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"church" Modes

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#37 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

Breandán Breathnach includes some comments on modes in Irish music in the preface of his Ceol Rince na hÉireann (Vol. 1).  I've put a copy of his own translation of the preface at: http://www.mcgee-flu.../ceolrince1.htm. Interesting that he reports four modes only - ionian (major), mixolydian, dorian and aeolian.  I'm sure I remember a talk by a youthful Michael O'Suilleabhain where he played examples of some unusual tunes in other modes.  Too bad I didn't write them down! Terry

Interesting stuff, Terry. Thank you for making it available!

And regarding the limitation to just four modes, I use to think of these very modes in pairs - with Ionian/major and Aeolian/natural minor constituting the first one, obviously, providing the interchangable minor parallels to the "three chord" world of major tonic, dominant and subdominant. Next come Dorian and Mixolydian, sharpend minor and softened/flattened major, with a typical chord shift from i to IV (Dorian) resp. from I to v (Mixolydian), which gives a very similar feel or mood regardless from where (minor to major or major to minor) it is oriented. As for me therefore there is a Ionian/Aeolian "universe" on the one hand and a Dorian/Mixolydian on the other.

I haven't been very much into the Phrygian mode but I seem to recall that there were a certain number of Irish tunes in it, albeit the four modes as previously mentioned seem to be more common by far. Have not thought about pairing it with the remaining Lydian mode (not to speak of the Locrian which will have to stand alone anyway).

As to modes with Irish tunes, there are a good many of them with not just a major/mix ambiguity but in fact alternating minor and major 7th notes. Might even be regarded as somewhat typical, might it not?

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 15 March 2014 - 09:50 PM.


#38 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

(Unintended double posting deleted)

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 15 March 2014 - 08:56 PM.


#39 Terry McGee

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 09:06 PM

Hmmm, the mention of Cecil Sharpe was enough to remind me of visiting Maud Karpeles, at her home in Cadogan Place in Kensington in 1974.  We went there twice and enjoyed long chats, orange pound cake and Twinings teas.  Maud's hearing was much degraded, she had no trouble with my voice, but I had to translate for my girlfriend.   Maud died a few years later.  Her association with Sharpe in collecting folk songs in America is now about 100 years old!

 

Terry



#40 Terry McGee

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:08 PM

 

Breandán Breathnach includes some comments on modes in Irish music in the preface of his Ceol Rince na hÉireann (Vol. 1).  I've put a copy of his own translation of the preface at: http://www.mcgee-flu.../ceolrince1.htm. Interesting that he reports four modes only - ionian (major), mixolydian, dorian and aeolian.  I'm sure I remember a talk by a youthful Michael O'Suilleabhain where he played examples of some unusual tunes in other modes.  Too bad I didn't write them down! Terry

Interesting stuff, Terry. Thank you for making it available!

And regarding the limitation to just four modes, I use to think of these very modes in pairs - with Ionian/major and Aeolian/natural minor constituting the first one, obviously, providing the interchangable minor parallels to the "three chord" world of major tonic, dominant and subdominant. Next come Dorian and Mixolydian, sharpend minor and softened/flattened major, with a typical chord shift from i to IV (Dorian) resp. from I to v (Mixolydian), which gives a very similar feel or mood regardless from where (minor to major or major to minor) it is oriented. As for me therefore there is a Ionian/Aeolian "universe" on the one hand and a Dorian/Mixolydian on the other.

I haven't been very much into the Phrygian mode but I seem to recall that there were a certain number of Irish tunes in it, albeit the four modes as previously mentioned seem to be more common by far. Have not thought about pairing it with the remaining Lydian mode (not to speak of the Locrian which will have to stand alone anyway).

As to modes with Irish tunes, there are a good many of them with not just a major/mix ambiguity but in fact alternating minor and major 7th notes. Might even be regarded as somewhat typical, might it not?

 

 

Interesting.  I pair them too, but the other way.  I regard Ionian and Mixolydian as being "majorish" and Aolean and Dorian as "minorly".  I guess it's "all in the mind".  (A notoriously leaky vessel!)  

 

And yes, the tunes that change horses mid race must present issues for classification.  When is it a mode change, and when is it an accidental?  Or is an accidental merely a very short mode change?  Hmmmm....

 

I've been grumbling to anyone who'll listen (a diminishing audience) about how inadequate the ABC reader's automatic chord generators are.  Some get close on easy stuff, but none of them seem to be able to handle tunes I can chord, and I'm no world expert.  I've even wondered about putting together an interest group to see if we could come up with a better algorithm.  But handling (in any automatic sense) the range of funny tunes that switch modes on the run could exercise the mind!

 

Still, if we could automatically chord all the normal tunes easily, you wouldn't mind having to step in occasionally!

 

Terry



#41 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:21 PM

As to changing horses - the tune coming to my mind at once starts (put in C maj/mix for discussing) as follows:

G Gcc cdc BGA Bb ... (can't recall the name by now). Rather a matter of an accidental (and rather the "b" with B than the "#", resp. "♮" in this case, with Bb then?) I should think...

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 15 March 2014 - 10:26 PM.


#42 cboody

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:51 AM

Maybe some enlightenment on the issue of "solfege" names for the modes:  I'm not sure what was meant by the poster, but in much of continental Europe those names could imply either the modes as mentioned above or key signatures based on the fixed doh interpretation of the names.  That is, a "sol" would imply the key signature of G major etc.  In any event use of solfege names for modes and/or keys is common (as I understand things) on the continent hence the references here.  They don't surprise me, though I wouldn't use them myself.

 

To me, though I haven't had time to read the discussion linked to above, it would not surprise me that he would only mention the 4 modes.  Relatively speaking phrygian, lochrian and lydian pieces are much less common in the irish/scottish traditional tunes; uncommon enough so that they might have been left out of the discussion.  

 

Finally, at least for now :)  might I suggest this document for a more extensive look at modes:

 

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Modes/

 

I think it is important to understand the 6 and 5 note modes, either of which can have an occasional "added note."  That often explains why sometimes you'll find pieces with C or C# being used.  Of course it doesn't explain all of that.  Consider "The Big Reel of Balleynacally."



#43 Terry McGee

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 02:37 AM

As to changing horses - the tune coming to my mind at once starts (put in C maj/mix for discussing) as follows:

G Gcc cdc BGA Bb ... (can't recall the name by now). Rather a matter of an accidental (and rather the "b" with B than the "#", resp. "♮" in this case, with Bb then?) I should think...

 

Cook in the Kitchen!  And certainly treated like an accidental in the ABC:

 

X: 2957
T: Cook in the Kitchen (jig)
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: Jig
Q: 320
K: G
E|DGG GAG|=FDE F2 E|DGG GFG|Add cAG|
DGG GAG|=FDE F2 d|cAG FGA|BGG G2 :|
A|BcB BAG|ABA AGF|GAG GFG|Add cAG|
BcB BAG|ABA A2d|cAG FGA|BGG G2 :|
B|d2 e f2 g|a2 g fed|cAG FGA|BdB cAF|
d2 e f2 g|a2 g fed|cAG FGA|BGG G2 :|

 

Terry



#44 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:37 AM

In fact the church DID invent the modes ... as a conscious system of classification ...  But the system was applied to entirely different purposes over the subsequent centuries.  The person who first thought of applying the late-Renaissance version of that system to folk music was Lucy Broadwood, and ultimately Breathnach's system derives from hers.

 

Jack,

I can go along with this to a certain extent, as long as you are talking about a system of classification, not a system of composition. It is true that the scale of re sounds very like Dorian mode - but is it really? Are the diatonic (doh, re, mi ...) scales on which they are respectively based identical? Are the thirds and fifths equalised or natural, and to what degree in either case?

 

I haven't investigated the micro-tonality of the matter, but there might just be a case there for using the term "Dorian mode" for a Gregorian chant and "scale of re" for an Irish jig, rather than lumpoing the two together.

 

We concertinists have enough hassle with indiscriminate use of "diatonic" and "bi-sonoric". These terms also appear to describe simiar phenomena, but only on superficial scrutiny.

 

Cheers,

John



#45 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:10 AM

John, my first knowledge of a thing like the Dorian mode was from J.S.B.'s famous and beautiful "Dorian Toccata" (which is actually rather in d-minor, but notated without accidental). I can't see any harm done just by following this convention.

OTOH, as pointed out by Chuck, the fundamental-related Do-Re-Mi... names (which I personally hadn't been aware of as yet, frankly) are ambiguous by their origin. I wouldn't say "diatonic" for bi-sonoric, but I wouldn't worry because of micro-tonal differences (if there necessarily are any at all) when communicating diatonic music.

(edited mainly to clarify on the Bach piece)

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 16 March 2014 - 07:09 AM.


#46 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

Chuck, would you suggest classifying "Cook in the Kitchen" under a six-note mode due to its use of both the seventh then?

Besides, when choosing "my" first fiddle tune (Lonesome John) I read about fiddlers playing the third neither as major nor minor, and tried to emulate that with the EC. I guess we are thereby approaching the wide field of "blue" notes, both thirds and sevenths (as well as fifths, one might add), which alter with the harmonic progression anyhow.

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 16 March 2014 - 06:30 AM.


#47 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:45 AM

 

I certainly remember Michael O'Suilleabhain (also in 1974) using the Church names, and I don't remember anyone else ever using the solfège names.  They incidentally also derive from the Latin and were formalised in the mediaeval, so that should make them equally unattractive.  Breandán was a churchgoer, I believe.  I do remember him using the expression "tunes in good Christian keys", which I took to mean tunes not including those in A.
 
Does your fiddle-player's tunebook make it clear that they are talking modes and not keys? Our modes are four: do, re, so and la; "scales of re, so and la" could just mean the key signatures of D, G and A?

Terry,

First of all, probably most of us use terminology loosely when we're just chatting, and depending on whom we're chatting with. I use the terms "Dorian" and "Mixolydian" myself when I think it will mean more to my conversation partner than the tonic-solfa expression.

 

And don't confuse solfège with tonic sol-fa! the Romance languages use note names that look very like the tonic sol-fa that we learned in (Scottish) primary school, but is completely different, in that it is not pitch-independent. "Do" in French is always the absolute-pitched note that English and German speakers call "C". In tonic sol-fa, "doh" is the root note of the major key the piece is in (or related to).

If you get thuis clear, it will be obvious that the "scales of re, so and la" cannot mean the key signatures (i.e. number of sharps or flats) of D, G and A, because tonic sol-fa notation does not specify absolute pitches.

The "scale of re" is, in fact, the scale that starts on re and uses the notes of the diatonic scale, i.e. re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, doh, re. The semitone intervals are still between fa and so and between ti and doh, but now they are at different positions in the scale, so the scale has a different feel to it.

 

BTW, by "good Christian keys" I would understand the keys used frequently in Hymn Books, which in my experience tend to be more "flat" than "sharp" keys, e.g. E-flat major (3 flats) rather than A-major (3 sharps). 

 

Cheers,

John



#48 Jack Campin

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:07 PM

It is true that the scale of re sounds very like Dorian mode - but is it really? Are the diatonic (doh, re, mi ...) scales on which they are respectively based identical? Are the thirds and fifths equalised or natural, and to what degree in either case?

 

I haven't investigated the micro-tonality of the matter, but there might just be a case there for using the term "Dorian mode" for a Gregorian chant and "scale of re" for an Irish jig, rather than lumpoing the two together.

 

Dorian is probably the most widespread 7-note scale on earth.  "Huseyni" in Turkish and Arabic music uses the same notes, and so does something in Hindustani and Karnatic music the names of which I forget.  Intonation isn't so much the distinguishing feature between the different uses of the scale as melodic patterning is.  But some of those melodic patterns are VERY widespread - an opening with a rising scale from the tonic to the fourth, for example, and a close that rises to the supertonic, drops to the subtonic and resolves to the tonic.

 

Could you pick out enough distinctive melodic patterns in Irish uses of the Dorian to say "we'll give a special name for the kind of tune that uses those"?  I kinda doubt it - there simply aren't enough examples.  It's easier to do that sort of thing in an improvisatory modal tradition, where players start out with the repertoire of patterns, and they're fully aware of what they are.  (Eastern Orthodox chant isn't improvisatory, but the procedures of composition use standard formulas in the same way - you can distinguish one of the Eastern idioms from another when you encounter a distinctive phrase shape that one has and the other doesn't).

 

Some of these modal traditions have modes which are regarded as completely distinct but which share the same static scale pattern - Turkish "neva" uses the same notes as "huseyni", but neva tends to use falling patterns starting in the upper part of the scale while huseyni rises from the bottom.



#49 cboody

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:21 AM

Chuck, would you suggest classifying "Cook in the Kitchen" under a six-note mode due to its use of both the seventh then?

Besides, when choosing "my" first fiddle tune (Lonesome John) I read about fiddlers playing the third neither as major nor minor, and tried to emulate that with the EC. I guess we are thereby approaching the wide field of "blue" notes, both thirds and sevenths (as well as fifths, one might add), which alter with the harmonic progression anyhow.

I don't think I would classify it as a six note mode, but perhaps Jack C. will chime in about this since he is more knowledgable than I in that area.   I've always thought that pieces like Cook in t he Kitchen (and Big Reel of Balleynacalley which I mentioned earlier0) might have derived from the playing of pipers where, at least on some kinds of pipes, the 7th note is "in the crack" and the ear hears what it want to hear.  But, that is just a thought of my own, I definitely could not provide any support for it.



#50 Jack Campin

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:01 AM

"Cook in the Kitchen" is an interesting one.  Each section is in a different mode.  The last part is straightforward G major, the second part has narrow range (pentachordal with a leading note at the bottom) omitting the E and sounding like some kind of southern European bagpipe tune, the first part is the complicated one - I've heard it a bit differently with an F natural in bar 3, so it only goes major at the final cadence.  There's a gap at the third until then, so the effect is some form of minor scale - you wouldn't use a G major chord at the start, would you?  I think I'd prefer to write it like this:

X:2
T:Cook in the Kitchen
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=108
K:GDor
E|DGG GAG|FDE F2E|DGG  GFG| Add cAG|
  DGG GAG|FDE F2d|cAG ^FGA|=BGG G2:|
K:G
A|BcB BAG|ABA AGF|GAG  GFG| Add cAG|
  BcB BAG|ABA A2d|cAG  FGA| BGG G2:|
B|d2e f2g|a2g fed|cAG  FGA| BdB cAF|
  d2e f2g|a2g fed|cAG  FGA| BGG G2:|

The first part sounds quite strikingly liturgical until you get to that final cadence - free up the rhythm, change the ending and it could be used as Gregorian chant (mode II).



#51 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:47 AM

Jack, thank you for your analysis, which I find very interesting and will consider. However, my personal understanding of the tune is quite different, starting with the first bars. Albeit having to correct myself with one note (the very first actually) for me it's still E DGG GAG F#DE F♮2..., and I'm harmonizing it rather "strongly", with G (open fitfth) - D - F (open fitfth) on the one hand (i.e. in a "Dorian" manner at this particular moment, despite "my" major 7th just preceding the F harmony), and even a secondary (major) dominant in the B-part a.s.f. on the other hand...

Used to play it quite a lot with my PA several years ago, but since we're on CNet here I will give it a try on the EC (treble; which leads to Cmaj/mix regarding the chording). I will provide a soundfile at soundcloud to give you the idea, but it might take me some days' spare time to do it fairly proper).

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 17 March 2014 - 05:13 AM.


#52 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:21 AM

Couldn't resist :) So here it is:

 

(topic)

 

(soundfile)



#53 Terry McGee

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:03 PM

I hear it a little differently too - bending towards the mixolydian in that first part.  Something like this:

 

X:2
T:Cook in the Kitchen
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=108
K:GMix
E|"G"DGG "G"GAG|"D"FDE "F"=F2E|"G"DGG  "G"G^FG| "D"Add "C"cAG|
"G"DGG "G"GAG|"Dm"FDE "F"=F2d|"C"cAG "D"^FGA|"G"BGG "G"G2:|
K:G
A|"G"BcB "G"BAG|"D"ABA "D"AGF|"G"GAG  "G"GFG| "D"Add "C"cAG|
"G"BcB "G"BAG|"D"ABA "D"A2d|"C"cAG  "D"FGA| "G"BGG "G"G2:|
B|"D"d2e "D"f2g|"D"a2g "D"fed|"C"cAG  "D"FGA| "G"BdB "D7"cAF|
"D"d2e "D"f2g|"D"a2g "D"fed|"C"cAG  "D"FGA| "G"BGG "G"G2:|
 
I don't know if I'd swear in a court of law to those chords, but along that line.
 
Terry


#54 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 04:39 AM

Terry, thank you for posting. Quite near to my version (if one adds a sharp to the first F, which I guess you'd intended to; and then the "bending" in the repeating, if I got you right). I'm glad about the confirmation as to making use of natural and sharp 7th (speaking Mixolydian) in one measure...
 
Besides, recorded an improved version today, thereby keeping the arrangement intact (topic)
 
Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 22 March 2014 - 01:22 PM.




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