MUSIC STUDENT 1 0 1
EpISODE 27 DIATONIC MODES

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

TYPE- Theory

 

DURATION- 72:44

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "String Quartet in Modes: Phrygian"

(Matthew Scott Phillips), "Looking For Lydia"

(Area 47 Music)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe

Listen
DESCRIPTION

We've learned about the major and minor scales. Now it's time to explore the 7 Diatonic Modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. We will learn how to construct them and identify them using the "relative" and the "parallel" methods. We will also give them a listen, check out some examples and discuss what moods they convey and how they effect us.

KEY WORDS

SCALE- A collection of notes that are separated by different combinations of whole steps and half steps.

 

MODE- An iteration of a scale where all the notes maintain the same pattern of whole steps and half steps but the starting note is shifted, based on what scale degree you decide to consider the root. The major scale has 7 diatonic scale degrees. Therefore, there are 7 seven diatonic modes that are based on the major scale pattern.

 

FINAL- We already learned that the root of a scale, or scale degree 1, is referred to as the TONIC. The FINAL is the root of a MODE.  So, in C major, the DORIAN MODE (based on D, scale degree 2) has the D note as it's FINAL. The C note remains the TONIC.

EXAMPLES

THE DIATONIC MODES

(based on the C major scale)

NOTE: THESE EXAMPLES ARE ALL IN C MAJOR, BUT THESE MODES CAN ARISE FROM ANY MAJOR SCALE

MODE #1- IONIAN (C)

-The IONIAN MODE is based on scale degree 1. It is the MAJOR SCALE.

-There are no sharps or flats.

-In this case, the C note is both the FINAL of the mode and the TONIC of the scale.

This mode is considered cheery, happy and has a strong resolution when you arrive at the FINAL from the 7th scale degree. This is because of the note that resolves to the FINAL of this mode does so by a half step.

MODE #2- DORIAN (D)

-The DORIAN MODE is based on scale degree 2. It is the MINOR SCALE with a raised 6th.

-There are no sharps or flats. We are in the MODE of D DORIAN but we are still in the same key signature as C MAJOR.

-In this case, the C note is the TONIC and the D note is the FINAL.

This mode is minor at first glance. However, the raised 6th is now sharpened so the scale takes a major turn towards the end. We call this the "mullet mode" because it is business in the front (minor 3rd) and party in the back (major 6th). This mode, predating the major and minor scales, was one of the earliest and was the forerunner for the MINOR SCALE.

MODE #3- PHRYGIAN (E)

-The PHRYGIAN MODE is based on the third scale degree. It is the NATURAL MINOR SCALE with a lowered scale degree 2.

-As you see below, that F# that is normally in E minor has been lowered to F natural.

This mode is minor with an exotic twist. That half step between scale degrees 1 and 2 gives it a middle eastern mood. You will also hear this in Spanish flamenco-style music, many varieties of metal and, of course, jazz!

MODE #4- LYDIAN (F)

-The LYDIAN MODE is based on scale degree 4. It is the MAJOR SCALE with a raised scale degree 4.

This mode is airy, meandering and a little disorienting. The first 4 notes in this mode are based on the whole tone scale, which is known for its "dream sequence" feel.

MODE #5- MIXOLYDIAN (G)

-The MIXOLYDIAN MODE is based on scale degree 5. It is the MAJOR SCALE with a lowered scale degree 7.

This mode was the forerunner of today's major scale. However, it is still used a lot in popular and folk music. It's good for soloing over the I chord or the V chord.

MODE #6- AEOLIAN (A)

-The AEOLIAN MODE is based on scale degree 6. It is the NATURAL MINOR SCALE (the major scale with lowered scale degrees 3, 6 and 7).

This mode is perceived to be more serious, sad or profound. A lot of musicians can usually hear the difference between songs in major keys vs. minor keys. The same could be said when comparing the IONIAN MODE to the AEOLIAN MODE.

MODE #7- LOCRIAN (B)

-The LOCRIAN MODE is based on scale degree 7. It is the NATURAL MINOR SCALE with the scale degrees 2 and 5 lowered in addition to 3, 6 and 7.

This mode seems to be the least common in Western music. The lowered 2nd gives it an exotic PHRYGIAN feel. The lowered 5th causes a tritone, which adds some confusion when trying to find a tonal center.

HOW TO DETERMINE THE KEY SIGNATURE OF A MODE USING THE RELATIVE METHOD

THE QUESTION:

What is the key signature of any given mode?

THE PROCESS

We compare

Q: What is the key signature for F MIXOLYDIAN?

1- We know that MIXOLYDIAN is the 5th mode. 2- Of what MAJOR scale is F the 5th note? 3- The answer is Bb. 4- The key of Bb major has 2 flats. 5- Therefore, F MIXOLYDIAN has 2 flats. THINGS TO REMEMBER

-The modes, also known as the CHURCH MODES, predate the major and minor scales in tonal music.

 

-Dorian and Mixolydian were the two most common and were often heard in Gregorian chants around 600AD.

 

-In the 15th century, EQUAL TEMPERAMENT began to take root in Western music. This movement brought the IONIAN MODE and the AEOLIAN MODE to the spotlight.

EPISODE MUSIC

 

 "String Quartet in Modes- Phrygian"

  (Matthew Scott Phillips)

 

 "Looking For Lydia"

  (Area 47 Music)

 

  Jeremy Burns- drums, bass, guitar, hand claps

  Chris Burns- hand claps

 

MUSIC STUDENT 101

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