Questions tagged [modes]

For questions concerning the musical modes. These can include historical views of mode by the Greeks or the various rotations of scale collections. Questions about historical views of mode should also include the history tag.

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31 votes
8 answers
18k views

Understanding minor key harmony

A comment discussion under this question from me, clued me in to the fact that I don't really understand how minor keys work very well. So here is what I think I know The natural minor comes from the ...
41 votes
9 answers
22k views

What are modes and how are they useful?

I'm a self-taught guitarist with zero to little experience in music theory. After marrying a violinist I found that there's a lot to music theory that I know tribally but don't understand the ...
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68 votes
22 answers
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What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
46 votes
5 answers
11k views

When were the terms "Major" and "Minor" applied to keys?

In 1547, Heinrich Glarean published Dodecachordon in which he posited that in addition to the 4 existing pairs of church modes (plagal and authentic versions of modes with finals on D (Dorian), E (...
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11 votes
4 answers
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Do modes exist in the harmonic / melodic minor scales?

I'm trying to get my head around modes and the tonal center. In my understanding the natural minor scale is the same as the Aeolian mode. However, when considering the mix-up that happens in the ...
27 votes
7 answers
36k views

Why does the Dorian mode on C have two flats?

I'm studying scale modes and I just found on Wikipedia that the Dorian mode on C has two flats... Why is this? Because the Dorian mode is just the major scale (Ionian) starting from the second note, ...
24 votes
3 answers
14k views

What are the greek modes, and how do they differ from modern modes?

This Question might be TwoFold, based on an uncertainty I have I understand the construction of traditional Ionian-Locrian modes, and I have read that various notes in the modes have traditionally ...
9 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why do modes sound so different, although they are basically the same as a mode of another scale?

I know my question sounds a little bit confusing, hence I don't have any idea how I could google that. Soo for example: a G Major Mixolydian scale has the exact same notes as the C Major Ionian scale....
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8 votes
2 answers
6k views

Cadences for Modes

For each of the modes, is there a certain chord that goes before the targeted I or i chord? For instance, it seems in the Phrygian mode that II to i is a quite strong progression. In Ionian, obviously ...
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24 votes
8 answers
20k views

Is F Lydian mode in the "key" of C Major?

In most cases (if not all), a piece of music without sharps or flats in the key signature, would be considered in the key of C major or A minor. This question assumes the context of Western Music ...
48 votes
12 answers
24k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. There seem to be trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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Locrian Harmony

I like utilizing modes in my the pieces I write, but there is one mode I've never been able to fully grasp and utilize and that is the Locrian mode. The chords that naturally occur in the Locrian ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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How did the plagal modes differ from their authentic counterpart in practice?

In the traditional modal system there were eight modes. Four that were authentic and four were plagal. These modes are depicted below: Based on the description of the modes the final note of the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
6k views

How are chord progressions built in a modal context vs traditional major/minor context?

This question is asked from the standpoint of popular music as it is today (2016). Let's confine the question to progressions that are 4 bars long, since that's the most generic pattern in pop music. ...
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5 votes
2 answers
144 views

Does this progression through the modes have a name?

I discovered that if I play a major scale, i.e. Ionian mode, then move through the modes with the same root note in the following order: Ionian Mixolydian Dorian Aolian Phrygian Locrian At this ...
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4 votes
2 answers
3k views

What scales can you get modes from?

I know the modes from the major scale pretty well, and I've come to know that other scales like the melodic minor scales also has modes. So my question is, what other scales can modes be based off of ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Distinction between Mode and Key [duplicate]

I am a little confused on the distinction between mode and key. If I see a lot of F#s (not in the key signature) and Cs, is it correct to say I am in C lydian mode but still in C major key? Moreover, ...
21 votes
8 answers
6k views

Harmony in Phrygian : What chords are tonic, subdominant, and dominant?

Phrygian is a very distinct sounding mode. I've been trying to better understand the harmony of the mode so I can use it more. Obviously the i chord is a tonic chord and iv is a subdominant chord, but ...
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19 votes
5 answers
25k views

Different modes of pentatonic scale

Just as there are seven modes of the diatonic scale, I would expect five modes of the pentatonic scale. Have these been classified? Here they are, in the form of {semitone interval gaps} (Notes for ...
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19 votes
7 answers
5k views

How to know if it's a mode or scale?

How do I differentiate between modes? Suppose a person is playing "D Dorian". How do I know that it's "D Dorian" and not "C Major/Ionian" or "E Phrygian" and so on, and in fact "A natural minor" ...
19 votes
11 answers
4k views

What are modes in the real world?

For months, I have been trying to understand modes. Even though I have memorized all the names, what notes they start from and so on, I do not understand their meaning in the real world of music ...
13 votes
3 answers
11k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
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13 votes
3 answers
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How to make C lydian not sound like G ionian?

What are some concrete melodic and harmonic tools to establish the correct tonic center in a lydian melody? The reason for asking about lydian specifically is that there is no minor seventh for the ...
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11 votes
4 answers
5k views

What are the interval patterns for the modes?

I came across this on this site: C Ionian is C D E F G A B, whereas C Dorian is C D E♭ F G A B♭ The WWHWWWH is for Ionian. What is the equivalent for the other modes?
10 votes
8 answers
24k views

What is a good solo to learn in the Dorian mode?

I understand that Dorian is a commonly used mode in rock. I am starting to play / improvise in the mode and would like to learn some guitar solos that are good examples of this scale so that I see how ...
9 votes
5 answers
1k views

What's the value of modes?

Let's say we have a progression where all of the chords fit within traditional diatonic harmony. Maybe something like this: | E♭Maj♯11 | Cmin7 | F7 | B♭Maj | All of these chords fit ...
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8 votes
7 answers
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What is the difference between C major and C Ionian?

To my understanding, C major is the same as C Ionian, because both consist of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, (C) in this order. Contrast this with D Dorian, which consists of the same notes, but in ...
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7 votes
4 answers
5k views

Modal chord progressions for Rock music

I need some solid understanding on modal chord progressions. I would be glad if you can explain and give examples this especially from a rock or blues music perspective
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4 votes
1 answer
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Modal Cadence Options

I understand that when playing in a mode, the cadences are quite different from tonal cadences. For example, in the Phrygian mode a cadence would be IV - iii (or II - i if we're renumbering the chords)...
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4 votes
4 answers
728 views

Locrian mode and power chords

I'm studying in an online game music course, and I'm experimenting Modes to add unusual sound to the music. I'm a complete newbie in music. So let's have the Locrian mode, the root chord is a dimished ...
3 votes
2 answers
457 views

Flavor of the modes in melody

I practice modes on my guitar nowadays, but when I try to solo freely (without a backing track) in a mode (D dorian in key of C major), I usually don't find it as a "modal music", I only hear its ...
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2 votes
2 answers
429 views

How to know which key a song is written in with the same key signature?

How to know which key a song is written in with the same key signature ? For example, the C Lydian scale has the same key signature as G major (G Ionian) AND E (natural) minor (E Aeolian) which makes ...
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2 votes
3 answers
860 views

Analysis: How to determine what scale/mode a score uses

I'm learning music theory with the hopes of being able to analyze sheet music. My question is -- What if the piece I am analyzing is in some other mode than major or minor? Or even stranger, like ...
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1 vote
1 answer
472 views

Melodic Minor Modes

Do modes exist in the harmonic / melodic minor scales? This question needs to be brought back to life. The answer to the question above is wrong... the chart is right, but the answer is wrong... ...
1 vote
2 answers
993 views

How can I deduce in which scales and mode to play?

This is maybe a naive question. Often, guitar tabs are given as a succession of chords (and/or a melody). Is there a method to know systematically in which scale and/or mode can I play? Maybe this ...
1 vote
5 answers
785 views

Modes of scales other than C major

I was learning modes. But I'm confused now. My problem is that I don't know how to apply the modes in other scale. For example I know in c major, mixolydian is form g to g and all keys are flat. But ...
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1 answer
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Difference between Modality, Tonality and Chord-naming conventions in a more practical way?

There is a lot of very valuable information about these terms that I have been reading lately - inline on SE and on other places on the web: What's the difference between "modal music"...
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16 votes
5 answers
2k views

Do different modes have the same cadence structure?

In major and minor keys, the perfect cadence is V to I Will this structure remain the same in a different mode? I.e. E Phrygian Mode in the key of C (E F G A B C D), the tonic chord is the iii of ...
13 votes
3 answers
22k views

Using the Dorian Mode

I've been composing for years but know very little about modes, just stuck to major and minor. If I took a chord progression from Cmajor, ie I - IV - V - I which would be C,F,G,C and then switched ...
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to establish a mode?

I would like to learn about the art of establishing a mode. For example, how to make A minor sound like A minor instead of C major.
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why does Fux use F# in his counterpoint to a firmus written in G mixolydian

In the given image below, Fux writes a counterpoint to a cantus firmus given to him as part of his studies by his fictitious teacher Aloysious. A rule that is often emphasised is that one should ...
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

What mode consists of the note G A Bb C Db E F G?

I was playing random scales . I came to a strange nice sounding mode,but could not find out what it's name theoretically. (Even I could not find a tonic sounding in it) The scale/mode notes are : G ...
9 votes
1 answer
775 views

What is the origin and original meaning of "tonic", "supertonic", "mediant", etc.?

Each of the pitches in the diatonic scale has a "name": tonic supertonic mediant subdominant dominant submediant subtonic I was first introduced to tonic, dominant, and subdominant in the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
844 views

Scales in modal versus tonal music

When tonal music replaced modal music, why were 6 of the 8 scales (modes) used in modal music abandoned in favor of only two, major and minor? Superficially this would look like a reduction in the ...
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

What are the modes derived from the C major scale?

I'd like for someone to explain the 7 modes derived from the C major scale.
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8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Can you help me understand Modes from the aspect of chord changes?

I am 70 years old, have played (strummed) guitar all my life, with some multi-year gaps. I never wanted to know theory; was more interested in the occasional surprise of learning something new. I ...
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8 votes
3 answers
578 views

Does the existence of a chord tone (and its enharmonic spellings) imply the absence of another?

My question is about the notation of chords and what that notation conveys (mostly applied to jazz and the notes that are implied by the chord symbol). A chord symbol notated with a '7' alone ...
7 votes
9 answers
4k views

Why are there just 7 modes?

Let's take a look at Ionian mode. Its pattern is "WWHWWWH". Which there are 7 steps. If we consider this mode building problem as a permutation problem then we can arrenge them into 7!/(2!*5!)=21 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are all modes relative to Ionian (major) in Roman numeral analysis?

I saw in this Wikipedia article that there are a lot of flats and sharps in the modal natural chords. And I was wondering if it's because they all refer to Ionian. So in Aeolian the "bIII" chord is ...
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7 votes
6 answers
2k views

Memorizing modes on guitar fretboard

I'm comfortable with all 5 basic box positions and 7 3-note-per-string patterns for diatonic scale. I can switch among these positions fairly well. Problem is, when I try to emphasize on a mode, it ...