How many notes to target a mode?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Stamped Records
KVRist
307 posts since 20 Sep, 2018 from UK

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 am

For example, if I rock from E to F, how am I to say whether I'm in E phyrgian or F major, or even if I'm waiting on another note to fully define it?

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
9684 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:07 am

Stamped Records wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 am
For example, if I rock from E to F, how am I to say whether I'm in E phyrgian or F major, or even if I'm waiting on another note to fully define it?
If you are rocking from E to F, you most certainly are NOT in F Major. F Major has B flat, to start with. So, if you are not paying B flat, you most certainly are in C Major (E belongs to the I chord, while F belongs the V7 chord - pretty straight and simple)

To be in E phrygian you would need to avoid play the entire scale. That's not how mnodes work. The mode of E works from E to A, then jumps to C, and goes from there to E or F, ending in E (most ceratainly with a melodic E-D-E). Or you may play downwards, from E to A/G. Whatever you do, you need to avoid a melodic progression that includes F and B in the same line, since the tritone will attract C Major and will destroy the mode.

You also would need to avoid chords thjat call C Major, like F or G, and use instead E min, A min, and D min.
Fernando (FMR)

Stamped Records
KVRist
307 posts since 20 Sep, 2018 from UK

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:16 am

Great information there.

I've recognised the finality of the EDE you are saying there, but also, E, F, E to my ear sounds final.

When I say rocking from E to F it's probably bad terminology as I mean single notes, rather than chords.

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
9684 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:32 am

Stamped Records wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:16 am
Great information there.

I've recognised the finality of the EDE you are saying there, but also, E, F, E to my ear sounds final.
It's weaker, but works too :-)
Stamped Records wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:16 am
When I say rocking from E to F it's probably bad terminology as I mean single notes, rather than chords.
Yes, that's how I read it. But again, when using the mode of E, you should avoid melodic phrases that include both B and F. Either one or the other is fine, but both should be avoided. Not that you can't use both once or twice, but as a rule of thumb... avoid it.

Actually, the melodic jump from A to C gives a stronger mode feeling to the melody. And C is the "dominant" of the mode of E, in case you didn't know. The polar notes of the mode are C, E and A (by this order - the "dominant" is always the strongest note of the mode). However, you need to avoid melodic passages that include all of them, especially if they come one after the other, because that would call the mode of A (aeolian) or A minor. It's tricky to work with modes.
Fernando (FMR)

Stamped Records
KVRist
307 posts since 20 Sep, 2018 from UK

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am

Tricky, but very interesting, thanks. Perhaps I need to read something specifically related to modes. Can you direct me?

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
9684 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:04 am

Stamped Records wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am
Tricky, but very interesting, thanks. Perhaps I need to read something specifically related to modes. Can you direct me?
Stay away from anything written regardig modes, exacept fron the historical perspective (regarding ancient mediaval music, or analysis of music by Debussy and Messiaen.

Anything that starts with "modern" modes is probably full of rubbish and plainly WRONG concepts (like "phrygian dominant in the key of...) or dorian mode in C major..." or nonsensical concepts like these.

Modes are modes - musical entities "per se". Actually, Major and minor are modes, the two only modes that remained when tonality took over, in the end of the XV century.

There are countless modes - you may even create your own. A mode is simply a scale. You may have modes with just five notes (pentatonic modes), with six notes (hexatonic modes) and even with more than seven notes (eight, nine or ten notes).

I suggest you start by examining what people do with modal melodies. A good one to start with is Scarborough Fair. Another one is Greensleeves. Both are modal, and have been used countless times.

Listen to as many interpretations you can find, and see how people treated the melodies.

A modern example is the theme of Halo (the game, not the Beyonce song). The theme is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jXTBAGv9ZQ

It is in the mode of D (Dorian) but in E (modes, just like Major and minor, can be used starting in any note - you just need to adjust the tones and semitones accordingly).

And remember - Modes are all about melody, NOT harmony. The more you use harmony (tonal harmony) the more you risk to destroy the modal feel. Chords in modal music have a completely different way to be used. They are used to punctuate the music, and to give it flavor and color - you will definitely need to avoid any kind of functional harmonic meaning.
Last edited by fmr on Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fernando (FMR)

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
20105 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 am

Like so many of these threads these days, the first, essential part of the journey is skipped: ‘I suggest you start by examining what people do with modal melodies.’
Instead, people start trying to write in a vacuum.*
The reality of F major vs E Phrygian, or C major vs E Phrygian present one with 2 very distinct whole sound-worlds.

E is the center tone, tonic if you will for E Phrygian (or E what-have-you), or what fmr is calling Mode of E. When tonic is established as C, E doesn’t sound like any center.
This is no mystery.

Any modal usage is first of all concerned with the relationship of tones with a tonic.

So, we can read the statement ‘sounds like E in E F E is final’ and not be any closer to reality than we are with the rest of the lingo. Sans hearing it, it’s just words. We could have the harmony I to V7 to I in C major, the line is E F E and it ‘sounds final’ to the naive (after all, E is concordant w. I in C major). OTOH: In the modal polyphony fmr is on about, “Final” per Mode of E is unambiguous. (And, in real modal music that isn’t about the based-in-plainchant polyphonic practice of The Holy Roman Church, or all that brings in (much has occurred elsewhere), E as even the figurative “final” is equally self-evident.)

Information is not knowledge. Experience with the thing is fundamental. If one has really heard Phrygian Mode, or even noodled in it understanding this fundament well, there is no confusion with the wholly different sounding ‘major’. But this is not more than half-grasped lingo or even jargon, absent experience with the concepts in some music. Start with music that’s already there, rather than with *reading shit on the internet. Here the words as though mere abstractions are proving kinda useless.

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
9684 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:21 am

jancivil wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 am
Any modal usage is first of all concerned with the relationship of tones with a tonic.

So, we can read the statement ‘sounds like E in E F E is final’ and not be any closer to reality than we are with the rest of the lingo. We could have the harmony I to V7 to I in C major, the line is E F E and it ‘sounds final’ to the naive (after all, E is concordant w. I in C major).
You're right about this, of course. But I was talking (although didn't made that clear) exclusively in
melodic terms, not with chords under it, of course.
jancivil wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 am
OTOH: In the modal polyphony fmr is on about, “Final” per Mode of E is unambiguous. And, in real modal music that isn’t about the based-in-plainchant polyphonic practice of The Holy Roman Church, or all that brings in (much has occurred elsewhere), E as even the figurative “final” is equally self-evident.
It is equally self-evident in melodies that are not plainchant, like Scarborough Fair and Greensleeves. Of course, you can "harmonize" the melodies using tonal chords, and it may work, but the mode will be destroyed (as I wrote). Exactly the same way as the E F E melodic contour, if harmonized with I 6/4, V7, I will become C Major, as you said.
jancivil wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 am
Information is not knowledge. Experience with the thing is fundamental. If one has really heard Phrygian Mode, or even noodled in it understanding this fundament well, there is no confusion with the wholly different sounding ‘major’. But this is not more than half-grasped lingo or even jargon, absent experience with the concepts in some music. The things are well-known.
Very true. That's why I advised to hear music that's written in modes. It's a fact that all examples I gave are in the mode of D (Dorian), not in the mode of E. But here is a piece of music (more or less "modern) that is mainly in the mode of E:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... e=emb_logo

And there is this plainchant hymn that is a personal favorite, also in the mode of E:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3H5f7oePQE
Last edited by fmr on Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fernando (FMR)

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
20105 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:54 am

“But I was talking (although didn't made that clear) exclusively in
melodic terms, not with chords”

It’s passing hard to make that bit clear just talking/typing at KVR methinks.
The preference towards reading words over learning extant music well and the preference for chords seems of a piece here.
Understandable, normal in the ways of the world today, the tech seems to lead people to tendencies...
I may be locatable @:
FB: Public

Stamped Records
KVRist
307 posts since 20 Sep, 2018 from UK

Re: How many notes to target a mode?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:29 am

I hear you Jancivil, and you clearly know your stuff, but your attitude comes across as if you expect the asker of the question to know the answer.

Return to “Music Theory”