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Modal Scale/Keys
What makes modal scales different?
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ABitRusty
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@elcbk

not really trying to correct just working through how to determine the  maj min of this tune as example.

when I said A instead of E i was speaking of the tonic NOTE not the key or mode. the Amaj was kinda a clue i was giving as to whether the section works better with a maj or minor mode by looking at the notes.  with a key signature of D you technically couldnt be Amaj with the sheet music i linked.   for a major feel it would be Dmaj , A mixolydian or that other idian 🤣  the 4th mode.  

 

I think I need to look for a better "E" mode..

so with the whole piece sounding like it goes happy or major for the B part.. and the key sig being D... the only E mode you have is dorian which is minor-ish.   so i think the next choice is still Amixo at this point or Dmaj

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@ELCBK said

Lol Laughing Emoticons

OMG!  SORRY! 

No wonder you think I'm nuts! 

I have no excuse for being BRAIN FRIED... 

Definitely NOT E Major for the B part!

I started getting mixed up, thinking "A Major", but then the E seems to be the tonic - so E dorian (but that sound minor)!  

I think I need to look for a better "E" mode - but A Major does seem a good choice, which means you DID play the version I was 1st talking about! 

 

...I'll quietly go back & edit EVERYTHING! 

 

 

THANK YOU, for keeping me on the straight & narrow! 

- Emily

  

idk.  intially we talked about whether it went minor to maj feel.  i linked A version.  sounds like you have your questions answered/figured out is main thing.  just tryin' to help laugh 

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@ABitRusty - 

I've GOT IT!  E mixolydian for the B part! (same as A major, but with an 'E' tonic) 🤣 

 

Suppose it could go either way.  I realize the tonic isn't always the 1st note, but it is here & I hear the 'E' as more dominant than the 'A' for the B part, and mixolydian can sound major AND minor, depending.

Btw, the sheet music you linked (see below) said it was in E dorian at thesession.org - #3.  

New Mown Meadows - The Session 

 

ABitRusty said:

hmmm... idk...What say you? 🤔

 

New Mown Meadow  

 

I think it changes from a dark kinda mood to a more light, happier mood or pull.  whats that called? 🙂

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK said
 

I've GOT IT!  E mixolydian for the B part! (same as A major, but with an 'E' tonic) 🤣 

 

Suppose it could go either way.  I realize the tonic isn't always the 1st note, but it is here & I hear the 'E' as more dominant than the 'A' for the B part, and mixolydian can sound major AND minor, depending.

Btw, the sheet music you linked (see below) said it was in E dorian at thesession.org - #3.  

New Mown Meadows - The Session 

 

ABitRusty said:

hmmm... idk...What say you? 🤔

 

New Mown Meadow  

 

I think it changes from a dark kinda mood to a more light, happier mood or pull.  whats that called? 🙂

  

I appreciate the chats...texting is difficult ...thjs would work better with instruments over some coffee or tea 😁..  especially over a few hours roflol

Ok..so i looked at my hard copy and short of some slur, ornaments, and bowing marks its same.

so theres that .

 

BUT.. do you think the whole thing is in Edor?  im still thinking the B part isnt.  Ill agree the A part is.

really... like i said it probably doesnt really matter if just playing melody.. BUT you had questions about how to figure it out is why I followed up.  just showing my line of thinking...right or wrong.  

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK said
 

I've GOT IT!  E mixolydian for the B part! (same as A major, but with an 'E' tonic) 🤣 

 

Suppose it could go either way.  I realize the tonic isn't always the 1st note, but it is here & I hear the 'E' as more dominant than the 'A' for the B part, and mixolydian can sound major AND minor, 

  

i hear yah but the key signature still is D not A with 3#'s

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ELCBK
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ABitRusty said
@elcbk .... also to know why music makes people feel the way they do.. Do you think may be better answered in something like this.  

physcology of music

  

I forgot to thank you for this link (Thank You)! 

I think I'd enjoy reading this. 😊

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ELCBK said

ABitRusty said

@elcbk .... also to know why music makes people feel the way they do.. Do you think may be better answered in something like this.  

physcology of music

  

I forgot to thank you for this link (Thank You)! 

I think I'd enjoy reading this. 😊

  

no problem...i have a similar book im working through.  ill find the link and list it too.

btw.. as far as the session listing that in Edor only...

the following is a guess and i could be wrong but maybe whats going on.   tunes are listed in ABC format to allow sharing without having to make PDF'S of sheet music.. There are some standard fields that have to be filled out when doing that.   one of the fields is the 'K' field which specifies the key/mode and when coverted to sheet music will add the proper sharps and flats and also text description of mode.

i dont think there is a way to add multiple k fields.   i havent found it yet if able.  SO. a more specific way to do that would be to enter the code for how the tune starts with a k field equal to the starting mode.

abc info

 

look at section

3.1.14 K: - key

on that link.   

anyway.. probably all b.s. on my part..just bouncing things out there 

book link

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty - 

Guess the whole point I was trying to make, about a change of key/mode in fiddle tunes - is most of the time I find it's hard to detect by the notation - usually no key signature change & not always identifiable with accidentals. 

I've been trying to become more familiar with all the modes & scales (including pentatonic & exotic), so I can learn to tell when & how they are used. 😊

 Read an EXTREMELY interesting discussion (2019) at this Dan Evans site!  

The mixolydian mode – is it a major or minor scale?

 

...since the G is missing in the B part - how do you know it couldn't possibly be G#?  

I concede A mixolydian is a safer choice for the B part (B minor for the A part). 🤗

Thanx, for your patience & bring up about thesession.org software issues!

...most people would probably shut the door on me about now. 🤣

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@ELCBK said
 

Guess the whole point I was trying to make, about a change of key/mode in fiddle tunes - is most of the time I find it's hard to detect by the notation - usually no key signature change & not always identifiable with accidentals. 

I've been trying to become more familiar with all the modes & scales (including pentatonic & exotic), so I can learn to tell when & how they are used. 😊

 Read an EXTREMELY interesting discussion (2019) at this Dan Evans site!  

The mixolydian mode – is it a major or minor scale?

 

...since the G is missing in the B part - how do you know it couldn't possibly be G#?  

I concede A mixolydian is a safer choice for the B part (B minor for the A part). 🤗

Thanx, for your patience & bring up about thesession.org software issues!

...most people would probably shut the door on me about now. 🤣

roflol

I think its Edor/Dmaj or Edor/Amix facepalm bunny-headbang

Also... wasnt saying theres an issue with software.. i was just suggesting that it may not be possible to notate with ABC a mode or key change to the second part.  i dont know if that is true or not ...just putting it out there.   I should probably email Jeremy or whoever over there and ask.  lol
  

still not buyin the G#   you may be correct but ... dont see it yet lol

 

i did find this topic over there..  heres the quote...a link will follow to the whole thing

Re: What % of tunes are in ____ mode?

I suppose it depends how your draw your sample. If you go on tunes you hear in a certain session, then it depends on what tunes the musicians like playing the most; if you analyse a particular tune collection, then it depends on what tunes the collector deemed worthy of collection; if you look at commercial recordings, then the proportions are likely to be skewed because the mix of tunes will be chosen to give variety to the recording.

It also needs to be borne in mind that the modes of some tunes are debatable; when a piper adds drones to an E Dorian tune, for example, it can suddenly bring out a D Ionian character to the tune. Other tunes are clearly in two (or occasionally more) different modes but, for convenience’s sake (e.g. when submitting them to thesession.org), might be categorised as either one or the other.

Personally, I think I probably have more major/Ionian tunes in my repertoire than other modes. I can’t say for sure whether this is personal preference or whether represents a trend in the tunes I have encountered.

Link to discussion about modes on thesession

what is being said here about piper drones can happen with chords.  since modes of Dmaj use the Dmaj notes...if you frame the melody with Dmaj the whole way through or even just major chords you can alter the feel.  thats why its good to experiment.  Importing the melody to presonus or musescore and setting up settings with different chords for backing is an easy way to test things.

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Key sigs have a history. There's a minor (forgive the pun) debate on vcom about whether baroque music was in keys or modes. I haven't got the energy to seek a definitive answer. If someone writes in A but has no key sig and marks every accidental, does that make it modal? I think not, but there's probably more to it than that.

The Bach violin sonata prelude is in G minor, but the key sig is one flat (not two). Does that make it Dorian? Some of Corelli is in A major but the key sig is two sharps (not three). If that makes it Mixolydian, I'll eat my beanie. My suspicion is that they hadn't worked out a full theory of writing key sigs yet, but I could be wrong.

I've been trying to revise modes recently (from Eric Taylor). It's difficult, because it's a mixture of booklearning and personal opinion about the more ancient stuff where there are few sources. And then there's the fusion problem of churchmen not understanding the ancient Greeks, and moderns not understanding either of the two.

And personal opinion in that I've always been cynical about them, because they are not understood in certain circles. My cynicism began when people on diatonic harmonica forums (and guitarists are as bad) wanted to play chromatically and they wanted to practise every (church) mode; and I always responded, just play the major scale and you've played every church mode. For the justification of that see on licks below.

Here's my current understanding: -

Modes aren't just scales - they are a combination of scales and licks. (Indian raags are the same)

Dorian is D-D. Hypodorian is A-A, but it is not the same as Aeolian A-A because you are only allowed to play Dorian licks in Hypodorian - you are not allowed to play Aeolian licks in Hypodorian.

And scales were never a modal lick. Hence there's no real need to practise them.

Scales only became a "lick" with the advent of baroque, so now scales have to be practised.

The earliest popular modes were only four - Dorian (D-D), Phrygian (E-E), Lydian (F-F) and Mixolydian (G-G), and that's all. I'm in fact posting this now because Dorian is the most popular mode in pop music, but I heard a song in Mixolydian on TV last night.

Aeolian (A-A), Locrian (B-B) and Ionian (C-C) came later and weren't liked much in the times of Gregorian chant and plainsong. Locrian in fact is only a theoretical mode for the sake of completeness: Eric Taylor says no music has ever been composed in Locrian (not unless someone has recently done it to try to prove a point).

So the only mode that begins with a semitone is Phrygian. This is a little bit interesting, as there's a thing called Phrygian Dominant (Freygisch) used a lot in Spain and North Africa and elsewhere (I think I posted a Manuel Ponce link earlier). It starts with a semitone by dint of being the dominant of a harmonic minor e.g. Ponce's D minor becomes A, Bb, C#, D, E, F, G, A.

This is just a summing-up of what I think I understand ("the best way to learn is to teach" someone once told me. Unfortunately this got me into the habit of lecturing people, some of you will have noticed). It may have added to the thread, or it may have repeated what has already been said, or it may have wrecked the thread.

Andrew

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Great post Andrew and youre not sounding like youre lecturing but even if you were if its info or another point of view it helps.  Ive noticed the guitar phenomenom with modes too and thats part of what got me trying to figure out what the deal was.  So much of the guitar youtubes are focusex on modes so if youre looking for instructional videos its hard to miss and gets confusing.

What Ive come to feel for me at the moment on fiddle is that there will be tunes written to take advantage of a few of the characteristics of these, but as a melody player if I get the melody.. I dont really have to worry to much about what mode or if major or minor or any of that. Play the melody along with everyone else and youve got it.  Therory is important but isnt required in that case.

On the other hand...if I wanted to describe it to someone without playing it.  I may say something like ...oh its in Dmaj...or something like its in D mixolydian.   Especially if saying that to someone thats going to back me with chords on a guitar or piano.  It may help get their mind ready for where they need to be.  For the melody player it should also point out that even though we may seem like we are in D..theyll be a natural C to watch out for.  But in that case probably easier just to say its in G and roll with it and after its played let the debate be part of the experience.

I didnt know that about modes also being licks.  I guess that makes sense in that if you are trying to play something in A dorian and keep going back and playing a G note and rarely hit an A...youve just told everyone that youre really in Gmaj. 

good stuff Andrew.  

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@Gordon Shumway -

Sorry, I don't see the links you refer to - so, I probably shouldn't comment without all the info... but, too late! 🤣

 

Gordon Shumway said

Key sigs have a history. There's a minor (forgive the pun) debate on vcom about whether baroque music was in keys or modes. I haven't got the energy to seek a definitive answer. If someone writes in A but has no key sig and marks every accidental, does that make it modal? I think not, but there's probably more to it than that.

I agree with you.

The Bach violin sonata prelude is in G minor, but the key sig is one flat (not two). Does that make it Dorian? Some of Corelli is in A major but the key sig is two sharps (not three). If that makes it Mixolydian, I'll eat my beanie. My suspicion is that they hadn't worked out a full theory of writing key sigs yet, but I could be wrong.

My simple understanding is: the key signature is supposed to represent the majority of what is played, but if areas change - then it's modal. 

If there is only 1 flat in the key signature and it sounds like G minor - I'd say that is G dorian.  And G dorian mode CAN be seen as a scale. 

https://www.basicmusictheory.com/img/g-dorian-mode-on-treble-clef.png

 

I've been trying to revise modes recently (from Eric Taylor). It's difficult, because it's a mixture of booklearning and personal opinion about the more ancient stuff where there are few sources. And then there's the fusion problem of churchmen not understanding the ancient Greeks, and moderns not understanding either of the two.

 

And personal opinion in that I've always been cynical about them, because they are not understood in certain circles. My cynicism began when people on diatonic harmonica forums (and guitarists are as bad) wanted to play chromatically and they wanted to practise every (church) mode; and I always responded, just play the major scale and you've played every church mode. For the justification of that see on licks below.

I think I'm agreeing with you. 

Just because someone, back in history, decided to call a scale (in another octave) "Hypo..." - it's STILL THE SAME DARN SCALE! 

I've decided the term "Church Modes" is just obsolete & not worth adding to my mayhem. 

Modes aren't just scales - they are a combination of scales and licks. (Indian raags are the same)

Here, I have to disagree. 

Modes don't have ANY of the specific sequencing rules that ragas have! 

I still see Modes as Scales, because we can use ANY notes of a 'Mode' exactly the same way we use notes in a 'Scale'. 

 

Like @ABitRusty said - I also want to be able to convey, to another musician, what scale or mode I'm playing something in.

Please accept, that for me as a Fiddler, I ONLY see any of this as relevant if I want to add harmony or improvisation to a solo piece I'm playing - or, if I want to play backup with someone else. 

So, I'll only want to take a closer look at a key signature if what I hear doesn't jive or doesn't sound strictly major/minor.  Then, I'm going to look for clues to determine if a 'Mode' might fit the situation better - and I've got my trusty sites to go to for help with Mode Definitions and Mode Chords, Blues scales, Pentatonic and Exotic scales!  

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/18/21/9d/18219d74b9516c673a11effee5a9c8e1.png

I don't want to get messed up anymore than I already am, but I DO want to have a decent understanding - and hope others here benefit from these discussions.  

THANK YOU, for keeping me thinking! 

- Emily

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ABitRusty said
 as a melody player if I get the melody.. I dont really have to worry to much about what mode or if major or minor or any of that.   

That is exactly right.

And it has reminded me of a P.S. I should have written.

Whenever I use the expression "church mode", I'm usually being sarcastic.

But folk music is of course naturally and validly modal, or even pentatonic (e.g. Old MacDonald's farm), without anyone realising it, or needing to know.

Andrew

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ELCBK said
If there is only 1 flat in the key signature and it sounds like G minor - I'd say that is G dorian.  And G dorian mode CAN be seen as a scale. 

https://www.basicmusictheory.com/img/g-dorian-mode-on-treble-clef.png

Perhaps you're forgetting that the reason it sounds like G minor is because of the accidental F#s? Whether they go in the key sig or not is convention, is what I wonder. You can lay all the notes of a mode out on a stave to make it look like a scale, but that's just begging the question.

Modes aren't just scales - they are a combination of scales and licks. (Indian raags are the same)

Here, I have to disagree. 

All I can do then is refer you to Eric Taylor (The AB Guide to Music Theory, part II) pp. 240-241, although here we're talking strictly about plainchant. Folk tunes will depend on the ear and intuition, as @ABitRusty  implies.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway -

Are ALL the F's sharp? 

...not fair - that's NOT a link!

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In the beginning someone sung a tune everyone liked...and others came up with the theory to explain what they did and explain it to them.

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ELCBK said
@Gordon Shumway -

Are ALL the F's sharp? 

...not fair - that's NOT a link!

  

That was in an earlier edit. I'm not sure what you mean by link.

Dorian simply wouldn't have any F#s in the tune, and it would sound very different.

Andrew

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" also want to be able to convey, to another musician, what scale or mode I'm playing something in.

Please accept, that for me as a Fiddler, I ONLY see any of this as relevant if I want to add harmony or improvisation to a solo piece I'm playing - or, if I want to play backup with someone else. 

So, I'll only want to take a closer look at a key signature if what I hear doesn't jive or doesn't sound strictly major/minor.  Then, I'm going to look for clues to determine if a 'Mode might fit the situation better."

 

this seems to be where im at with it too.  

exactly

part of whats good about ha inv discussions is that it brings information up..to read on and try and experiment with.  It will become part of the learning process.  How big a part may be different for each but part .

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ABitRusty said

" also want to be able to convey, to another musician, what scale or mode I'm playing something in.

Please accept, that for me as a Fiddler, I ONLY see any of this as relevant if I want to add harmony ...  

  

There is some blinding with science in the music-theoretical aspect, as you have observed.

The choices are fewer than you think.

If you look at Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, you'll see that only one is a minor mode (Dorian), and the differences between it and the natural minor (Aeolian) are trivial.

So a musician might suggest Dorian, or they might suggest "a minor mode" and if composing a tune, you might reach mutual consent on which 6th and 7th you prefer the sound of, without naming them. And if you want an augmented 4th, why not?

And if you want "a major mode", you just have a choice of which 4th for Lydian or Mix, or a bit of each, maybe.

And Phrygian is a speciality all of its own.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway said

ELCBK said

@Gordon Shumway -

Are ALL the F's sharp? 

...not fair - that's NOT a link!

  

That was in an earlier edit. I'm not sure what you mean by link.

Dorian simply wouldn't have any F#s in the tune, and it would sound very different.

  

I think maybe lick was read as link and there was an expectation of a web address or something to follow.  i only say that because I read it that way at first.

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