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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:52 pm 
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@benhall, of course you are right. Late-night brain confusion. E-dorian mode is in the key signature of D with two sharps; E-minor (Aeolian) mode is in the key signature of G with one sharp. C-chord and Amin-chord belong to the G key signature, and therefore they wouldn't be normal for E-dorian.

I emphasize that my understanding of modes only clicked when I realized they go Major-Mixolydian-Dorian-Minor as fifths within one key signature.

@mae, I started on recorder, soprano, alto & tenor, but haven't touched them in decades. I particularly enjoyed playing Telemann. O'Carolans's Concerto brings back that Baroque vibe.

The recorder uses various cross-fingerings to get the full chromatic scale, so it isn't strange for someone with recorder background to use cross-fingering for the G# and A#. Sometimes half-holing is easier, but sometimes the cross-fingered note has better clarity. The 0X0XXX C-natural fingering is quite good or best on some of my whistles, plus it provides a nice C-nat roll. That fingering for C-nat is rather nicer on my recently acquired flute, so I've pretty much converted all my C-nats over to OXOXXX. (Now, if my flute's C-sharp wasn't a little veiled and the E-flat half-hole wasn't so difficult & weak... I wouldn't be desiring a keyed flute.)

Back to the topic.

I notice that a lot of intuitive players don't want to worry about modes, which is fine. Just shut up and play!

But, I also notice that a lot of players with traditional/schooled musical training aren't necessarily familiar with modes. I guess it depends on the genre. If you are into Gregorian chants or Jazz you are more likely to get exposure to modes.


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:01 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
I emphasize that my understanding of modes only clicked when I realized they go Major-Mixolydian-Dorian-Minor as fifths within one key signature.

I think this is a very interesting observation. I have spent my lifetime thinking about modes, and rather specialised in them in my music degree, something like 40 years ago. And yet I've never thought of the modes like this. But it makes total sense.

I think one of the reasons that I haven't thought of the modes the way you do, tstermitz, is that I have in my mind whenever I think of the modes, all the possible "inflections", ie notes such as the F, B and C in D dorian, all of which may be "inflected", the F and C by being raised a half tone and the B by being lowered a half tone. And all within the same mode. This happens surprisingly often in Irish trad, and most people put it down to tunes being in "mixed modes", but they're often not really (of course sometimes they are).

With all that in my head, I haven't thought of the simple cycle of fifths thing! Interesting ...

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:21 pm 
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@benhal

What do you mean by "inflected"? A half step up or down? An occasional accidental? Leading tones?

I'm thinking of The Tarbolton at the start where it goes Eeed e2 BA. I like using the d# instead of the d.

Would that usually be notated as e-flat or d-sharp?

Remembering the modes-circle-of-fifths, helps me with avoiding out-of-key bass runs or chord substitutions with guitar accompaniment (I'm not yet musically intuitive enough to always "know" what works). Like: C-nat or A-minor might be reasonable chords in E-minor, but they aren't part of E-dorian, i.e the D-major key signature.

I notice in casual conversation at sessions, a lot of people automatically label a tune E-minor even if it is E-dorian. This is an example where a little more precision in musical knowledge makes for less confused communication.


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:26 am 
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I keep started posts on this then cancelling them. But here goes.

The "simple cycle of fifths thing" (benhall.1) is something that "players with traditional/schooled musical training" (tsermitz) know about.

The first tin whistle tutor book I had explained, right at the start, about the sequence of tones and semitones up a major scale. The second (Robin Williamson's) demonstrated several modes through examples, again right at the start. With that theoretical grounding referring to a key signature of 2 sharps as "D" has always seemed a red herring. The 'key' signature is just telling me what the intervals are.

So to answer the question in the OP I suggest a scrap of paper with TTSTTTSTTSTTTS written on it with the notes for the 'key signature' written alongside (or in between) and the modes alongside that. In pencil to rub out and change key.

Tsermitz says "I notice that a lot of intuitive players don't want to worry about modes, which is fine." I don't worry about modes but it's not intuition, it's being happy with a simple-minded approach to melody playing.

I am not averse to theory and am adequately successful at 'book learning'. But having read up about the circle of fifths I can't find help from it for understanding traditional tunes (or the diatonic scale but that's another issue).

I guess it may be relevant to harmony playing though. Can it explain how I (with others) think that The Skye Boat Song and the B part of The Blarney Pilgrim should come to rest on particular notes - and that other people think that I(we) are 'wrong'.


Also - at the sessions I go to the musicians who call out E minor, and the bouzouki/guitar players they call to, are well schooled in theory. They all know it means 'E with a minor third' and anyone who hears will go into the first bar with graceful accompaniment and some ideas for what the tune will be. It's no time to be pendantic.


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:10 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
What do you mean by "inflected"? A half step up or down? An occasional accidental? Leading tones?

On certain degrees of each mode (different for each), it is common to find that notes may be a half tone up or down from their usual, at certain points in the music, as indicated by accidentals.

tstermitz wrote:
I'm thinking of The Tarbolton at the start where it goes Eeed e2 BA. I like using the d# instead of the d.

Would that usually be notated as e-flat or d-sharp?

As it happens I don't use either the d natural or d sharp there, but if I did use a d sharp, that's how I would expect it to be notated - as d sharp. It wouldn't be correct to notate is as e flat, since it isn't.

tstermitz wrote:
I notice in casual conversation at sessions, a lot of people automatically label a tune E-minor even if it is E-dorian. This is an example where a little more precision in musical knowledge makes for less confused communication.

Like david h, I expect to hear a tune called as "E minor" even if it is in E dorian. I would find it just too fussy to call it any other way, and most players wouldn't understand what I was talking about in any case, even though, if they were decent musicians, they would listen for and blend in with a major sixth or a minor sixth, as the case may be, within the particular tune being played.

david_h wrote:
The "simple cycle of fifths thing" (benhall.1) is something that "players with traditional/schooled musical training" (tsermitz) know about.

Well, I have a degree in music - a conventional music degree based around Western art music (too imprecise just to use the term "classical"). But nobody in the classical world, in my experience, uses the concept of "cycle of fifths" (or circle of fifths or whatever you want to call it) to describe the relationship between the church modes used in trad. This Wiki article shows pretty well what it is used for in Western art music, and the thinking behind it is, to my mind at least, radically different. I think maybe that's why you haven't found it too helpful "for understanding traditional tunes" - you were trying to apply something you'd read about one use of the term to a completely different prospect - the church modes. Hence, possibly also why I hadn't ever thought of the modes in terms of circles of fifths in the way that tstermitz describes which, by the way, I find quite interesting, having thought about it a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:44 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
.. you were trying to apply something you'd read about one use of the term to a completely different prospect - the church modes. Hence, possibly also why I hadn't ever thought of the modes in terms of circles of fifths in the way that tstermitz describes which, by the way, I find quite interesting, having thought about it a bit.
I only tried to apply it out of respect for those more schooled than me who found it useful or interesting. Before saying that for the purpose of the OP, and me appreciating the first few replies, a simplistic description seemed better than one relying on a concept designed to help understand something much more complicated.
tstermitz wrote:
As an engineer, I'm always trying to figure out underlying structure of things, and asking "why". Music is so full or interesting and beautiful patterns.
Agreed. I have found most satisfaction in the psychoacoustic approach https://archive.org/details/onsensationsofto00helmrich (1895 and still in print, though some things have moved on). One reason for me reading up about 'conventional music theory' is that the second part of the book is unreadable without it. For me the first part has much of the "why".


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:50 am 
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Ah. I read your quote of what I'd written there, David, and thought, "My goodness! That was a bit harsh and prescriptive of me!" I think I should have emphasised the preceding "maybe" in my post a bit more. :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:26 am 
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No worries - I read the maybe part.


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:03 pm 
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[Thread revival. - Mod]

Peter Duggan wrote:
Mae wrote:
Peter, have you ever played on a Paetzold bass or contrabass? I really want to try one of those. I own and play up to a bent-neck tenor, but it's hard to find someone with one of these.

Sure I've blown a couple (probably great bass and contra), but many, many years ago. Not much help to you, but I've owned a Paetzold blackwood alto (we call them trebles here) since I was 18, but play it with a block I made myself when I was in the Hague. It's one of two Paetzolds I'd tried at Saunders Recorders in Bristol and the other was oak (yes, really oak!) and unbelievably quiet. So Paetzold's innovations/experiments with materials etc. haven't just been limited to square basses, although I'd take any of the excellent square ones (or indeed virtually anything else) over that oak alto!


maybe a bit off topic here, but this is interesting! I thought the paetzolds was only made in birch plywood, but you've owned one in blackwood, as well as played another in solid oak? or are these traditional recorders made by Paetzold?


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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:18 am 
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It's true that likely most beginner whistlers with 'average person' music backgrounds won't know or particularly want to know about modes... even the term 'modes' and certainly the Greek-y/geeky names of the modes can feel off putting to people without much music theory knowledge. (Locrian? Phrygian?...um, bye boy!)
But interestingly, even music amateurs sometimes are familiar with modes if they come to the whistle from a traditional noter style mountain dulcimer background (like me). In dulcimer traditional styles, the mtn dulcimer is diatonically fretted and the melody string is retuned to produce the space and half-space patterns needed for playing tunes in the four most commonly used modes: ionian, mixolydian, aeolian, and dorian.
Imagine my amazement and delight one day after exploring the whistle for a couple of months, when a light bulb suddenly went on in my head- hey the 4 modes are accessible on the whistle holes in the same general location/sequence as the diatonic fret patterns on my dulcimer! I did the happy dance that day because it meant i could much more quickly and easily guess and locate where a given simple traditional tune could be successfully played on the whistle. :D

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:45 am 
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moegl wrote:
or are these traditional recorders made by Paetzold?

That's what I meant, and why I said 'I'd take any of the excellent square ones (or indeed virtually anything else) over that oak alto!' So, yes, normal round turned-wood recorders, but the oak wasn't a good one (could be choice of timber, misjudged voicing or both) though the blackwood I've still got is a cracker.

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:28 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
The note a tune resolves on is usually a good indicator of the key.


Usually yes.

But the exceptions can lead some people without enough musical knowledge or enough of a musical ear to false (or at least odd-sounding) conclusions.

Strangely, two very common Scottish melodies begin and resolve on the 5th

Skye Boat Song

Scots Wha Hae Wi' Wallace Bled


You'll hear them harmonised as if they're in the key of the 5th, in all or in part.

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:48 am 
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tstermitz wrote:

What do you mean by "inflected"?



From Traditional Music In Ireland by Tomas O Canainn:

"A note which appears in both sharpened and unsharpened forms in a tune is said to be inflected, and such inflection is common in Irish music."

Breandan Breathnach in Folk Music And Dances Of Ireland doesn't use that term, using "accidental" instead. He says:

"Two such notes occur. They are C# and F natural. C# occurs usually by way of variation and almost invariably in a weak or unaccented position... in tunes of the G series. In tunes of the D series C is always sharp.

F natural on the other hand occurs only in the accented position... and its presence seems to be confined to tunes in the G series."

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 Post subject: Re: D Mixolydian
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:55 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
The note a tune resolves on is usually a good indicator of the key.


Usually yes.

But the exceptions can lead some people without enough musical knowledge or enough of a musical ear to false (or at least odd-sounding) conclusions.

Strangely, two very common Scottish melodies begin and resolve on the 5th

Skye Boat Song

Scots Wha Hae Wi' Wallace Bled


You'll hear them harmonised as if they're in the key of the 5th, in all or in part.
I haven't been through Scots Wha Hae, but Skye Boat Song is pentatonic: if it starts in D and ends in G, there's no F nor C in the tune, neither natural nor sharp, so you can't say whether the underlying key is C, D or G. It is equally fair to say the tune starts on the 5th and ends on the tonic.


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