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Author Topic: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale  (Read 15384 times)

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Chris Ryall

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The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« on: September 23, 2010, 09:24:04 AM »

I've knocked up a web page looking at the modes of the D scale on a D/G in particular

   http://chrisryall.net/modes

Please let me know of any bugs. The demo midis seem to work on my trusty Firefox browser, but MSIE8 objects to them  Chris
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summerstars

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 10:04:46 AM »

Chris, thanks for that,  I must admit however that most of it goes right over my head and I can't follow your logic (mainly because of a lack of basic knowledge I hope)

Would it be possible to demonstrate these modes with a well known tune?


(amended to correct spelling/typo errors)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 10:09:10 AM by summerstars »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 10:07:39 AM »

An excellent start, Chris. Well done! All the midi examples work for me (using Safari and Firefox).
I suggest the following:
1. Go through the text carefully - there are a few typos and errors. I can help with this if you want.
2. If possible can you include midi (or other) sound files of the chords which you mention, so we can hear for example what Gmaj7,#11 actually sounds like?
3. Once that's done, it is definitely worth adding to the 'Articles' section of the main melodeon.net website, or else include a link to your web page. As Content Manager, I can do this, or else one of the other Admins, Clive or Theo could do it too.
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HallelujahAl

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 10:13:11 AM »

Works ok on AOL (which actually runs a version of MSIE I think) for me. Anyway - very interesting and a nice approach to what is a rather difficult subject to get a handle on. As Steve says I'd certainly appreciate some of those chord demonstrations? And it would be really good put up here in this place somewhere?
Regards
AL
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Theo

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 10:14:00 AM »


3. Once that's done, it is definitely worth adding to the 'Articles' section of the main melodeon.net website, or else include a link to your web page.

A link would be preferable since what Chris has is already a published web page.  A good principle of data management is to only have one working copy, then there is only one place to make updates.  Duplicate the data and sooner or later you will have inconsistencies.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 10:16:45 AM »


3. Once that's done, it is definitely worth adding to the 'Articles' section of the main melodeon.net website, or else include a link to your web page.

A link would be preferable since what Chris has is already a published web page.  A good principle of data management is to only have one working copy, then there is only one place to make updates.  Duplicate the data and sooner or later you will have inconsistencies.
Yes - good points Theo. Agreed.
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Anahata

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 10:26:17 AM »

Excellent work. It needs examples of actual tunes that use the modes, perhaps - that would demonstrate far better what they are about and complement the theory.

Nit-picking on first glance:
Under Mixolydian:
Quote
We are back into folk music here with much French, American and Blues music based on myxolydian scales.
Don't forget it's used a lot in trad British song too.

Locrian doesn't have an 'h' in it.

Some Balkan music is on scales that don't map to any starting point on a Major scale, but I expect you knew that  ;)
(not to mention scales that don't map onto conventional semitones - even Sweden has them, as well as the middle and further east...)
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Rees

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 11:09:07 AM »

Excellent project, Chris. I look forward to further developments.
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Rees

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2010, 11:10:36 AM »

1. Go through the text carefully - there are a few typos and errors. I can help with this if you want.


He's a doctor - we're lucky it's not in Latin!  ;)
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brianread

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 11:18:39 AM »

The demo midis seem to work on my trusty Firefox browser, but MSIE8 objects to them  Chris

And they do not work in Firefox under ubuntu  :(

However very interesting (and challenging) stuff.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 11:23:23 AM »

Quote
He's a doctor - we're lucky it's not in Latin!   
 

Or worse still, handwritten!

But actually, Chris, it's very interesting stuff - a lot of work went into that, obviously.  How do you know about it all - as a jazz musician yourself, or from serious study, or as a result of more formal training?
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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 12:14:57 PM »

The demo midis seem to work on my trusty Firefox browser
Nice text, but also on my Kubuntu/Firefox the midi's don't play. I think I'd need to install a separate midi player. Usually mp3 ogg files work better. Another problem is that my Firefox only displays the bottom half of the midi player. A few tiny typo's (e.g. Lochrian), but it's a very nice summary of modes.
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seinegydd

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 05:02:26 PM »

Aeolian, not "Aolian", throughout.
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Stiamh

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 06:42:40 PM »

Chris, one commentator said that most of what you say went straight over his head. If it did, then I think you need to go back to the drawing board - that is, if your aim is to give people a foothold on this whole question. I'd think one way of making the modes much easier to grasp would be to provide examples of tunes in the various modes, scores and midi.

On the subject of mixolydian in the British tradition, there are not just songs, but shedloads of Highland pipe tunes in this mode.

Others have brought up the issue of spelling. I'd add that while it's fun to toss foreign words around, the effect is spoiled if you misspell them.

"ennui" is an English word as well as a French one, so the italics are superfluous. In both languages it has a double n, and in neither does it mean what you presumably mean, i.e. annoyance or frustration.

Maestro, not miestro.

Sandy

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 10:20:59 PM »

Aeolian, not "Aolian", throughout.

...and I thought it was a garlic mayo  (:)

Thank you Chris. It is very interesting, I want to read through it a few times and understand it.  I think I've got a slight grasp just from the first time through.  :Ph

You might have started a New Modal Army !  :|||: :||: :|||: :||:

Cheers
Sandy
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2010, 08:14:02 AM »

Aeolian, not "Aolian", throughout.

Thanks to all for their comments (and the Cromwellesque pun that made me smile)! Thought I'd found most of the typos but as I code in a text editor there's no spell check. "Lochrian" is actually quite common - albeit wrong historically. Can seinegydd or someone please advise whether χ or κ was used in the original Greek. And how about "Æolian" ?

The Latin jibe has a story ..
<school>
  You have to choose between Biology or Latin
  We advise Latin, in case you ever want to study medicine
  ... OK
</school>
<uni>
  Actually did biochemistry
</uni>
<did some real work!! (nobody's perfect) />
<medschool>
  You need A level chemistry and O level biology
  Hmm, not what school said, er, is a degree in Biochem OK?
    .. and I've got Latin - grade three!  ;D
  You need O level biology ..

.. took them a minute of Senate to square that one!!  The rest is history (as is Latin nowadays)

Much to do!

PS Phrygian major is a mode of harmonic minor, 'tonal' and might come in phase 2b. Yes it's very important all over music, but when I went to Turkey I was amazed at how much simple phrygian was around in cafes, TV pop etc. Part tone scales don't map to any of this and techically are also 'tonal' (says Pignol)  I spent my week before Turkey in neighbouring Georgia and was gobsmacked  - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILPMQuGd3fI Tblisi's prof of Polyphony kindly took Dolly and I along to a 'classical' concert.  One (orchestral) piece there was in Locrian!
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 08:29:04 AM by Chris Ryall »
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jb

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2010, 09:01:57 AM »

"Lochrian" is actually quite common - albeit wrong historically. Can seinegydd or someone please advise whether χ or κ was used in the original Greek.

Seems to be the latter.
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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2010, 01:01:24 PM »

When you play Scottish tunes is it spelled "Lochrian"?

Sorry -- added nothing
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2010, 01:03:06 PM »

An interesting page, it must have taken a lot of work, thanks Chris.

I do wonder about overanalysing as you mention. I doubt that many folk musicians have worried overmuch about the modes of medieval church music (yes, a deliberate oversimplification). I've also sometimes wondered about the modal analysis of song tunes made by collectors such as Cecil Sharp; come on a different day, choose a different singer, and lo a different mode.

Having said that, knowledge is a good thing, even if it only gets as far as explaining which button to start working from for different modes.

Erm, there is one other thing and I only mention it here since it was a comment directly aimed at certain users of the page;

"CSS     
'' Style sheet control has failed. Pages on this site should still be readable, but layout may be spoiled. Your browser may
be out of date, or style sheets disabled !!"

CSS is supposed to be used, ignored, substituted or adapted in whichever way the end user wishes. That's the point of it. If semantic or navigation information is only being given through the CSS then you've made a mistake.

I generally browse using emacs-w3m (the w3m text browser integrated into GNU Emacs) and your web page works perfectly without the style sheet ... not surprisingly since you properly separate the content and styling.

Stiamh

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Re: The 'modes' of the diatonic scale
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2010, 03:16:01 PM »

"CSS     
'' Style sheet control has failed. Pages on this site should still be readable, but layout may be spoiled. Your browser may
be out of date, or style sheets disabled !!"

Andrew, I got that error message in Opera, but only after I had chosen the "user's style" option, overriding the "author's style". I did this because the page wasn't very inviting to read as it first loaded. When I unchecked that option, the message disappeared. Maybe your browser is doing something similar?
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