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lachenal74693

More dumb questions about modes...

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Posted (edited)

As I progress (slowly and painfully) in terms of writing out my own scores (in ABC), I'm becoming a little more
confident about assigning a 'key' to a score - but I'm also still more than a little unsure of whether I'm getting
it 'right'.

 

For example:

 

I have a tune scored in one sharp, but it ends on a D. Does that mean it's Dmix (rather than Gmaj)?
I have a tune scored in two flats, but it ends on a C. Does that mean it's Cdor (rather than Bbmaj)?

 

Does it matter?
How hard and fast are these 'rules' (I can't think of an alternative word)?

 

Thank you.

 

Roger

 

Edited by lachenal74693

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lachenal74693 said:

I have a tune scored in one sharp, but it ends on a D. Does that mean it's Dmix (rather than Gmaj)?
I have a tune scored in two flats, but it ends on a C. Does that mean it's Cdor (rather than Bbmaj)?

Both most likely yes, but it also depends on the rest of the melody.

1 hour ago, lachenal74693 said:

Does it matter?
How hard and fast are these 'rules' (I can't think of an alternative word)?

Matter for what?

The way I look at it is as follows. A musical piece is a journey that the musicians(s) take the listener(s) on. The journey has a known starting point which very likely is also the end point. What happens in between is something the musician(s) lead and the listener(s) follow. It may be the same old road that's been travelled a million times before (in the so called "Western" cultural heritage, that means for most Ionian mode - with its very strong suggestive half tone resolutions, it has a driving force towards the target), or it may be something completly unusual and puzzling (which may lose a good deal of listeners) or anything in between.

So to go from, say, D to D allows very many paths; the "natural" one would be via the Ionian cadence (D resolves to G and A to D). Other roads make the journey more interesting, exotic and allows for new discoveries on the listener's side, but in turns they also demand the willingness to discover. If you go from D to D with the tonal material of the G major scale, you lack the C# which means the transition back to D is not as strong and natural as with the C#. The whole step up via C is the characteristic sound of the mixolydian mode.

Of course there is also the issue that a tune ending on a D may also be something completly different (eg something in pure G major ending unexpectedly on the Dominant). There are no "rules" as far as I can tell except that there is an unwritten contract of trust between the musician(s) and the listener(s) that demands the musicians to take the listeners safely back home and the listeners to be open to a fun journey. Just like in reality, not all paths are realistically possible, and many roads have already been travelled, so the "rules" would correspond to the (for the ear) most logical and natural harmonic sequences. Detours are possible and welcome here and there, and the daring may take a completly uncharted road.

I hope that doesn't sound too esoteric, but it's a metaphor I found to be pretty useful...

Makes sense?

Btw Thanks Alex, the splitting quotes option you discovered work like a charm!

Edited by RAc

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, RAc said:

1) Both most likely yes, but it also depends on the rest of the melody.

2) Matter for what?

The way I look at it is as follows...Detours are possible and welcome here and there, and the daring may take a completly uncharted road.

I hope that doesn't sound too esoteric, but it's a metaphor I found to be pretty useful...

Makes sense?

I took the liberty of editing numbering points into your comprehensive reply:

1) Thank you - that is what I expected/hoped to hear - including the disclaimer about the dependency on 'the rest of the melody'.

2) I used 'rules' because I was aware that the 'rules' encode a rather elusive set of decisions which I for one find difficult to arrive at.
For example what to do (to use your example) if one has ' something in pure G major ending unexpectedly on the Dominant'. It is
esoteric, but your summary is extremely helpful - yes it is useful and yes it makes sense. Whether I'll be able to apply it all successfully
is of course another matter...:).

Thank you very much!

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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5 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

Does it matter?
How hard and fast are these 'rules' (I can't think of an alternative word)?

Agree with everything above, and would add that it matters only in the sense that as it becomes more natural for you, you will find it extremely helpful to know what key you’re in and how to expect the notes in that key to relate to one another.

But of course it matters not at all in terms of getting the abc software to display the piece correctly. In that context, C Maj = D Dor = G Mix, etc.

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5 hours ago, David Barnert said:

But of course it matters not at all in terms of getting the abc software to display the piece correctly. In that context, C Maj = D Dor = G Mix, etc.

Yup! The basic display is certainly the same.

The only difference as far as I can see is that depending on the actual key assigned in the K: field, the automagic
chord generation feature of some ABC editors/players will generate slightly different chords. That slight difference
is in part what prompted the question 'Does it matter?'.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/27/2018 at 9:12 PM, Don Taylor said:

Have you seen this:

https://thesession.org/members/7960

Scroll well down and he (Al Brown) addresses chord structures/progressions for different modes.

Don, thank you very much! That's extremely useful as it 1) addresses the four modes which are (according to my understanding)
the most common in 'folk' music in a way which is not only clear but 2) gives some hints about how to decide if a tune is really in
(for example) G or Dmix when it's scored in one sharp but ends on a D.

 

Trying to understand this stuff by reading more formally written musical theory has been doing my head in!

 

It must be good, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here reading it at 3-o-clock in the bloody morning :) ...

 

Roger

PS: FWIW, my nephew and his soon-to-be missus are both classically trained full-time orchestral musicians, and even they are not
sure about some of this modal stuff...

Edited by lachenal74693

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Hi Roger,

 

it might be added that it is not uncommon for a tune to have no ending at all but be open for endless rounds, and that it's also very well possible that a tune may shift into another mode without modulating (which would rather stick to a mode despite changing the root note, most likely towards the former dominant or subdominant).

 

If interested, look here f.i.: Gmaj in section A, Dmix in section B, again Gmaj (starting on the subdominant) in section C, no ending. However, the modal character is not in the melody (the defining note is omitted) but in the key signature (one sharp, just repeated in the lower octave, which is not subject to a change as the root note is shifted to D) and should IMO be in the harmonies as well then (Amin is crucial here - I love it!).

 

However, as modes can be much more complicated than this, we should agree that we're just sticking with a tool allowing for a better understanding and communication of melodic and harmonic relations.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

1) it might be added that it is not uncommon for a tune to have no ending at all but be open for endless rounds, and that it's also very well possible that a tune may shift into another mode without modulating (which would rather stick to a mode despite changing the root note, most likely towards the former dominant or subdominant).

 

2) If interested, look here f.i.: Gmaj in section A, Dmix in section B, again Gmaj (starting on the subdominant) in section C, no ending. However, the modal character is not in the melody (the defining note is omitted) but in the key signature (one sharp, just repeated in the lower octave, which is not subject to a change as the root note is shifted to D) and should IMO be in the harmonies as well then (Amin is crucial here - I love it!).

 

3) However, as modes can be much more complicated than this, we should agree that we're just sticking with a tool allowing for a better understanding and communication of melodic and harmonic relations.

 

Wolf, thank you.

 

1) As it happens, I'm actually messing around with a couple of tunes doing precisely this (shifting to the other possible mode) to see if I can 'spot the difference'.

 

2) 'Longways for as many as will', eh? Lots of that in Playford and other dance collections... I recognise the tune but hadn't looked at it. I will now do so - ta. (I think
it's familiar because our Morris melodeonist, who is a bit of a Playford enthusiast has played it in my direction some time  in the recent past).

 

3) We are agreed!

 

Not exactly what is being discussed here, but 'Rainbow Jigs' by James Fitton is a tune (or set of tunes) which strings together a set of 32-bar jigs, the first is in Gion,
the second in Ador, etc., for all 7 modes - all scored in one sharp. I haven't got to grips with that one yet! I'm not sure how well-known the tune is...

 

5 minutes later, I now see that the ABC for Rainbow Jigs was posted here in 2016..

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693
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13 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

If interested, look here f.i.: Gmaj in section A, Dmix in section B, again Gmaj (starting on the subdominant) in section C, no ending. However, the modal character is not in the melody (the defining note is omitted) but in the key signature (one sharp, just repeated in the lower octave, which is not subject to a change as the root note is shifted to D) and should IMO be in the harmonies as well then (Amin is crucial here - I love it!).

 

I’m not sure I agree. Nothing in the center section sounds modal to me. The tune, as you mention, has neither C nor C#, but I have always harmonized it with A major chords under the E’s in the melody, assuming that the lack of a change in key signature was done just for convenience. The video of me playing this tune on the Beaumont is no longer on the Button Box web site, but that’s certainly how I played it.

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7 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

The video of me playing this tune on the Beaumont is no longer on the Button Box web site, but that’s certainly how I played it.

 

You‘re right - I‘m positively aware of your playing it that way, as a good many others do, and recent scores indicate...

 

However - the „modal“ harmonies came as perfectly natural to me, and we already had that point discussed... 😊

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, cboody said:

For more an you want to know about modes check out Jack Campin’s wonderful "modes and tonality in Scottish music," complete with extensive examples.

 

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

 

I've had a copy of those notes on my machine for some time - you are right - incredible stuff! JC also kindly gave me a preview of

a slightly updated version of some of the chapters.

 

I don't think JC has posted here for a while - is he still active does anyone know?

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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Hi Roger.........

   

Quote

 

Does it matter?

 

 

This is my take on whether it matters; I lead an English session in Toronto so this is a subject I have thought about.

     If you are doing these abc transcriptions etc for your own purposes with no idea of sending out in either digital or printed form, then I don't think it does matter.

           If however, you are "sending them around" to fellow musicians then I think it does .

   This is already a complex subject to those of us without paper training and sending out digital versions of incorrect sheet music further muddies the water.

         If I am uncertain about anything, then I try to have it checked by someone who does know before sharing........this appears to be what you are doing, so well done .

Robin

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Posted (edited)

Hi Robin, re indication of "chords" in an ABC-file or sheet, it might be deemed adequate to point to the personal character of any harmonisation, usually not being part of a tune but subject to its individual interpretation. Or is that obvious anyhow? What do you think?

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

PS: I apologize for going OT here...

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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43 minutes ago, Robin Harrison said:

     If you are doing these abc transcriptions etc for your own purposes with no idea of sending out in either digital or printed form, then I don't think it does matter.

           If however, you are "sending them around" to fellow musicians then I think it does .

   This is already a complex subject to those of us without paper training and sending out digital versions of incorrect sheet music further muddies the water.

         If I am uncertain about anything, then I try to have it checked by someone who does know before sharing........this appears to be what you are doing, so well done .

 

Absolutely!

 

I do ABC transcriptions primarily for my own use, adding automagically generated chords because I'm not musically savvy enough

to work the chords out for myself! I also add concertina tabs below the stave because I can't sight-read. I listen to the generated MIDI

output in order to get an idea of what the tune sounds like, if it's a tune I don't already 'know' (or even if it is...). I use the printed score

when Morris-ing - the tabs help me trundle along with t'other musicians in a reasonably deceptive fashion (ie: it looks as if I almost

know what I'm doing...).

 

I also spend a certain amount of time editing existing transcriptions, again, primarily for my own use. This is quite important (to me)

because even though I am not musically super-literate, I am reasonably computer-literate, and I quite often see 'errors' in ABC scripts.

A typical example is slides shown as ties - this is fairly common. I try quite hard to create/edit my ABC scripts so that they are 'correct'.

I also try and use a fixed 'style', and only use a sub-set of ABC directives in order to 'keep it simple' I do like to get the mode correct if

possible, however...

 

Sending ABC scripts to other users, or posting on a forum such as this, is also not a primary goal, though I have done this on occasion.

I'm a bit wary of doing this because of; 1) possible copyright violation; 2) getting it 'wrong'. If I do do this, I would probably; 3) send a script

out in the original key, (though I might add a '%?Dmix?' comment to a tune scored in (say) G but which might be Dmix); 4) strip out the

chords (unless they were there already) and concertina tabs. Unless I'm pretty sure that the tune is out of copyright, and 'correct', I would

(I think) tend to send it as a PM rather than post on a public forum.

 

This seems to me to be both a reasonably sensible and prudent approach?

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On 5/30/2018 at 7:22 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

You‘re right - I‘m positively aware of your playing it that way, as a good many others do, and recent scores indicate...

 

However - the „modal“ harmonies came as perfectly natural to me, and we already had that point discussed... 😊

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

So Paul (Hardy) has found the „lost“ video with David‘s playing (actually the 2nd) - as said nicely done but the harmonies in the B section not entirely being to my taste...

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14 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

So Paul (Hardy) has found the „lost“ video with David‘s playing (actually the 2nd) - as said nicely done but the harmonies in the B section not entirely being to my taste...

 

Not this Paul Hardy - some other Paul?

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