Ancient Irish Scales. 

https://www.libraryireland.com.....ic/IV.php/

This wonderful article claims there is no "Minor Irish scale", but 3 Modal (Dorian, Phrygian, and Lydian). 

 

giphy.gif

 

...keep Irish microtones in mind, also!  

Great info hidden in this thread - https://fiddlerman.com/forum/m.....ntonation/

- Emily

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GregW
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deleted my previous post so not confusing.   

good link @elcbk  ..like i was saying..gonna watch the microtone vid this weekend!

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ELCBK
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No doubt, we are ALL creative - some people just have more tools they are comfortable using to create with, than others have. 

My point? 

I believe it's very important to continually add tools to my arsenal as I develop more skills. 

Think learning Modal scales and riffs of all kinds, can be helpful tools - making more freedom of expression, possible (I live for possibilities)! 🤗 

🙄 Now, I'm not big on practicing scales and I don't necessarily require any sheet music - until I have a question about a piece that needs answering. 

So, I'm guilty of missing out on some of the tools Fiddlerman has provided for those who do follow a more organized path to learning the fiddle. 

Pertaining to this thread, this is GREAT! 

https://fiddlerman.com/studies.....-improv/ 

Includes pdf's for:

  • Minor dorian scales to the ninth – circle of fifths
  • Minor dorian scales, arpeggios and studies in 3 common keys
  • Simple dorian excercise in most keys 

These could ALL be even better, for people like me, if these scales and exercises are ALL labeled.  So, I will have to do that for myself (helpful association for visual learning). 

https://clipartart.com/images/emoji-music-clipart.png

THANK YOU FIDDLERMAN! 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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💥 Wanted to share this Irish jig and the Silent film I found to go with it!

Modulation makes this Irish jig (in A dorian mode), interesting! 

"Knocknagow", played by Desi Donnelly.

 

Can find sheet music at thesession.org or check the archives. 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/i.....-archives/

💥 Found out this was also an old Irish Silent Film (1918) you can view here (free)! 

https://archive.org/details/Knocknagow/

https://www.lanesboro.lib.mn.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/cat_fiddle.jpg

 

- Emily

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