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Author Topic: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)  (Read 2508 times)

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Gena Crisman

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The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« 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 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.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 04:50:16 AM by Gena Crisman »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #2 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #3 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.
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Winston Smith

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #4 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #5 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 :|
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #6 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!
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #7 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #8 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!)
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #9 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.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #10 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!
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #11 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!
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #12 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.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #13 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|
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 12:16:04 AM by Gena Crisman »
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Alan Pittwood

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #14 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
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Alan Pittwood

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #15 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.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 10:08:42 AM by Alan Pittwood »
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #16 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"
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Ellisteph

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #17 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #18 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #19 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
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