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Discussions => Tunes => Topic started by: Gena Crisman on March 09, 2019, 11:15:15 PM

Title: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 09, 2019, 11:15:15 PM
Know what I think is pretty cool? Modes!

We've had threads about modes before, but, I'd like this one to be a bit different? Rather than finding music written, especially for other instruments, and interpret / work out / talk about what mode it is, I'd like a more practical thread! One about choosing to write some music in modes that are playable on our/your/someone's instrument, and seeing if doing that can teach us anything interesting about how we can play our melodeons.

Disclaimer: This is an exercise that is likely best enjoyed by people who like to compose, and/or, are prepared to cross row to find pleasing chord accompaniments. If you're like 'oh boy, playing my DG in B minor for this month's Tune of the Month was so cool' then this could be just the kind of fun you're looking for!

Crumbs! I sure want to talk about modes now!

Now, believe you me, I could write several very large, long posts about modes and playing them on the Melodeon. Suffice it to say, if you're not sure what a mode is, basically, take a scale, for example, the G major scale, and instead of the note G and the chord G being "Home", you pick a different note and use the diatonic chord related to it, so, for example A, and the A minor chord, and then you kinda just... see what happens. If you were to do that, you'd get A Dorian. However, you can start from any of the notes, and you get a different progression which will all foster tunes with different feels from one another. We sort of already do this: When DG players play in E natural minor, we use exactly the same notes as we do for G major, E F# G A B C D E, we just start and stop on E instead. Notice though, we kind of play the Em tune mostly on the D row. The take away is that, while you'll use the notes of a major scale, in the name of fluency of playing and accompaniment, the way you play the tune will most likely not just follow a single row.

Modes generally have names, depending on which note and which scale they use. You've probably heard of Dorian and Mixolydian already. What seems to be being called 'Natural Minor' is also known as the Aeolian mode, and the major scale itself can be called Ionian. There are a few other modes of the major scale though; notably Phrygian and Lydian, but also Locrian. A whole tune in Locrian probably isn't viable for a variety of reasons.

Taking the show on the mode!

So I decided, ok: just pick a mode, and have a go. I've been on an adventure of writing simple little tunes to explore what it's like to play in modes. I have a couple of Phrygian tunes to share with you, to show what it can be like to play those. The Phrygian mode is built from the 3rd Scale degree, so whatever the 3rd note of your major scale is, you'd start there.

If you happen to be a DG player, we know we must therefore have all the notes we need to play in B phrygian on the G row, and F# Phrygian on the D row. Generally, the best chords to use when playing a mode are the ones that highlight what is 'special' about the mode compared to more common scales. Phrygian is 'a bit like' natural minor - the main difference is that the 2nd note of the scale is flattened so, for B phrygian, instead of the C# of B natural minor, we use a C natural. Thus, the best chords are obviously going to be the tonic chord, i (B minor), and chords that will include that C note - A minor (vii) and C major (II). Other chords work too, but, by generally choosing these chords, we really will make the tune feel different to B minor.

If one had a 12 bass, you might also be able to try F# Phrygian. But, I don't! So, B phrygian is my only real choice, and I'm cool with that. In that case I'd want to underpin the melody with F# minor, E minor, and G major.

I'll make a 2nd post with a couple of tunes which I wrote in this mode!

OK so that's nice, why is this a thread again?

Dear reader! I would like to invite you, one and all, to turn your creative juices towards the possibility of writing some fun / silly / simple / any tunes in a mode of your choosing, to expand the selection that exists in the folk world. They don't need to exude creative talent, your tune will be special simply because it exists!

Honestly the most useful and encouraging piece of content I have found in terms of making me think 'oh yeah I could do that' are this series of videos (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTR7Cy9Sv285kV3pohsMtUg_O_50oDyoR) from a channel called Signals Music Studio. Sure, it's for guitars, so much content on youtube is. But, I've found them very, very, helpful and informative! This, specifically, is his video on the Phrygian mode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnoKgWnMEq8&list=PLTR7Cy9Sv285kV3pohsMtUg_O_50oDyoR&index=10&t=0s).
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 09, 2019, 11:16:30 PM
Day For Night (B Phrygian) 3/4 Waltz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L68WtHT5HEk

For this tune, I stuck with solely the B minor, A minor, C major trio.

The name comes from a film making term where you shoot footage during the day and attempt to later darken it to make it look like night time, often due the budgetary & technology constraints of getting good footage in the dark. So, trying to spooky, but, really just ends up being a bit weird.

Code: [Select]
X:3
T:Day For Night
C:Gena Crisman 29/11/18
%%titlefont Consolas, 22
%%subtitlefont Consolas, 16
%%partsfont Consolas, 20
%%partsbox
%%gchordfont Consolas, 18
%%MIDI program 21 % Accordion
%%MIDI chordprog 1 % Piano
M:3/4
L:1/8
P:ABAB
K:BPhrygian
% Useful chords are scale degree i II vii
% These are: Bm C major A minor
% So we have a small probelm: ABC2Midi puts C as the start of the accompaniment
% Where as on the melodeon, the 3 chords are all adjacent
% This is a vital element, so, uh, yeah:
% this is the hack I have done to make that work, the chord progression needs to be
% written out in full:
%%MIDI chordname hi 12 16 19
P:A
%%MIDI gchordbars 8
%%MIDI gchord fccfccfccfccfccGccfccfcc
"Bm" B4F2 | "Bm" .B2 BA GF | "Am" .E2 EF G2 | "Bm" F4-F D|
"Bm" F4DF | "Chi" G2c2G2 | "Bm" F2 D2 F2 | "Am" E4-E A :|
P:B
%%MIDI gchordbars 8
%%MIDI gchord fccGccfccfccfccGccGccfcc
"Bm" [B]2 FB df | "Chi" g2 gf eg | "Bm" f2de fg| "Am" e2 cd ec |
"Bm" f2 fe d2 | "Chi" ce g2 fe | "Chi" .c2 "b"cB "a" Ac | "Bm" B6 :|



The Clam Lady (B Phrygian) 6/8 Jig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Dq24jokS8

I got a bit more adventurous since I felt like I knew how the tune 'ought' to feel, and could tell if I was detracting from that with my chord choices. I also decided to sneak in a C# towards the end, but I did also rewrite the last line of music 3 times, as you can see in the ABC.

In principal, this tune is a companion to the well known and rather jolly tune 'Oyster Girl', often played in G major here in the UK. I like to think that the Clam Lady is the Oyster Girl's weird aunt. Much like Oyster Girl, there is actually also a 3rd part to this tune, but, so far as I know, nobody plays it!

Code: [Select]
X:11
T:The Clam Lady
C:Gena Crisman 02/02/2018
%%titlefont Consolas, 22
%%subtitlefont Consolas, 16
%%partsfont Consolas, 20
%%partsbox
%%gchordfont Consolas, 18
%%MIDI program 21 % Accordion
%%MIDI chordprog 1 % Piano
M:6/8
Q:3/8=100
P:ABAB
L:1/8
K:BPhrygian
P:A
"Bm"B2B BcB|"Am"AGE E3|"G"G2F "C"EGc|"Bm"B3 F3|
"Bm"B2B BcB|"Am"c2e c3|"Em"e2g "Am"edc|"Bm"B3 B3:|
P:B
"Bm"fgf d2B|"Am"c2c "D"A3|"Em"BAB "C"G2c|"Bm"B3 F3|
%"Bm"Bcd "D"def |"G"g2a "C"g2f|"Bm"b2a fed |"Bm" B6 :|
%"Bm"B2F "D"DFA |"G"B2d "C"c2G |"Bm"FEF d^c=c |"Bm" B3 B3 :|
"Bm"B2F "Em"G2E |"D"FDF "C"E2G|"Bm"FEF d^c=c |"Bm" B3 B3 :|

editing to add:
OK, you've convinced me, any tips on writing a tune?

The first step I take when writing tunes like this - simple tunes that follow some rules - I start with a chord progression. I either try to get a feel for what type of tune I want to make, perhaps I'm feeling like a Jig, or maybe a Hornpipe? If I have no inclination, just... pick one! You can always write another tune tomorrow.

Then, it can be as simple as playing eg the tonic chord (or not, as pointed out below!), and picking a chord you like the sound of to go after it. And then one to go after that. Or, you can decide how you want to start, and where you want to end up, and then slowly work from either end to figure out your route by finding chords that sound good to move from/to. If you stick to 8 bar repeats, then that gives you a structure to follow. Sometime, though, I pick something to start on because I don't really know what to do with it, and then try to figure out what to do!

If you can figure out a chord progression, or even a partial one, then you can start working on writing a melody over those chords. If you're playing a fourth apart box, figure out what the matching right hand side chord is to go with your left hand side chord, and then aim to be playing some of those notes as your melody, especially on the beats. You can use that to build out a basic structure for your melody. For example if you have two bars of Bm chords in a row, you could start one bar on B, and start the next bar on F#, and figure out some sequence of notes that you like to get you from one to the other later. Then if the chord shifts to Am, maybe play a note in that chord that is close to where you finished the last bar, so perhaps an E? You get to decide!

Try to write melody notes that will coincide with what you know your instrument can play on the beats you'll play the basses. Otherwise, just noodle around! I find rules like "Only Use Bm Am and C" useful because I didn't know what a Phrygian tune sounded like, but, these are not real rules - you can do whatever. You can certainly keep a tune with only a few chords interesting - if you write a chord progression and you're feeling like 'oh this is dull', it livens up a lot when you have a tune on top. But, I'd say one thing to try to encourage you to do is to play around with the melody's rhythm from the get go - try not to just play on the beat every bar, or keep the same rhythm bar to bar.

I actually mostly compose in ABC, so, I can't actually play several of the tunes I've written. As I learn them/play a new mode, I'll try to post here any thoughts or observations about how to play in them.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on March 09, 2019, 11:53:06 PM
Plenty of food for thought. One comment I would make is that there's no reason why the tune has to start with the tonic, or even the associated chord. They do resolve on it, but not always at the end of the tune.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Steve_freereeder on March 10, 2019, 02:38:42 AM
Plenty of food for thought. One comment I would make is that there's no reason why the tune has to start with the tonic, or even the associated chord. They do resolve on it, but not always at the end of the tune.
Beethoven started his first symphony with a dominant chord, resolving to the tonic. Very daring for its time. The story goes that at its first performance it nearly caused a riot.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Winston Smith on March 10, 2019, 07:48:06 AM
Gena, this seems to have really gotten under your skin. Your excitement comes across very plainly, and is infectious! Good luck with your efforts and be sure to enjoy the journey.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Bob Ellis on March 12, 2019, 01:11:15 PM
Gina, I share your enthusiasm for modal tunes and like the tunes you posted. If variety is the spice of life, then modal tunes are the Carolina Reaper chilli peppers of melodeon life!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a tune in what for me is a typical way of doing so. I sat down at the computer to do something else (prepare a melodeon workshop) and phrases of a new tune started clamouring for my attention like a hyperactive child. Having given it its head, a tune appeared in short order in which the 'A' music is, I think, in A Mixolydian mode and the 'B' music is in Em Dorian mode. It is named in honour Billy 'Razop' Bolton, a poor, itinerant knife and scissors grinder, who also played the fiddle and the uilleann pipes. Despite being so poor, he has one of the most impressive headstones in Burnsall churchyard, on which the inscription reads: “In Memory of William Bolton, the Dales Minstrel, who died September 1st 1881, aged 85 years. This tribute of respect was erected by some of the Minstrel’s many friends in the Dales of North, East and West Yorkshire.”

I have attached both ABC and PDF versions, partly because my writing of ABC notation leaves something to be desired. My notation of bass lines is different from that of many other people: I use lower case letters for bass fundamentals, upper case letters for bass chords and the two together for block chords. The bass line doesn't play in Midi the way that I wrote it, but I don't have the time to try to work out how to make it play the way I want it to. I hope you like the tune.

X:1
T:The Dales Minstrel
M:4/4
L:1/8
C:Bob Ellis
R:reel
K:AMix
P:A
"d"f z"D"f"c"g2f"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"AF"D"Ad | "d"fz "D"f"b"g2f"Em"ed | "a"ed"A"cB"Bm7"A2de |
"d"f z"D"f"c"g2f"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"Ac"D"de | "d"f"      D"d2f"b_____"g3f | "e"ed"Em"cB"aA___"A2ce :|
K:EDor
P:B
|:"d"fz "D"fa"cC____"g3f | "e"e2"Em"B2"a"cA"A"ce | "d"fe"D"fa"cC____"g3f | "e"e"     Em"B2d"aA"c3e |
"d"f z"D"fa"cC____"g3f | "e"ed"Em"cB "a"cA"A"ce | "d"f z"D"fa"cC"g2"dD"f2 | "eEm"eB2g"eEm"e4 :|
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 12, 2019, 10:27:57 PM
My notation of bass lines is different from that of many other people: I use lower case letters for bass fundamentals, upper case letters for bass chords and the two together for block chords. The bass line doesn't play in Midi the way that I wrote it, but I don't have the time to try to work out how to make it play the way I want it to. I hope you like the tune.

Would this be, approximately, correct? (At least to generate a midi).

Code: [Select]
X:1
T:The Dales Minstrel
M:4/4
L:1/8
C:Bob Ellis
R:reel
K:AMix
P:A
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
"d"f z"D"fg- "c"gf"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"AF"D"Ad | "d"fz "D"fg- "b"gf"Em"ed | "a"ed"A"cB"b"A2"D"de |
"d"f z"D"fg- "c"gf"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"Ac"D"de | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
"d"fd-"D"df "B________"g3f | "e"ed"Em"cB "A___________"A2ce :|
K:EDor
P:B
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
|:"d"fz "D"fa"C______"g3f |\
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
 "e"e2"Em"B2"a"cA"A"ce | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
"d"fe"D"fa"C________"g3f | "e"eB-"Em"Bd"A_________"c3e |
"d"f z"D"fa"C_______"g3f | \
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
"e"ed"Em"cB "a"cA"A"ce | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbb
"d"f z"D"fa"C__"g2"D__"f2 | \
%%MIDI gchord bb
"Em____"eB-Bg"Em____"e4 :|

I generally use lower case for fundamentals, too, since this is actually the needed syntax for abc2midi, so any transcription or more complex piece written by me will have a very similar style. I wish abc2midi had better options that didn't require you to fill your script with, well, what I filled the above with. I still can't believe there's nothing you can put in ""s above the score to stop it playing any chords. It's a bit absurd, frankly.

I often find I write tunes to relax when facing some looming deadline, so, perhaps we share something in that, too!

Gina, I share your enthusiasm for modal tunes and like the tunes you posted. If variety is the spice of life, then modal tunes are the Carolina Reaper chilli peppers of melodeon life!

I must say I particularly enjoyed that turn of phrase. Certainly is an interesting tune, too! The C chord is an addition that just seems to work, and yet; thoroughly out of the scale. I must admit though, I'm not wholly convinced at the home resolutions. I wondered, what I tweaked the last bars to try to make it resolve to different chords:
Code: [Select]
X:1
T:Not The Dales Minstrel
M:4/4
L:1/8
C:Bob Ellis
R:reel
K:AMix
P:A
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
"d"f z"D"fg- "c"gf"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"AF"D"Ad | "d"fz "D"fg- "b"gf"Em"ed | "a"ed"A"cB"b"A2"D"de |
"d"f z"D"fg- "c"gf"C"ed | "a"ed"A"cB "d"Ac"D"de | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
"d"fd-"D"df "B________"g3f | \ %%"e"ed"Em"cB "A___________"A2ce :|
"e"ed"Em"ce "D___________"d4 :|
K:EDor
P:B
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
|:"d"fz "D"fa"C______"g3f |\
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
 "e"e2"Em"B2"a"cA"A"ce | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbz
"d"fe"D"fa"C________"g3f | "e"eB-"Em"Bd"A_________"c3e |
"d"f z"D"fa"C_______"g3f | \
%%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz
"e"ed"Em"cB "a"cA"A"ce | \
%%MIDI gchord fcbb
"d"f z"D"fa"C__"g2"D__"f2 | \
%%MIDI gchord bb
"Em____"eB-Bc"D____"d4 :|

Mixolydian and Dorian are usually pretty stable modes, so, I didn't expect resolving back to D to work too well, but it seems more comfortable than at least the final Em of the B section. Maybe this change would push the needle more to straddling between D Mix & D Ionian, and explain the C chord? Kinda like Banish Misfortune? But oh no! I'm doing that thing I said I didn't want! Aaaa! Sorry! I think I noted some uncertainty in your post, and am just trying to be helpful. I think it demonstrates that the best music always blurs the lines!

Thank you very much for sharing the tune, I think it's really neat! It has a lovely cohesive but relaxed romp to it, and I like the mismatched rhythms between hands, with a note straddling the center of the bar - I'm still pretty terrible at playing those correctly!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: playandteach on March 12, 2019, 11:57:43 PM
Plenty of food for thought. One comment I would make is that there's no reason why the tune has to start with the tonic, or even the associated chord. They do resolve on it, but not always at the end of the tune.
Beethoven started his first symphony with a dominant chord, resolving to the tonic. Very daring for its time. The story goes that at its first performance it nearly caused a riot.
I think the riot was that it was a dominant 7th chord with a tritone exposed at the top. I like tunes that don't have only one home. Like Edward, sorry Winston, we never know if he's in Newcastle or Luxor, or on a journey between the two.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Winston Smith on March 13, 2019, 06:23:02 AM
"or on a journey between the two."

That'll be next Monday. (But I still don't understand most of this thread's content!)
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Bob Ellis on March 15, 2019, 12:03:01 AM
Thanks, Gina, for your kind words about my tune, The Dales Minstrel. Thanks also for your rendition of it into ABC, which is more elegant than my own. There are things I can take away from that to improve my use of ABC.

I see where you are going with your suggested alterations to the final bar of the 'A' and 'B' music, but this changes fundamentally the feel of the tune, taking it away from the Mixolydian and Dorian modality back into something more mainstream Ionian by resolving onto a D note in each case. One of the things I like about modal tunes is that they don't tend to resolve in the way that Ionian tunes do.

The use of C basses against some of the G and E melody notes was also a deliberate attempt to move away from the predictable into something a bit different so that the tune appears to waver between G major and A Mixolydian in the 'A' part and G major and Em Dorian in the 'B' part.

The notes straddling the centre of some bars was an attempt (maybe not very successful) to hint at the sound of uilleann pipe tunes because the uilleann pipes was one one of the instruments played by the Dales Minstrel after whom the tune is named.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on March 15, 2019, 01:22:58 AM
I see where you are going with your suggested alterations to the final bar of the 'A' and 'B' music, but this changes fundamentally the feel of the tune, taking it away from the Mixolydian and Dorian modality back into something more mainstream Ionian by resolving onto a D note in each case. One of the things I like about modal tunes is that they don't tend to resolve in the way that Ionian tunes do.

Oh, no, no; my apologies. It wasn't supposed to be a suggested alteration, it was supposed to be a proof-of-pudding. It's something I do with my own tunes (except lydian!) to check I haven't strayed too far from the feel I was going for - I usually find that trying to resolve to the Ionian tonic chord actually stops working, and I'm not able to brute force my way out of the mode-yness of the tune like that. Your tune here is it seems, based on what you say about the C basses, actually kinda all about riding that line and keeping the listener guessing, and it may just be more vulnerable to that approach as a result.

I just meant it to, I guess, ask a question? To which your comment was the answer! Lovely!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Bob Ellis on March 15, 2019, 11:14:27 AM
Sorry for the misinterpretation. I've re-read your previous post and understand it more clearly now.

Your idea of resolving back onto the tonic to test the modality of the tune is an interesting one and something I had not considered before. I'll try it the next time a new modal tune swims to the surface of my cerebral soup.

By the way, your thread has prompted me to devise a workshop on modal tunes, which I might inflict on the punters at Sidmouth this summer. If so, I'll be sure to blame you!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 02, 2019, 11:01:18 PM
Hooray it's time for more mode posting!

You keep using the word diatonic

Something being Diatonic means that it uses only the notes of a particular scale, or key, without any extras. The note A is diatonic to the key of G major. The note C# is not.

It has nothing to do with being Bisonoric, the whole 'different notes in different directions' thing that our Melodeons et al, are known for. You can be Diatonic and unisonoric, as some squeeze related instruments you may come across are.

When you apply the term Diatonic to a Chord, you are saying that every note in that chord can also be found within the scale in question. A G chord is diatonic with the G major scale, but G minor is not. An A chord, however, is not diatonic, because it would be A C# E - A minor, A C E, is.

And how about all those Roman Numerals instead of Chord names?

Mostly, both for Folk music and fourth apart Melodeon playing, we deal with Diatonic Harmony. As we now know, this means the chords that we accompany ourselves with will generally be built only from notes that exist in the scale that we're playing in.

The world of music theory, however, aims to find commonalities across many types of music and help describe how and why they work. As a result, a common way to indicate a chord you want to talk about is to use a roman numeral that, instead of the actual note it's built from, indicates the scale degree of that note relative to the scale you're playing in. A chord that is described as eg IV would build from the 4th note of the scale, regardless of the scale you're talking about.

These numerals can be taken to some pretty extreme & spicy places, and you can attach a lot of information to them. We're best served by taking note of only a few of these things, to get started with. Firstly, the case of the numeral is important - An upper case V would mean a major chord built from the 5th note of the scale, and a lower case v would mean the minor chord built from 5th note. Depending on our scale, most likely one of V or v will be non diatonic - the root note of these chords is by definition within the scale, but as we saw with A major, it's third or fifth note may fall outside, so, some caution is advised.

In any case, numerals are a shortcut to talking transferably about how a chord might 'work' within a given scale. This information should stay true regardless of where you transpose that same scale. However, the function of a chord is not as relatable when you change to a different scale. The V in G major should work just like the V in Bb Major, however, the V of A minor may not. Further reading I guess: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numeral_analysis

How can any of that help me?

You've heard of the 3 chord trick, most likely. In the key of G major, one sharp, the scale is G A B C D E F#, and we can mostly use the chords G major, C major & D major. In D major, two sharps, we can mostly use the 3 chord trick of D major, G major & A major. We can in fact say that for any major scale, we can use its I, the IV, and the V chord, and we can expect those chords to support our melody in the same ways:

Code: [Select]
1   2   3   4   5   6   7
G   A   B   C   D   E   F#
D   E   F#  G   A   B   C#
I           IV  V

Another way to think of this though is that, I, IV and V are the most characterful chords of the major scale, or Ionian mode. When we play in other modes, that I IV V combo doesn't work, and probably won't even be diatonic any more. Other chords will work, and generally they will highlight the most interesting intervals within the mode, and that information will translate to other instances of that same mode (so A dorian and E dorian will share common traits).

The 7 note major scale is made of 3 major, 3 minor, and 1 diminished chord - the diminished chord being built from the 7th note (eg C major scale has B diminished). Since the modes of the major scale are just rotating the order of the notes, they also rotate the order of those chords. Since the diminished chord is very hard to work with, almost every tune will treat this as a landmine that must be avoided. But, we can use this fact to our benefit: in any given mode, the landmine is moved somewhere else, so, we can harmonise right on the point where it might have been expected, in order to really stand out.

For major/minor truthists, it's possible to think of most modes as being 'like' the major scale, or 'like' the minor scale, but, with a single note sharped for flatted - a seemingly arbitrary change. But the note that is changed is also what your ears will generally pick up on and is what makes modes interesting to listen to - they're not actually special, they're just a bit different.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 02, 2019, 11:03:34 PM
Time to re-enter the Mode Zone! Dorian tunes!

The Dorian mode is the 2nd mode of the major scale, and is naturally based upon the 2nd note. On an 8 bass DG melodeon, you have good coverage for both E dorian and A dorian.

Code: [Select]
1   2   3   4   5   6   7
A   B   C   D   E   F#  G
E   F#  G   A   B   C#  D
i   ii  III IV  v   dim VII
(fixed ty Alan!)

Dorian is already a popular mode in folk music, and you probably know a few dorian tunes. You could describe it as: like Natural Minor, but, with a raised/sharp/major 6th scale degree. This alteration gives us the IV chord, a major 4th chord, and this injects a little ray of light or optimism into the scale. It also includes the ii chord, a minor 2nd chrod, and moves the diminished chord from there, up to vio.

Character chords: i, ii and IV
Viable chords: III, v and VII

Notes: One of our character chords, IV, is the dominant/leading chord to VII (eg, in A dorian, D major is the dominant chord to resolve to G major). As a result, when writing a tune, you may discover that it doesn't want to resolve to I any more, but, does want to resolve to the VII. Dorian is fairly stable, but, you can push yourself out of it by accident, and back into the associated Ionian mode. In that circumstance, I try to find a way to a) disrupt whichever part of the tune I feel is building tension that wants to resolve in that way and b) potentially shift things around so I get 2 bars to end on, and try to reinforce your tonic's position by making use of IV (which includes the 1st scale degree) and iii (which overlaps the upper 3 notes of i7).

DG: My experience with A dorian / Inside row based
Character note
F#
Character chords:
i: A minor (Am7)
ii: B minor (Bm7)
IV: D major
All chords
i: A minor, ii B minor, III: C major, IV: D major, v: E minor, vi: F# dim, VII: G major

So, on the DG, inside row draw notes are A C E F#, so, an A minor arpeggio plus our signature F# note. Our outside row press is D major arpeggios, D F# A. As a result, you can actually rock a pretty straight forward A dorian tune by just playing pull notes on the inside row, and press notes on the outside row, making it fairly balanced to play in, and the chords fairly straight forward just staying on the D/A basses. It wasn't vital to have a third stop to enjoy this mode, but, it did make it a lot easier - technically it strips the F# out of the D major chord but if you play it in your melody, I found it was fine.

I've written a few dorian tunes, but, I'm always quite fond of the idea of a '2 chord' tune - a tune that can survive sticking to only 2 chords. I started writing one in 4/4, and it started sounding like a Cowboy theme tune, so, I just leaned hard into that.

A Hollow Victory (A Dorian, 2 chord, 4/4 cowboy adventure!)

https://youtu.be/COFDKhGaj0A (note: despite saying it's uploaded, youtube is complaining about the video atm so, this may resolve once we're outside of the america video upload primetime bonanza)

Code: [Select]
X:25
T:A Hollow Victory
C:Gena Crisman 15/04/2019
%%titlefont Consolas, 22
%%subtitlefont Consolas, 16
%%partsfont Consolas, 20
%%partsbox
%%gchordfont Consolas, 18
%%MIDI program 21 % Accordion
%%MIDI chordprog 1 % Piano
Q:1/4=150
M:4/4
L:1/8
P:ABAB
K:Adorian
%%MIDI gchord fzccfzcc
P:A
"Am7"e3c A2e2|"D"d2A2 F2A2|"Am7"e3c A2e2|"D"d6f2|
"Am7"e3c A2e2|"D"d2A2 F2A2|"Am7"c2A2 "D"A2G2|"Am7"A8|
"Am7"e2ec A2e2|"D"d2A2-A2d2|"Am7"e3c A2g2|"D"f6d2|
"Am7"e3c A2e2|"D"d2A2 F2A2|"Am7"c2A2 "D"A2G2|"Am7"A8|
P:B
|"Am7"E6 G2 |"D"F6 A2 |"Am7"E6 A,2 |"D"A,6 D2 |
"Am7"E2EE G2 B2 |"D"A2F2 D2F2|"Am7"A3G E2c2|"D"A8|
"Am7"ee-ee g2 f2 |"D"d4A2d2|"Am7"ee-ee c'2b2|"D"a8|
"Am7"gg-gg "D"a2f2|"Am7"ae-ec"D"d2A2|"Am7"e2c2"D"dBG2|"Am"A8|
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Alan Pittwood on June 02, 2019, 11:32:55 PM
Time to re-enter the Mode Zone! Dorian tunes!

The Dorian mode is the 2nd mode of the major scale, and is naturally based upon the 2nd note. On an 8 bass DG melodeon, you have good coverage for both E dorian and A dorian.

Code: [Select]
1   2   3   4   5   6   7
A   B   C   D   E   F#  G
E   F#  G   A   B   C#  D
i   ii  III VI  v   dim VII

the Roman numeral under the 4th column should be IV rather than VI
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Alan Pittwood on June 03, 2019, 08:15:44 PM
Time to re-enter the Mode Zone! Dorian tunes!

I've written a few dorian tunes, but, I'm always quite fond of the idea of a '2 chord' tune - a tune that can survive sticking to only 2 chords. I started writing one in 4/4, and it started sounding like a Cowboy theme tune, so, I just leaned hard into that.
A Hollow Victory (A Dorian, 2 chord, 4/4 cowboy adventure!)

Several useful and interesting elements in this A Dorian illustration: inside row/outside row, '2 chord' tune, use of the basses.

However, there is a danger that older members will hear  "D" "Am7" "D" "Am7" "D" "Am7"  and drift back to 1964. . . .

Life___ goes on day af - ter day___
Hearts___ torn in ev - 'ry way____   
So fer - ry 'cross the Mer - sey 'cause this land's___  the place I love  and here I'll stay.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 04, 2019, 10:10:59 AM
Good luck. I've been into modal music since I read AALloyd in the 70's. Got a certain "ennui""in promoting it here. To save tim, e offered this little web page (egs are for a D row on melodeon)

  http://chrisryall.net/modes

It also looks at "minorness"
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Ellisteph on June 04, 2019, 10:48:45 AM
Good luck. I've been into modal music since I read AALloyd in the 70's. Got a certain "ennui""in promoting it here. To save tim, e offered this little web page (egs are for a D row on melodeon)

  http://chrisryall.net/modes

It also looks at "minorness"
Interesting stuff Chris and a useful addition to Gina's fascinating thread. I have to read each bit several times eventually getting my head around some of it (not fully there yet but worth persevering with).
Kate McGarrigle's YT unavailable for me - shame - played examples help to clarify the theory.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on June 04, 2019, 11:27:44 AM

Kate McGarrigle's YT unavailable for me - shame - played examples help to clarify the theory.

Yes. It's a shame the video seems to have disappeared into the tunnel of youtube oblivion.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: RF Music on June 05, 2019, 11:02:46 AM
Hi Gena,

Love new tunes, especially the B Phrygian ones! I've never actually played anything in B Phrygian, but that's got quite a distinctive and appealing sound to it. By huge coincidence I've just recorded a couple of (mainly) A Dorian tunes - Silkesvalsen and Ongoing Storm (the latter being a sort-of accidental collaboration). I've stuck them up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm3RnV2bGxc I have the pdfs and musescore files if you'd like me to post them.

You've got me thinking about a B Phrygian tune now. I've written something in B minor (I think?) but not Phrygian. Can you give me any advice on that mode please? I'm not very good at music theory or sight reading, so I might ask some blindingly obvious questions...


Cheers,


Andy
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Alan Pittwood on June 05, 2019, 11:15:19 AM
Kate McGarrigle's YT unavailable for me - shame - played examples help to clarify the theory.

Yes, confirmed that the video is unavailable as an account has been closed

Chris
What Kate McGarrigle track was in the video?
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 05, 2019, 05:43:36 PM
My favourite phrygian of all time is  Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. 

But Milleret's Chambe Blue (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Imj8mt4sjm0) runs it close

Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 06, 2019, 12:11:14 AM
You've got me thinking about a B Phrygian tune now. I've written something in B minor (I think?) but not Phrygian. Can you give me any advice on that mode please? I'm not very good at music theory or sight reading, so I might ask some blindingly obvious questions...

I certainly can! On an 8 bass box, like I play, B Phrygian is my only choice for having the bass end involved with a Phrygian tune, but you may have more options on your instrument.

B (natural) minor is:
B C# D E F# G A B
B Phrygian is:
B C D E F# G A B

The 'feeling' of where to find the notes for playing will feel a lot like B minor, excepting that you stay on the inside row for the C natural, rather than always jumping out to the outside row for the C#. This actually doesn't end up making it feel all that different from B minor, since you normally swap all around between the central duplicate push D notes as needed since push B is on one row, push F# is on the other.

If we compare B minor and B Phrygian's diatonic chords:
Code: [Select]
B minor:
Bm  C#d D   Em  F#m G   A   Bm
i   iid III iv  v   VI  VII
B Phrygian
Bm  C   D   Em  F#d G   Am  Bm
i   II  III iv  vd  VI  vii

You can see that C major and A minor are the main places where the chords are different. My advice would be to start by writing a chord structure using only Bm, C and Am. I see your box has a 3rds stop, and I'd honestly suggest you use it if you don't have a true Bm and Am chord, as that will give a greater clarity between the Am and C chord. My boxes seem to have the A bass as its lowest note, so, you get quite a pleasing A<->B<->C movement all next to one another.

Generally, I write tunes in a fairly chord driven manner - I mostly pick the chords I want to play and then figure out a melody over the top. If that strategy works for you, you could shortcut things a bit by using something similar to/parts of the chord pattern from the first tune I posted, Day For Night - it's just a sequence I made up but it feels like it resolves back to Bm:
Code: [Select]
A:
Bm | Bm | Am | Bm |
Bm | C  | Bm | Am |
B:
Bm | C  | Bm | Am |
Bm | C  | Am | Bm |

I figure your 3 row is a C#/D/G based on your signature, may I ask what your bass end set up is? If it includes an F# bass with F# minor, the option of a thirdless F# chord, or an A major chord in the same direction, you should be also able to accompany F# Phrygian too, if that takes your fancy. I'm not sure how that plays though, as it will depend on your bass set up - the C# row may help a lot since F# min is F A C# and you'll have a push C#. For F# Phrygian, your starter chords would be Em F#m G.

Anyway, I felt like, once I had a tune written that I was confident had a distinct sound to it, that I could use the other diatonic chords, D, Em and G, and know how & where to push the tune back to sounding distinct from minor. That's how the other tune I shared came about. I hope this advice is helpful, in some way! If it isn't, if you ever find advice that is helpful, I'm sure it would also be appreciated here!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: RF Music on June 06, 2019, 09:47:11 AM
Hi Gena,

Thanks for that - really appreciate the help. I think that mostly makes sense to me.

I tend to write tunes directly in musescore then learn them on the box, finding out bass chord sequences that give the tune the sort of feel I want. My accordion is C#/D/G with the basses set up as reversals of the main D/G chords - I have A/G and Bm/Em on my spares. It looks like the only chord I am missing for B Phrygian is the F#d (I take it that's F# diatonic chord?). That might limit me a bit, but I will have everything else in both directions so shouldn't be too much of a drawback. Thanks for the help though - I'm going to have a go at writing something in B Phrygian now! Wish me luck!

Andy



Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Anahata on June 06, 2019, 11:55:08 AM
It looks like the only chord I am missing for B Phrygian is the F#d (I take it that's F# diatonic chord?). That might limit me a bit

Hmm... F# chord belongs to other minor modes but has a C♯ that doesn't fit in the B Phrygian scale. So I'm not sure it's a great loss not having one - it would make the scale of the tune more ambiguous.

(Yes, I know Gena slipped in a C♯ in one of those tunes, but only as a passing note...)
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: playandteach on June 06, 2019, 11:56:43 AM
Excuse me for stepping in, but I'm sure that Gena's F#d chord is diminished - F#, A, C natural.
It's like a D7 chord but without the D. There are ways of faking it, including playing an A minor chord over an F#.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Anahata on June 06, 2019, 08:46:49 PM
Yes, of course it is - I wasn't paying enough attention!
Also I'd write it as F#dim, but that's a poor excuse.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 06, 2019, 10:35:52 PM
Yes, of course it is - I wasn't paying enough attention!
Also I'd write it as F#dim, but that's a poor excuse.

Yep, I did indeed mean to imply diminished. Ideally I'd wanted to write iio so I didn't throw off the spacing - I was using code tags for the fixed width spacing, and sadly the superscript isn't supported in the code area. I could probably just written dim on it's own, though really I should probably have done this; iio, which is to say, used the font tags to select a monospace font such as courier, but which will still let me still use superscript to indicate the diminished.

Sorry for the confusion!

My accordion is C#/D/G with the basses set up as reversals of the main D/G chords - I have A/G and Bm/Em on my spares.

Ooh, that sounds nicely versatile! Although, are you saying you have a Bm/Em pair as well as a B/Em you'd normally have on an 8 bass? Either way having a push A to let your air out should be very helpful for these adventures!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: RF Music on June 07, 2019, 09:36:36 AM

My accordion is C#/D/G with the basses set up as reversals of the main D/G chords - I have A/G and Bm/Em on my spares.

Ooh, that sounds nicely versatile! Although, are you saying you have a Bm/Em pair as well as a B/Em you'd normally have on an 8 bass? Either way having a push A to let your air out should be very helpful for these adventures!
[/quote]

Ah yes, I have Em/Bm on pull/push (I had the B tuned down to minor as I find it more useful, even though I mostly play without the 3rds on this accordion) and Bm/Em on pull/push on the extra basses. It makes up for not have the D in both directions on the treble end. If you're ever over in London (I know it's a bit of a trek for you!), you're welcome to have a noodle on it!

Andy
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 07, 2019, 11:33:23 AM
Phrygian F# (3rd D mode) … I've used for years.  Mainly as an impro break for Em tunes, but aren't the first phrase of mazurka Limousin  essentially phrygian mode?

The G modes?  🤔 To my shame I've hardly explored them. Worried about basses, but pull C+D chord, or D+ C chord sounds OK here (no left end 3rds) and offer just about enough harmonic movement to support a right end line.

In essence that is to assert the C+F# tritone tension that is in both B phrygian or F# lochrian melody. What bases do others use?
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 10, 2019, 08:28:26 PM
Phrygian F# (3rd D mode) … I've used for years.  Mainly as an impro break for Em tunes, but aren't the first phrase of mazurka Limousin  essentially phrygian mode?

Well, I mean, I wouldn't have thought so, but, what key are you working from as the tune being in to start with? It seems to be on abc websites in Em and there's a google image search result with fairly standard Em chords - trying to reharmonise it to either F# or B phrygian seems like it's being pushed somewhere it doesn't want to go. Perhaps could you share an example?

Also, the tritone you mentioned is in every mode of G, because it's part of the G scale, is it promoted somewhere special by Phrygian? Diatonic chords seem to work just fine, even just 3 chord sets of F#m Em G, or Bm Am C as the main framework, which if you have an 8 bass you'll be lucky to have both sets of to begin with, so, more advanced chord theory is pretty much out of the question anyway. But, if you've used the mode a lot in folk music, it's probably more interesting to know what you would use.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 11, 2019, 03:49:53 PM
I simply take an Em tune, and shift into F#m. Technically that's to hang the ii chord and keep going for a whole repeat, or resolve via Bm in the last bar. It seems to work and is fairly foolproof. So I'm not "reharmonising".

The C+F# interval sticks out on F# phrygian … because … as you say they are in all G modes, but elsewhere we only use the tritone in the turnaround chord. In the restless phyygean, and tense lochrian these notes are either in the base chord triad, or are "characteristic notes" of the mode, that tend to get hammered in the melody. So we get the clashes in the general run of notes, rather than just at turnaround?

example: let's try our Mazurka Limousine. It is in the Em G-mode simple minor, starts with a pull C chord, initial E note switching rapidly to F#. The tritone hits you in the ears, and that first bar is very restless. Try it against Em chord - totally different effect? That's the sort of thing i mean. You only need a transient tritone to thriw music phrases into tension. Yes, it is a "feel" thing 🙂
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 11, 2019, 03:55:21 PM
phrygean harmony? stage d'impro basic teaching is to rock between the i minor chord and the II major. If you are improvising a line you might "target" the C against the Bm, and F# against the C major.

I appreciate that C v Bm may not be possible on 2 rows.  I have a pull B on left so tend to fake it that way
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: playandteach on June 11, 2019, 04:45:43 PM
This might just be me - apologies if it is - but I'm tempted more by demonstrations than descriptions. If either Chris or Gena as the protagonists would like to demo a couple of examples, I'd watch with interest. Not whole tunes particularly, but important moments that support the points discussed. Of course I understand that it is a time commitment, and perhaps an anxiety of poking one's head above the parapet.
I did notice that Chris had mentioned a certain reluctance on the forum to engage - it might be a way of igniting that interest.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: playandteach on June 11, 2019, 04:57:00 PM
On the matter of Mazurka Limousin, I'm struggling to understand the modal comments (other than Dorian or Aeolian - which aren't the ones mentioned) - especially the phrygian one. This is something that might come out with a demo. Or perhaps there are different tunes with the same name?
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 11, 2019, 06:28:27 PM
The C+F# interval sticks out on F# phrygian

IDK, I think there's a little bit of wires crossed here. I mean for one, surely F# phrygian is a mode of D major, and has C#, not C? Maybe that's the point. Honestly, I am confused, but, there's probably an explanation to be found somewhere.

Based on playandteach's thought, I looked and have indeed found at least a couple of slightly different Mazurka Limosins, some with significantly changed structure in the A music, which is what's being talked about here, compare the version on here: http://www.greyhoundmusic.co.uk/5060/ to the version found here: https://wordcliff.wordpress.com/mazurka-limousin-with-flatworld/ - both in Em, however effectively one is shifted by 2 waltz beats to become basically a jig, meaning while one 'starts' on a C, the one 'starts' on an E, and I'm not sure any more which is being considered. But, in both cases, neither really makes me think that anywhere other than Em is home, so, *shrug*

I'm tempted more by demonstrations than descriptions.

Honestly, I do feel likewise - it's one of the reasons I've been trying to write tunes to go with the ideas. It's probably not enough, though - it's mostly a 'hear's why you might care' thing. I actually need to have a good go at E Dorian, so, maybe I can record more of my experience with that.

Milleret's Chambe Blue (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Imj8mt4sjm0)
I know this is from a little while back, but this is really pretty great!
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Alan Pittwood on June 11, 2019, 11:26:10 PM
Based on playandteach's thought, I looked and have indeed found at least a couple of slightly different Mazurka Limosins, some with significantly changed structure in the A music, which is what's being talked about here, compare the version on here: http://www.greyhoundmusic.co.uk/5060/ to the version found here: https://wordcliff.wordpress.com/mazurka-limousin-with-flatworld/ - both in Em, however effectively one is shifted by 2 waltz beats to become basically a jig, meaning while one 'starts' on a C, the one 'starts' on an E, and I'm not sure any more which is being considered. But, in both cases, neither really makes me think that anywhere other than Em is home, so, *shrug*

Tony Kovatch (Artist in Residence  at libertybellows.com) teaches Mazurka Limousin as two parts, the first in G major (one #) and the second in E Dorian (two #).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mBHq90rrWc
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: playandteach on June 12, 2019, 12:06:49 AM
This is a case in point - I don't hear that opening section in G major at all. The section cadences in E minor - with a modal cadence, (the guy in the piano accordion tutorial is - to my ears substituting a D chord for the B minor often played, in order to have a descending bass line) and the chords are diatonic to E minor (albeit a different minor mode to the B section).
The chords are of course the same whether it is in G major or E minor (Aeolian). I've seen the opening chord often as an A minor chord too. But for me the end of the phrase makes it E minor whatever chord we start on (which might be where Chris is getting the Phrygian thing from, if he plays it with a C chord to start - although that doesn't make it Phrygian for me).
If the music pulls to an E, it's in a type of E key (my opinion). Sometimes the quacking thing in the corner really is a duck.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: smiley on June 12, 2019, 08:56:18 AM
I think I was playing a B Phrygian scale at the beginning and end of my video of the Troika (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNqEWjnTU2s). The accompanying chords were B and C and I improvised notes from the G major scale, so from what Gena wrote above, that should be Phrygian (although I suppose the B chord should've been Bm).

About the same time I recorded that video Jack Campin posted an interesting Egyptian melody in melnet that I thought was in Phrygian mode but when I look at it now I realise it must be something else. Does the D# note fit with B Phrygian? See my PDF attached. Jack's original post is here. (http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,20062.msg242430.html#msg242430)
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Anahata on June 12, 2019, 10:01:02 AM
Jack put in the header:
K: D Phrygian ^F

Indicating D as the home note, Phrygian as the nearest approximation to the mode and  "^F " has to be added to make the scale correct. It's about as concise a way as possible of the describing the tune's scale and home note, but it's definitely not Phrygian mode.

It's not G harmonic minor either, even though all the notes of the scale match, because that would indicate the intention that G was the "home note" and it clearly isn't (and should not be harmonized in a way that implied that it was, where there's a choice.)
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 12, 2019, 12:54:22 PM
Jack put in the header:
K: D Phrygian ^F
 but it's definitely not Phrygian mode.
It's not G harmonic minor either, even though all the notes of the scale match

So, I was going to get there some day, but now seems like a good time! You may have observed that E harmonic minor was not a mode of either the G major or D major scale, or, in fact any major scale. Its order of tones and semitones is not found there, and is in fact a fresh, new 7 note scale, independent of the major scale...

And, of course, that means we now have a heap of new modes! The modes of the harmonic minor scale. The scale being described here is called Phrygian Dominant. It's actual a very popular (and sometimes considered overused in some genres) scale. On a two row DG, if you have a push D#, you can also play B phrygian dominant fairly comfortably, but you do have scale limits if you only have the one Accidental. Harmonic minor can be found by taking a natural minor scale, and sharping the 7th, or by taking a major scale, and flattening the 3rd and the 6th - we don't have either of these natively on our diatonic major scale instruments, but we do have accidentals, so, any major or minor scale we're used to playing, we can add either 1 or 2 accidentals to it to generate the scale.

The options for harmonic minor scales that come to mind for DG are approximately, since our goal is using as few accidentals as possible (the accidentals are bolded):

The semitone pattern is:
0  +2 +1 +2 +2 +1 +3 +1
E harmonic minor:
E  F# G  A  B  C  D# E
A harmonic minor:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G# A
B harmonic minor:
B  C# D  E  F# G  A# B
G harmonic minor:
G  A  Bb C  D  Eb F# G
D harmonic minor:
D  E  F  G  A  Bb C# D

Of these, the standard accidentals can be in the wrong places, eg in A and D harmonic minor due to the F being high, and the G# and Bb being low.

The scale  has a very distinct interval, the 3 semitones step up between eg C and D#, which differentiates it from the major scale. Phrygian dominant is a mode built from the 5th degree of the harmonic minor scale, and shifts that signature step right in front of the tonic. D phrygian dominant would be built from G harmonic minor, as D is the 5th note of that scale:

Regular D Phrygian (a mode of Bb major)
D  Eb F  G  A  Bb C  D
G harmonic minor:
G  A  Bb C  D  Eb F# G
D phrygian dominant:
D  Eb F# G  A  Bb C  D
hence, D phrygian ^F

Accompanying tunes in these scales is a little messy for us because of that +3 interval. The diatonic chords for Harmonic Minor are:
i    iio  III+ iv   V    VI   viio
which makes the chords of phrygian dominant:
I    II   iiio iv   vo   VI+  vii 
We now have two diminished chords (the o) chord, and one augmented chord (the +). An augmented chord is effectively where the relative 5th note is sharpened by a semitone. Like with a diminished chord, this means that the chord doesn't the root's relative 5th note, meaning it's much less stable and harder to work with, but, in the augmented case, at least the interval isn't tritone. At the very least, this means on our fixed chord instrument, we do have 3 chords out of the scale we likely can't play complete chords of - after all, very few people have a 5ths stop! But, you can quite happily use what is there. We can use the same pattern we used for phrygian; vii, I and ii, with I making us stand out as different. We can also look at iv. The iv -> I change is very nice (it's also called the 'minor plagal cadence'). However, you can also just pedal on a low drone if the tonic note, which could make eg D phrygian dominant attractive to a DG box player, where even with the 2 accidentals in positions that may make things tougher, we have the D bass in both directions.

Basically, we can totally do it! I learnt a lot, theory and practically, from this ideas in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCZezZf9bi0 (although the chap plays guitar).
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Anahata on June 12, 2019, 01:46:11 PM
By golly, she's right!
This page (https://www.jamplay.com/articles/5-guides/153-harmonic-minor-modes) also explains why it's called that. (A mode can be called 'dominant' if it contains both a major 3rd and a minor 7th.)

Incidentally, F♯ Phrygian dominant also works on a D/G with accidentals (just needs the B♭/A♯), but not as well as there's no F♯ bass.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Eshed on June 12, 2019, 02:03:44 PM
Actually this thread drove me to play with the phrygian dominant for the past few weeks as it's a core mode of Klezmer music (Can I get more cliche than that?).
The genre is not really my cup of tea, but it's fun to challenge your brain and fingers.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 12, 2019, 02:15:54 PM
Actually this thread drove me to play with the phrygian dominant for the past few weeks as it's a core mode of Klezmer music (Can I get more cliche than that?).
The genre is not really my cup of tea, but it's fun to challenge your brain and fingers.

That's lovely to hear! I'd be interested to know how you've been getting on with that on your instruments, and how you've been placing the scale on your boxes.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Eshed on June 12, 2019, 02:29:29 PM
That's lovely to hear! I'd be interested to know how you've been getting on with that on your instruments, and how you've been placing the scale on your boxes.
I've flipped two plates on my C/F club box such that both C# notes are now on the push.
It was originally done to assist in playing Purcell tunes, but an improved A phrygian dominant is a very nice byproduct.
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Gena Crisman on June 12, 2019, 03:36:51 PM
That's lovely to hear! I'd be interested to know how you've been getting on with that on your instruments, and how you've been placing the scale on your boxes.
I've flipped two plates on my C/F club box such that both C# notes are now on the push.
It was originally done to assist in playing Purcell tunes, but an improved A phrygian dominant is a very nice byproduct.

Neat! Welcome to the club, of having reversed those plates I mean. The only downside I've found for plate reversal on my DG is playing a chord and its relative flat 5/tritone as a passing note at the same time, so, for me, Bb over an E chord or Eb over an A chord, which are both things that do come up from time to time.

If you're interested in another different sound, I'd also suggest you should check out mixolydian flat 6. It can be played roughly the same as your CF's A phrygian dominant, but, you sharp your 2nd back up, so, you defer to the outside row a little more (so instead of A Bb C#, the run becomes A B C#). This gives you a half major, half minor sort of scale that at the end of the day is closer to mixoldyian than taking multiple steps from anywhere else, hence the name, but, it plays very similar to what you've been figuring out. This removes some of the phrygian twang, but keeps a lot of the majesty of phrygian dominant. So, if you feel like it, maybe try; A B C# D E F G A, played over A major, D minor and G major (or, for us DG folks, B C# D# E F# G A B played over B major and E minor, and A major). I've played with this scale a bit, resulting in this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmSNPlghyM0 but don't think it's a great demonstration - I'd like to take another look at it, some day...
Title: Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
Post by: Chris Ryall on June 12, 2019, 09:13:37 PM
the difference is that phygian major is a harmonic minor mode, myxo b6 a mode of melodic minor, and yes, lovely.

the “twang” isn’t really phrygian. it stems from the abrupt 1½ tone interval between Bb and C# (hence having # and b in one scale). Only harmonic scales have this interval (there are 3 others)