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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2answers
6k views

How do you modulate between modes?

I'm confused about how to switch modes in song. When you switch modes, will it switch like this (C Ionian -> C Mixolydian) or like this (C Ionian -> G Mixolydian)? Also, how will you formulate chords ...
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4answers
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What is the correct Roman numeral notation for use in modal pieces?

Looking at a lead sheet (Scarborough Fair), it is noted that the key signature is D major. On closer inspection the song appears to be in Dorian mode. I am guessing that the better approach when e.g....
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0answers
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What are the modal characteristics of major modes?

This question comes out of two recent questions and answers about modal music: In what way is music considered to be in a mode when accidentals seemingly contradict the mode? What are modes in the ...
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11answers
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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 ...
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3answers
69 views

Term for conversion between different tonalities (C major to C minor, etc.)

(Inspired by this recent question:) If we theorists reserve "transposition" for shifting everything by specific intervals, like every note goes down by a minor 3rd, what do we say when someone ...
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1answer
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Do Lydian and Locrian Pentantonic Scales Exist?

As far as I am aware, there are two ways to construct the five modes of the pentatonic scale. The first is to go to the major diatonic, remove the fourth and seventh scale degrees (as these are a ...
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1answer
59 views

How to convert from one mode to the other? [closed]

I have no idea how modes work atm, I'm pretty competent everywhere else in theory, but I struggle with modes. Is it at all possible to convert modes? like from minor to phrygian? and what would be ...
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4answers
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Mode mnemonics instead of memory

Does anyone know a mnemonic for modes? I am not asking how to remember what they are, Ionian, Dorian...etc.. I am asking about one that will enable me to know what the Dorian note is in any scales. I ...
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1answer
63 views

is this song written in dorian or mixolydian mode?

i have a question about the modes hopefully someone sees this if a song follows a chord progression of verse Bb-Ab-Eb Bb-Ab-Eb then pre chorus Ab-Eb-Bb // Ab-Eb-Db-Eb and then the chorus is Bb-...
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1answer
889 views

Are there any modern era songs that use true Locrian?

While learning more about music theory, I started diving off into the world of musical modes and Locrian mode stood out like a sore thumb with a flat 5th. This was intriguing so I am trying to find ...
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2answers
103 views

Was there a conscious decision of medieval composers to compose within a harmonic framework?

How much were medieval composers (such as Hildegard von Bingen) aware of modal approach when they composed and "engineered" their pieces? Now, this question is almost stupid. They didn't compose ...
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4answers
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Why does modal interchange work? Can any mode be used?

When you're in the key of C major and you use chords from C Dorian, Phyrgian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. Why does it sound acceptable to use those chords, and does it work with all ...
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Melodic minor and the ii chord

I am curious about the following. If you look at the Melodic Minor scale (ascending) it is really just Dorian with a major 7th. In Jazz we do not alter this mode when descending. In classical ...
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2answers
348 views

Is Locrian a minor mode or is it a diminished mode?

I have heard 2 different schools of thought when describing the Locrian mode. The first one that I heard several years ago, when I first heard about modes is that it is a minor mode, despite its ...
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9answers
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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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6answers
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What does it mean to play in a mode?

So here's what I know about modes: Let's say we're in the key of C major. If you're just improvising in the key of C, you would say you're using the C Ionian mode, right? But here's where I get ...
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3answers
916 views

How does harmonic analysis work in different modes?

I noticed that normal harmonic analysis doesn't seem to work when playing in different modes. For example what is the dominant and sub-dominant chord in the Dorian mode?
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What other scales can be played over ii chord in ii-V-I besides Dorian?

Soloing over ii-V-I is usually associated with modes. Dorian-Myxolydian-Ionian. I'm trying to expand my soloing by playing "outside", so I wanted to find out what other scales can be played over ...
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0answers
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Why does the modal system approach to jazz sometimes fail?

When I first dived into studying jazz guitar, I learnt that the modal system and harmonized scale were the ultimate key to jazz improvisation and mastery. This method worked for me in most cases but ...
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3answers
502 views

What is the melodic minor scale with a flattened 5 called?

I can't find the answer anywhere on the internet. Except for that it can be seen as a whole-half scale with the sixth note left out. However this explanation doesn't satisfy my desire for an official ...
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4answers
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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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2answers
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antecedent and consequent phrase in minor scale

MY question is what are the rules for melodic phrasing in minor scales. For example, I know that in a major scale the vii wants to go up to the I and the V can go where ever etc. what are the rules ...
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6answers
309 views

Different modes with same root

I am a self taught pianist that played purely by ear for most my life. Only recently have I journeyed into understanding music theory and man, I keep thinking how I should have done it a long time ago....
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3answers
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Why is Eastern Music a Mode of Western Music?

Western music (to me at least) is best captured in the major scale. And Phrygian, which is the 3rd mode of the major scale can be used to get a more Eastern sound (for example Jefferson Airplane/White ...
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1answer
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Harmonic/Melodic Modes

I've always thought of harmonic/melodic modes as being modes the fall parallel to harmonic/melodic minor. I don't have any references, but I swear I've seen this corroborated in a few places. ...
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4answers
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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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1answer
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How to use “synthetic modes”

Im having trouble understanding a concept in Persichetti’s book 20th century harmony (Page 43) where he introduces new scales he calls synthetic scales. Just before that he talks about the church ...
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4answers
384 views

What set of notes can be used as a scale?

There are many different scales. As far as I understand, a scale is defined by intervals between notes. For example, for major scale it should be: tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone I know ...
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3answers
256 views

How could the medieval chants be classified before any notation was available?

We all have in mind the image of a medieval mode as a scale with a pattern of tones and semitones with a finalis, a specific range, etc. However, it seems that medieval chants were classified ...
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1answer
540 views

What does “of the first/second/third/etc. tone” mean in Iberian keyboard music?

For example, "Tiento de 5° tono" - The fifth tone? Mixolydian? I'm not sure about whether "tono" refers to a scale mode because the music is scattered with accidentals that don't seem to follow the ...
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3answers
87 views

Does same mode have different mood or emotional quality in different keys? [closed]

Maybe it's subjective thing. But when you start playing same song in same mode (natural major for example), but from another key than original was. What will happend? You have two possiblities or ...
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2answers
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Fingering for modes on the piano

I'm a self-taught pianist. I know how to play all the major and minor scales, so I believe I can progress to modes. How should I practice modes on the piano? Should I just use the fingering for the ...
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4answers
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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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1answer
75 views

What scales/modes are used in Just the way you are by Billy Joel? [closed]

I'm a hobbyist and I only know intermediate music theory. I am currently finding my way around with jazz. Could someone please tell me what scales or modes are/can be used in the Just the way you are?...
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5answers
902 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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1answer
124 views

Is there a standard set of cadences designed for the seven modes?

On Cadences for Modes and Modal Cadence Options, Dom, Richard, and I came up with a group of modal cadences. Specifically (correct order from Ionian to Locrian): Dom: ii-I, VII-i, II-i, II-I, ...
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1answer
104 views

Modal playing on an instrument designed for just intonation in the major scale (specifically dulcimer)

Sorry if this gets long-winded; I've only recently ventured down the JI rabbit-hole and want to spell out my reasoning in a way that will expose gaps in my understanding. For those not familiar with ...
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7answers
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Must a song using the A minor scale begin or end with an Am chord? If not, how can I tell what the scale is?

Is it a must for a song using the A minor scale to begin or end with an Am chord? If not, how can I tell what the scale is? For example, how can I differentiate between the C major scale, A minor ...
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6answers
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Using the Circle of Fifths for Modal Music Key Changes: Is this oversimplifying?

I am learning about the modes, relative scales, and the circle of fifths. I am interested in adding key changes to my playing. I understand that if you're playing in, say C major, the easiest key ...
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2answers
147 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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4answers
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Is the tritone (A4 / d5 / DA3 / Dd6) still banned in Roman Catholic music?

The tritone is one of the most dissonant intervals in music. It is also known as the "Augmented 4th", "Diminished 5th", "Doubly Augmented 3rd" or "Doubly Diminished 6th", and it is composed of three ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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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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3answers
280 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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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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5answers
345 views

Are the 1,4,5 the primary chords in all modes?

I know in both major (Ionian) and minor (Aeolian) the 1 4 5 chords are the primary chords. as they seem to come up more often than other chords. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_triad In Aeolian ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
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How would you go about writing a a chord progression properly using the circle of fifths in the phrygian mode?

My question is: How would you go about writing a a chord progression properly using the circle of fifths in the Phrygian mode? I have seen many discuss the circle of fifths using Majors and minors but ...
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1answer
686 views

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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1answer
140 views

Are circle of fifths progressions generally practical for modes?

Earlier today I was working on mode utilizations, and as I was making a circle of fifths, here's what I got: C Ionian mode: C - F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm - G - C (I - IV - viio - iii - vi - ii - V - I) ...

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