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