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Author Topic: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)  (Read 2224 times)

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Alan Pittwood

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #20 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

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What Kate McGarrigle track was in the video?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 10:34:21 PM by Alan Pittwood »
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #21 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 runs it close

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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #22 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!
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RF Music

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #23 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



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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #24 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...)
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playandteach

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #25 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#.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #26 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.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #27 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!
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RF Music

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #28 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
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #29 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?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 11:35:29 AM by Chris Ryall »
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #30 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.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #31 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 🙂
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Chris Ryall

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #32 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
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 03:58:18 PM by Chris Ryall »
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playandteach

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #33 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.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 04:47:42 PM by playandteach »
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #34 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?
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Gena Crisman

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #35 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
I know this is from a little while back, but this is really pretty great!
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Alan Pittwood

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #36 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
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 11:27:42 PM by Alan Pittwood »
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playandteach

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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #37 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #38 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. 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.
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Re: The Melodeon Mode Show (writing/sharing modal tunes)
« Reply #39 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.)
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