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#1243082 - 08/04/09 03:21 AM Confused about modes vs. harmony
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Musical modes (e.g. Phrygian, Lydian etc.) seem to play a major role in jazz and pop music (some pop guitarists seem to think primarily in these terms). According to Wiki, modality also features prominently in late-19th and 20th century music, including Debussy and other composers.

1.) Could someone give examples of such passages?
2.) How does the use of modes work together with the use of ("traditional") harmony? I guess I can't just think in classical cadence style C-F-G-C and add any kind of scale which contains material that is non proper to the key?
In other words, how would one usually harmonize modal passages?

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#1243235 - 08/04/09 12:05 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Thanks for asking this. I am curious as to the answer myself, being only a dilettante composer. grin
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#1243246 - 08/04/09 12:22 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
pianovirus Offline
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Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
being only a dilettante composer. grin


Then there are actually two dilettante composers active in this thread by now! laugh
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#1243249 - 08/04/09 12:24 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
1] Debussy's La Cathedrale engloutie (main theme) is a really great example of Ionian - the melodic aspect really stands out even though there is parallel harmonic doubling.

2] Again see Debussy for how he "harmonizes" modal passages. The harmony is not functional, and is really just parallel melodies as a type of organum or fauxbourdon.

Debussy didn't use modes the way they were used in chant, so you may want to check out that (chant) as well to hear a more traditional use.

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#1243260 - 08/04/09 12:41 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
A good example is Kabalevsky's Toccatina (the famous one from Op. 27), it's in the Aeolian mode, basically A minor but without the G#. It's simply harmonized with minor dominants instead of major dominants.

Another is the last movement of the first Ginastera sonata, which also spends a lot of time in the Aeolian mode. It's not so much a melody/harmony piece as it is a contrapuntal one - both lines being in the same mode.

For a classical example, the "Et incarnatus est" of the Credo in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is in d Dorian. Again, it's contrapuntal in nature.

Basically, the chords work the same way as in tonal music. In tonal music, the chords are built from the notes in the scale. In modal music, the same happens, you just end up with slightly different chords. In Mixolydian, for example, you have bVII instead of viio. Lydian has a Major II chord, etc...

Also, just as in tonal music, it's uncommon to find a piece that's entirely in one mode. Just as in tonal music, there are alterations to the harmonies and melodic lines, as well as modulations to and inflections from other keys. One of the peasnat dances from Bartok's "First Term at the Piano" is basically in G mixolydian, but he ends it with a very tonal authentic cadence in G Major. This is fairly common in Bartok - he'll borrow interesting notes from parallel modes, but use tonal harmony at the cadences.

Another example of Bartok changing modes is the Slovakian Boys' Dance from "Ten Easy Pieces." The ending is C dorian, although there is plenty of Ab earlier in the piece. The harmony throughout the piece is the result of voice leading, mostly descending lines in C aeolian.

I think it's important to realize that in the 20th century, composers rarely use modes "just because." They're either trying to invoke the folk musics of various countries (Mixolydian, Dorian, and Aeolian in Eastern Europe, and Phrygian in Spain and Argentina), or they're trying to capture the feeling of 16th century sacred music.
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#1243271 - 08/04/09 12:49 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: pianovirus
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
being only a dilettante composer. grin



Then there are actually two dilettante composers active in this thread by now! laugh


grin Glad I'm not the only one! laugh I do hope to study with a fine composer who lives close to me soon, so maybe I won't always be a dilettante. wink
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#1243275 - 08/04/09 12:51 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Kreisler, thanks for the explanation. I actually play that Toccatina regularly as a warm-up. I think I should analyze it further. I think further study of theory in general would probably behoove me. smile
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#1243578 - 08/04/09 07:06 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
beet31425 Offline
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Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3621
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Here are two more examples of modular writing:

1. The slow sections of the slow movement from Beethoven's A minor string quartet (op. 132) are written in F Lydian mode (white notes from F to F). In addition to having an interesting modality, this movement is just one of the most heartfelt, beautiful and unusual movements in Beethoven.

2. A great way to explore all the standard modalities is through the C major fugue from Shostakovich's 24 preludes and fugues, op. 87. The fugue uses only white notes, and as the it progresses, you here the theme starting on every possible white note from C to C; correspondingly, all four voices play in the various modes. For instance, halfway through, when the theme resounds like a low bell in the bass starting on B, we experience Locrian mode (white notes B to B). Play through the fugue, and you'll get a nice bird's-eye view of all the modes, not so much in a harmonic context like you asked, but at least in a contrapuntal context.
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#1243579 - 08/04/09 07:09 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A good example is Kabalevsky's Toccatina (the famous one from Op. 27), it's in the Aeolian mode, basically A minor but without the G#. It's simply harmonized with minor dominants instead of major dominants.


I never heard of a minor dominant! I thought they always had to be major. Minor dominants must not be used very often right?

So wait! In the key of C Major or C minor, a minor dominant would be G minor(the v), right?


I have a question myself...


Lets say you write a piece out with 0 sharps or flats(hold out the conclusion of C Major for a sec). Can you base the piece on the Dorian mode(the D minor)of C Major to make the piece in D minor instead of basing the piece on the relative minor of F Major?

So to clarify, even if the piece is written with with 0 sharps or flats, can you say that we are in D minor if we are basing most of the work on the D minor chord, which is the second mode in the key of C Major?

We could just add secondary dominants that lead to the D minor chord to make the tonicization stronger, so our ears wouldn't be tricked into thinking that the piece is in C Major.

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#1243995 - 08/05/09 12:07 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Claude56]
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Yes, Kreisler means a minor chord in the dominant position ("v" if you like). A chord in this position would normally be major or a 7th chord in tonal music.

As to your 2nd question: The key signature simply indicates which notes are either sharp or flat in the body of a piece of music. That's it. Your hypothetical piece would only be in D Dorian if it sounded like D Dorian. It should be obvious but I'll remind you that tonicizing the D would make your piece tonal (you can, however, find pieces of music that incorporate elements of tonality and modality). If you want to write modal music, you need to study modal music. Even Debussy, who used modes in his own way, was well-acquainted in how modes were used in chant.

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#1244025 - 08/05/09 12:49 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Harmosis]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Originally Posted By: Harmosis

As to your 2nd question: The key signature simply indicates which notes are either sharp or flat in the body of a piece of music. That's it. Your hypothetical piece would only be in D Dorian if it sounded like D Dorian. It should be obvious but I'll remind you that tonicizing the D would make your piece tonal (you can, however, find pieces of music that incorporate elements of tonality and modality). If you want to write modal music, you need to study modal music. Even Debussy, who used modes in his own way, was well-acquainted in how modes were used in chant.


So you're saying that I can do D dorian if I wanted to instead of just doing regular C Ionian or A Aeolian?

Would basing a piece of D dorian be an example of modal music? Whats the difference between modal music and tonal music?

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#1244215 - 08/05/09 06:20 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Claude56]
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Quote:
So you're saying that I can do D dorian if I wanted to instead of just doing regular C Ionian or A Aeolian?


Dorian is mode just like Aeolian or Ionian, so yes.


The difference between modal music and tonal music is a long story. But I'll try to give you the short version:

With tonality, you get functional harmony supporting the tonic, e.g., I ii V7 I. There is often chromaticism which, although non-diatonic, still supports the tonic, e.g., I ii V7/V V I, or I ii viiº7 I, etc. Even the melody can include plenty of non-diatonic notes (chromatic approach tones, neighbor tones, passing tones, etc). The music can even emphasize close tonal areas, like V (via tonicization) that still support the tonic. Tonality is not based on a single scale as much is it is based on harmonic (root progressions with proper voice leading) and melodic material that establishes and supports the tonic (regardless of whether this material is diatonic or not). Tonal music always utilizes the leading tone (ti).

Modality emphasizes the melodic aspect and is not dependent on functional harmony (or any harmony, for that matter). There is very little or no chromaticism - the music tends to be strictly diatonic. The melody is mostly conjunct (step-wise), with a modal cadence (step-wise: e.g., D-C, not G-C). Harmonic content tends to be simply parallel lines "colorizing" the melody (you will not see ii V7 I, etc). Because modal music is not dependent on functional harmony, a lot of the time, when there is harmonic content, the music may sound "wandering" until the cadence (it sounds like a chord succession rather than a chord progression). With modality, you do not get the root progressions of functional harmony. You do not get the voice leading of functional harmony. Modal music will have a leading tone only if it is diatonic to the mode.

Now modality is the spring from which tonality came from, so the two are inextricably linked.

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#1244460 - 08/06/09 03:14 AM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Harmosis]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Thanks Kreisler, harmosis, and beet, for your helpful answers! Harmosis, that last post of yours was great in trying to differentiate tonality and modality - it reduced my confusion a lot.
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#1244603 - 08/06/09 10:30 AM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Harmosis]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Originally Posted By: Harmosis
Quote:
So you're saying that I can do D dorian if I wanted to instead of just doing regular C Ionian or A Aeolian?


Dorian is mode just like Aeolian or Ionian, so yes.


The difference between modal music and tonal music is a long story. But I'll try to give you the short version:

With tonality, you get functional harmony supporting the tonic, e.g., I ii V7 I. There is often chromaticism which, although non-diatonic, still supports the tonic, e.g., I ii V7/V V I, or I ii viiº7 I, etc. Even the melody can include plenty of non-diatonic notes (chromatic approach tones, neighbor tones, passing tones, etc). The music can even emphasize close tonal areas, like V (via tonicization) that still support the tonic. Tonality is not based on a single scale as much is it is based on harmonic (root progressions with proper voice leading) and melodic material that establishes and supports the tonic (regardless of whether this material is diatonic or not). Tonal music always utilizes the leading tone (ti).

Modality emphasizes the melodic aspect and is not dependent on functional harmony (or any harmony, for that matter). There is very little or no chromaticism - the music tends to be strictly diatonic. The melody is mostly conjunct (step-wise), with a modal cadence (step-wise: e.g., D-C, not G-C). Harmonic content tends to be simply parallel lines "colorizing" the melody (you will not see ii V7 I, etc). Because modal music is not dependent on functional harmony, a lot of the time, when there is harmonic content, the music may sound "wandering" until the cadence (it sounds like a chord succession rather than a chord progression). With modality, you do not get the root progressions of functional harmony. You do not get the voice leading of functional harmony. Modal music will have a leading tone only if it is diatonic to the mode.

Now modality is the spring from which tonality came from, so the two are inextricably linked.


Lol I haven't checked out that site in a long, long time. Looks like I have to reveiw some things.

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#1244681 - 08/06/09 12:05 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: pianovirus
Thanks Kreisler, harmosis, and beet, for your helpful answers! Harmosis, that last post of yours was great in trying to differentiate tonality and modality - it reduced my confusion a lot.


Mine too! Thanks guys. thumb
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#1244881 - 08/06/09 04:18 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Horowitzian]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5284
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Thanks, Harmosis, for articulating the non-harmony basis of modal music. I play a lot of modal music because I play Irish, American old-time, and other traditional music. I don't play the melody, and I know from experience that it is melody-based and not harmony based, and I know from experience that the backing/accompaniment I use is step-wise, D-C rather than G-C, as you say. But it's really helpful to have it laid out explicitly sometimes, so that it illuminates the experience. Thanks again.'

Cathy
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#1245052 - 08/06/09 08:56 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: jotur]
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
My pleasure smile

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#1245523 - 08/07/09 07:50 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Harmosis]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Harmosis is my favorite internet theoretician!
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1246330 - 08/09/09 05:09 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Kreisler]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Harmosis is my favorite internet theoretician!


And you're my favorite internet moderator!

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#1246397 - 08/09/09 08:16 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Kreisler]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Harmosis is my favorite internet theoretician!
+1
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#1249715 - 08/15/09 10:48 AM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Harmosis]
Ed Palamar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Harmosis
Quote:
So you're saying that I can do D dorian if I wanted to instead of just doing regular C Ionian or A Aeolian?


Dorian is mode just like Aeolian or Ionian, so yes.


The difference between modal music and tonal music is a long story. But I'll try to give you the short version:

With tonality, you get functional harmony supporting the tonic, e.g., I ii V7 I. There is often chromaticism which, although non-diatonic, still supports the tonic, e.g., I ii V7/V V I, or I ii viiº7 I, etc. Even the melody can include plenty of non-diatonic notes (chromatic approach tones, neighbor tones, passing tones, etc). The music can even emphasize close tonal areas, like V (via tonicization) that still support the tonic. Tonality is not based on a single scale as much is it is based on harmonic (root progressions with proper voice leading) and melodic material that establishes and supports the tonic (regardless of whether this material is diatonic or not). Tonal music always utilizes the leading tone (ti).

Modality emphasizes the melodic aspect and is not dependent on functional harmony (or any harmony, for that matter). There is very little or no chromaticism - the music tends to be strictly diatonic. The melody is mostly conjunct (step-wise), with a modal cadence (step-wise: e.g., D-C, not G-C). Harmonic content tends to be simply parallel lines "colorizing" the melody (you will not see ii V7 I, etc). Because modal music is not dependent on functional harmony, a lot of the time, when there is harmonic content, the music may sound "wandering" until the cadence (it sounds like a chord succession rather than a chord progression). With modality, you do not get the root progressions of functional harmony. You do not get the voice leading of functional harmony. Modal music will have a leading tone only if it is diatonic to the mode.

Now modality is the spring from which tonality came from, so the two are inextricably linked.


The 'functional harmony' of which you speak can just as well be found in modality. Determining which method of reckoning as concerns Aeolian, i.e. - "do" minor or "la" minor can also be interpolated to Dorian with the decision remaining "do" Dorian or "re" Dorian. Modality is the ability to move tonal focus within tonality.
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#1255331 - 08/24/09 05:14 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Ed Palamar]
thinkingMusic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Canada
Excellent feedback in this thread!

If I may, I'd like to offer my own observations: first, I believe that modal music does exhibit tonality, and that it often does so via a 'functional harmony', albeit one that is particular to the mode being used. In my experience, this can apply equally to Impressionist - and some early 20th-century - passages as well as to the harmonization of modal melodies, as found in the popular and folk music traditions of Europe and the Americas -- musical traditions in which the patterns of modal functional harmony are most easily observed.

As a brief example, let's look at the dorian mode, which is widely used in what is often (some would say 'inaccurately') called 'Celtic' music, as well as in the folk and popular musical traditions of most of Europe. The chord qualities in dorian, per scale degree, are:

i (minor), ii (minor), III (major), IV (major), v (minor), vi0 (diminished), and VII (major)

As has previously been explained in this thread, the absence of a 'leading tone', coupled with this quite different order of chord qualities, can make for some very ineffective chord progressions and cadences -- IF one insists on using those progressions and cadences that are particular to the major-minor system that formed the basis of common-practice classical music. Rather, musicians and composers use progressions and cadences that are specific to dorian.

Since the only difference between dorian and the (natural) minor scale is in their submediant (sixth) degrees -- the dorian's is 'raised', relative to that of the natural minor -- it is natural that one finds at least some notable presence of that degree in both dorian melody and accompaniment. While dorian's ii, IV and vi0 all contain it, it is the IV that is most most commonly used to convey the 'dorian sound' via that mode's submediant degree.

Since dorian lacks a leading tone, it's v (minor) cannot parallel the use of V (major) that is so crucial to the functional harmony of the major-minor system. Accordingly, the major-minor system's 'authentic cadence' (V - I) cannot be replicated in dorian; instead, dorian music tends to use VII - i and/or v - i. Neither progression is as powerful as the major-minor authentic cadence, but they are effective enough in conveying formal design, and - of course - are far more effective in conveying 'dorian'! Both progressions are used as 'closing' cadences in the traditional tune "Scarborough Fair". Dorian's equivalent of a half cadence ends on either v (minor) or VII; one can find instances of both in "Scarborough Fair" -- eg, III - i - IV - v, and i - III - (III-VII-III-) VII.

Since seven different modes are available for any given key signature, it is essential that tonality be firmly established, and easily perceived -- otherwise, any given passage can seem to belong to any -- or none -- of the available modes. For this, the same basic techniques are used in modal music as in major-minor music: the tonic degree must figure prominently in melody, as should other mode- and tonic-defining degrees (eg, the dominant in major-minor, the supertonic and subtonic in phrygian, etc, etc); consecutive, step-wise motion (in the same direction) should be used to create melodic direction - direction that should be used to enhance the sense of tonality; harmony, that is appropriate to the mode, should be used in ways that support these melodic characteristics; and so on. . .

Because each mode has its own, specific structure, each also possesses its particular melodic and harmonic features, and what works in one mode may not work well in another. The solution: try to find - and then study - relatively straight-forward examples of music for each mode; dorian, aeolian, and mixolydian are ubiquitous in western European (and, by extension, N. American) folk traditions, while phrygian -- and maybe some lydian --can be found in some Mediterranean cultures. Locrian is another story!

As eloquently stated in this thread, Impressionist and early twentieth-century composers went way beyond this basic type of harmonic treatment of modes, using, among others, techniques sometimes described as "organum" (eg, Debussy), parallel chords (that quickly transcend key), and all types of chromatic inflections that often make modal identification difficult. However, I believe that one can find, even there, deliberately-established tonality, and functional harmony; from one perspective, one could argue that these composers brought to modal passages the same sophisticated compositional techniques they routinely applied to the major-minor system.

For someone -- say, a songwriter -- who wishes to experiment with modes, I would recommend first analysing some of the hundreds of modal folk and popular tunes that are so readily available -- look at their melodic constructions, their chord progressions and cadences. These are, for the most part, simple constructions, and relatively easy to analyse. Once you have these basic models firmly established, take a look at what the Impressionist composers (and some of their predecessors) did with them; as has been pointed out in this thread, mode use, in those compositions, will be less obvious, and often quite transient (eg, Ravel's Ma Mere L'oye, fifth movement, begins in C major, moves to A dorian, back to C major, then into E phrygian - with one chromatic inflection in the melody, - then into C# phrygian, G# phrygian, etc.) Of course, it'll be very helpful if, prior to this, you also have a good grounding in common-practice harmony!

Finally, it should be noted that jazz musicians use modes in an entirely different way: for them, modes are not the basis for composition, but notes to be used against any particular chord -- in short, a kind of memory aid for the intense, and highly sophisticated, melodic and rhythmic work that goes into jazz improvisation.

I hope this is of some use.

All the best,
Michael Leibson
www.thinkingmusic.ca





Edited by thinkingMusic (08/24/09 09:48 PM)

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#1255398 - 08/24/09 07:03 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: thinkingMusic]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Originally Posted By: thinkingMusic
Excellent feedback in this thread!

If I may, I'd like to offer my own observations: first, I believe that modal music does exhibit tonality, and that it often does so via a 'functional harmony', albeit one that is particular to the mode being used. In my experience, this can apply equally to Impressionist - and some early 20th-century - passages as well as to the harmonization of modal melodies, as found in the popular and folk music traditions of Europe and the Americas -- musical traditions in which the patterns of modal functional harmony are most easily observed. For example:

Dorian mode:


Now that is one terse example, thinkingMusic! wink Don't overestimate our intellectual capacities!! laugh
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#1255413 - 08/24/09 07:30 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
thinkingMusic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: pianovirus
Now that is one terse example, thinkingMusic! wink Don't overestimate our intellectual capacities!! laugh


Sorry, pianovirus!! blush As I hope is now visible, I was in mid-sentence when some random key-combination on my computer keyboard turned out to be a shortcut for "Submit", and voila!! I've been busy editing/completing the one that got away, and have just posted what I'd originally intended. wink

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#1255432 - 08/24/09 07:59 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: thinkingMusic]
thinkingMusic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Canada
P.S.

I should clarify an important point: in my own reply, I've used the terms "modal music" to mean modal passages and tunes as used by Impressionist and early twentieth-century composers, as well its use in the folk and popular music traditions of Europe and N. America.

If he'll forgive my attempt to paraphrase him, Harmosis rightly speaks of "modal music" and "modality" in terms of that music's original form -- the music of medieval plainchant, and, by extension, it's use in late medieval and early renaissance polyphony.

- Michael Leibson



Edited by thinkingMusic (08/24/09 09:46 PM)

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#1255677 - 08/25/09 08:27 AM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: thinkingMusic]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Michael, that was great explanation that really expanded on what was already available in this thread! Thanks so much. I just saw you are offering long-distance composition lessons - I may inquire later this year! (until end of October, I'm 100% busy with preparing my first recital)
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#1255770 - 08/25/09 11:26 AM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: pianovirus]
thinkingMusic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: pianovirus
Michael, that was great explanation that really expanded on what was already available in this thread! Thanks so much.


Thanks for your kinds words -- I'm very glad my post was of help! While there are some wonderful texts on the original use of modes (culminating in Knud Jeppesen's The Style of Palestrina and the Dissonance, which deals with late renaissance polyphony), I've found only a few that explain their use in 19th and 20th century classical composition, and none that do so (in any systematic way) in relation to folk/popular music. Of the former, The Diatonic Modes In Modern Music, by John Vincent (University of California Press, 1951) seems quite thorough, with extensive examples of the use of modes (and their harmonizations) in classical, romantic, Impressionist, and 20th-century repertoire.

Quote:
I just saw you are offering long-distance composition lessons - I may inquire later this year! (until end of October, I'm 100% busy with preparing my first recital)

Your first recital -- what an exciting adventure! Here's wishing you a wonderful and complete preparation, and, of course, a most successful performance!

Yes, I do teach via long-distance. Rather than go off-topic, though, I've just sent you a Private Message -- at least, I hope that's what I did (it seems to be formatted as a private, or 'limited' post) -- if you can't find it, please let me know, via michael@thinkingmusic.ca. smile



All the best,
Michael
www.thinkingmusic.ca

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#1255808 - 08/25/09 12:36 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: thinkingMusic]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Do you think learning the modes and diatonic CHORDS of the harmonic MAJOR is important?


I also believe that pianists should not learn their modal scales by reference from the tonic mode, but instead learning them seperate, because if I asked you to play the C Major scale, you would be able to play it instantly and wouldn't have to think about it, nor would you reference it to some other scale...
All scales should be the same way.

If I asked you to play all lydian #2 (which comes from harmonic minor) scales in all keys, I bet you couldn't do that without referencing the tonic mode(harmonic minor). You can do that with all the Major, natural minor, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales, but can you do that with other scales?


Edited by noSkillz (08/25/09 12:51 PM)

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#1255888 - 08/25/09 02:38 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: Claude56]
thinkingMusic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: noSkillz
Do you think learning the modes and diatonic CHORDS of the harmonic MAJOR is important?


Hi, noSkillz;

To be honest, I've rarely given the harmonic major scale much thought.

Although this may seem like an overly simplified answer, to me it all comes down to simply knowing one's materials -- and those will differ, according to one's pursuit. A jazz musician must know all transpositions of all currently-used scales/modes instantly -- ie, without having to deduce them anew each time; a composer's interest might lie more in learning the myriad properties and potentials of scales/modes (or other systems) he or she chooses to employ.

As to how best to learn one's modes, perhaps I should leave any comments to the dedicated performers in this forum, as I'm primarily oriented towards composition and analysis.

All the best,
Michael
www.thinkingmusic.ca

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#1255908 - 08/25/09 03:17 PM Re: Confused about modes vs. harmony [Re: thinkingMusic]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
Originally Posted By: thinkingMusic
Originally Posted By: noSkillz
Do you think learning the modes and diatonic CHORDS of the harmonic MAJOR is important?


Hi, noSkillz;

To be honest, I've rarely given the harmonic major scale much thought.

Although this may seem like an overly simplified answer, to me it all comes down to simply knowing one's materials -- and those will differ, according to one's pursuit. A jazz musician must know all transpositions of all currently-used scales/modes instantly -- ie, without having to deduce them anew each time; a composer's interest might lie more in learning the myriad properties and potentials of scales/modes (or other systems) he or she chooses to employ.

As to how best to learn one's modes, perhaps I should leave any comments to the dedicated performers in this forum, as I'm primarily oriented towards composition and analysis.

All the best,
Michael
www.thinkingmusic.ca









In the first 2 or so bars of Debussy's Clair De Lune (which is in Db Major or C# Major I think), it goes from I to iv, and the chords imply the phrygian b4 or the lydian minor scales, since he goes from Db and F to a C and Eb in the right hand. The C implies the lydian mode and the Gbmin6(iv) implies the minor, so if you put those together, you get a lydian minor.

This is an example where the lydian minor is really useful.

Check out the harmonies of the Chopin's Etudes = so hard harmonically.









Edited by noSkillz (08/25/09 03:21 PM)

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