Musical mode

Musical mode

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Musical mode'
Start a new discussion about 'Musical mode'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
In the theory of Western music
Western music
Western music may refer to:* Classical music, a genre of art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music from the 10th century onward...

 since the ninth century, mode (from Latin modus, "measure, standard, manner, way") (Powers 2001, Introduction) generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.
The word encompasses several additional meanings, however. Authors from the ninth century until the early eighteenth century sometimes employed the Latin modus for interval
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

. In the theory of late-medieval mensural polyphony, modus is a rhythmic relationship between long and short values or a pattern made from them (Powers 2001, Introduction). Since the end of the eighteenth century, the term "mode" has also applied—in ethnomusicological
Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."Coined by the musician Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos and μουσική mousike , it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music...

 contexts—to pitch structures in non-European musical cultures, sometimes with doubtful compatibility (Powers 2001, §V,1). Regarding the concept of mode as applied to pitch relationships generally, Harold S. Powers describes a continuum between abstract scale and specific tune, with "most of the area between ... being in the domain of mode" (Powers 2001, §I,3).

Modes and scales


A "scale" is an ordered series of intervals that, with the key
Key (music)
In music theory, the term key is used in many different and sometimes contradictory ways. A common use is to speak of music as being "in" a specific key, such as in the key of C major or in the key of F-sharp. Sometimes the terms "major" or "minor" are appended, as in the key of A minor or in the...

 or tonic
Tonic (music)
In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord...

 (first tone), defines that scale's intervals, or steps. However, in the modern sense, "mode" is usually used in the sense of "scale," applied only to the seven specific diatonic scale
Diatonic scale
In music theory, a diatonic scale is a seven note, octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps...

s (using only the seven tones of the scale without chromatic alterations. The use of more than one mode makes music polymodal, as with polymodal chromaticism
Polymodal chromaticism
In music, polymodal chromaticism is the use of any and all musical modes sharing the same final simultaneously or in succession and thus creating a texture involving all twelve notes of the chromatic scale...

. Modern musicological practice has extended the concept of mode to earlier musical systems, such as those of Ancient Greek music and Jewish cantillation
Cantillation
Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Hebrew Bible in synagogue services. The chants are written and notated in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible to complement the letters and vowel points...

, as well as to non-Western musics (Powers 2001, §I, 3; Winnington-Ingram 1936, 2–3).

Greek


Early Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 treatises on music do not use the term "mode" (which comes from Latin), but do describe three interrelated concepts that are related to the later, medieval idea of "mode": (1) scales
Musical scale
In music, a scale is a sequence of musical notes in ascending and descending order. Most commonly, especially in the context of the common practice period, the notes of a scale will belong to a single key, thus providing material for or being used to conveniently represent part or all of a musical...

 (or "systems"), (2) tonos—pl. tonoi—(the more usual term used in medieval theory for what later came to be called "mode"), and (3) harmonia (harmony)—pl. harmoniai—this third term subsuming the corresponding tonoi but not necessarily the converse (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e);Thomas J. Mathiesen, "Greece, §I: Ancient").

Greek scales


The Greek scales in the Aristoxenian
Aristoxenus
Aristoxenus of Tarentum was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, and a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy, ethics and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony, survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and...

 tradition were (Barbera 1984, 240; Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(d)):
  • Mixolydian: hypate hypaton–paramese (b–b′)
  • Lydian
    Lydian mode
    The Lydian musical scale is a rising pattern of pitches comprising three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone. This sequence of pitches roughly describes the fifth of the eight Gregorian modes, known as Mode V or the authentic mode on F, theoretically using B but in...

    : parhypate hypaton–trite diezeugmenon (c′–c″)
  • Phrygian: lichanos hypaton–paranete diezeugmenon (d′–d″)
  • Dorian
    Dorian mode
    Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

    : hypate meson–nete diezeugmenon (e′–e″)
  • Hypolydian
    Hypolydian mode
    The Hypolydian mode, literally meaning "below Lydian", is the common name for the sixth of the eight medieval church modes . The name is taken from Ptolemy of Alexandria's term for one of his seven tonoi, or transposition keys...

    : parhypate meson–trite hyperbolaion (f′–f″)
  • Hypophrygian
    Hypophrygian mode
    The Hypophrygian mode, literally meaning 'below Phrygian', is a musical mode or diatonic scale in medieval chant theory, the fourth mode of church music. This mode is the plagal counterpart of the authentic third mode, which was called Phrygian...

    : lichanos meson–paranete hyperbolaion (g′–g″)
  • Common, Locrian
    Locrian mode
    The Locrian mode is either a musical mode or simply a diatonic scale. Although the term occurs in several classical authors on music theory, including Cleonides and Athenaeus , there is no warrant for the modern usage of Locrian as equivalent to Glarean's Hyperaeolian mode, in either classical,...

    , or Hypodorian
    Hypodorian mode
    The Hypodorian mode, a musical term literally meaning 'below dorian', derives its name from a tonos or octave species of ancient Greece which, in its diatonic genus, is built from a tetrachord consisting of a semitone followed by two whole tones. The rising scale for the octave is a single tone...

    : mese–nete hyperbolaion or proslambnomenos–mese (a′–a″ or a–a′)


These names are derived from Ancient Greek subgroups (Dorians), one small region in central Greece (Locris
Locris
Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.-Locrian tribe:...

), and certain neighboring (non-Greek) peoples from Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

, Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

). The association of these ethnic names with the octave species
Octave species
In early Greek music theory, an octave species is a sequence of incomposite intervals making up a complete octave...

 appears to precede Aristoxenos, who criticized their application to the tonoi by the earlier theorists whom he called the Harmonicists (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(d)).

Depending on the positioning (spacing) of the interposed tones in the tetrachord
Tetrachord
Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of three intervals filling in the interval of a perfect fourth, a 4:3 frequency proportion. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row. The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory...

s, three genera of the seven octave species can be recognized. The diatonic genus (composed of tones and semitones), the chromatic genus (semitones and a minor third), and the enharmonic genus (with a major third and two quarter tone
Quarter tone
A quarter tone , is a pitch halfway between the usual notes of a chromatic scale, an interval about half as wide as a semitone, which is half a whole tone....

s or dieses
Diesis
In classical music from Western culture, a diesis is either an accidental , or a comma type of musical interval, usually defined as the difference between an octave and three justly tuned major thirds , equal to 128:125 or about 41.06 cents...

) (Cleonides 1965, 35–36). The framing interval of the perfect fourth is fixed, while the two internal pitches are movable. Within the basic forms, the intervals of the chromatic and diatonic genera were varied further by three and two "shades" (chroai), respectively (Cleonides 1965, 39–40; Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(c)).

Tonoi


The term tonos (pl. tonoi) was used in four senses: "as note, interval, region of the voice, and pitch. We use it of the region of the voice whenever we speak of Dorian, or Phrygian, or Lydian, or any of the other tones" (Cleonides 1965, 44). Cleonides attributes thirteen tonoi to Aristoxenos, which represent a progressive transposition of the entire system (or scale) by semitone over the range of an octave between the Hypodorian and the Hypermixolydian (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e)). Aristoxenos's transpositional tonoi, according to Cleonides (1965, 44), were named analogously to the octave species, supplemented with new terms to raise the number of degrees from seven to thirteen. However, according to the interpretation of at least two modern authorities, in these transpositional tonoi the Hypodorian is the lowest, and the Mixolydian next-to-highest—the reverse of the case of the octave species (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e); Solomon 1984, 244–45), with nominal base pitches as follows (descending order):
  • f: Hypermixolydian (or Hyperphrygian)
  • e: High Mixolydian or Hyperiastian
  • e♭: Low Mixolydian or Hyperdorian
  • d: Lydian
  • c♯: Low Lydian or Aeolian
  • c: Phrygian
  • B: Low Phrygian or Iastian
  • B♭: Dorian
  • A: Hypolydian
  • G♯: Low Hypolydian or Hypoaelion
  • G: Hypophrygian
  • F♯: Low Hypophrygian or Hypoiastian
  • F: Hypodorian


Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, in his Harmonics, ii.3–11, construed the tonoi differently, presenting all seven octave species within a fixed octave, through chromatic inflection of the scale degrees (comparable to the modern conception of building all seven modal scales on a single tonic). In Ptolemy's system, therefore there are only seven tonoi (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e); Mathiesen 2001c). Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

 also construed the intervals arithmetically ( if somewhat more rigorously, initially allowing for 1:1 = Unison, 2:1 = Octave, 3:2 = Fifth, 4:3 = Fourth and 5:4 = Major Third within the octave). These tonoi and corresponding harmoniai correspond with the intervals of the familiar modern major and minor scales. See Pythagorean tuning
Pythagorean tuning
Pythagorean tuning is a system of musical tuning in which the frequency relationships of all intervals are based on the ratio 3:2. This interval is chosen because it is one of the most consonant...

 and Pythagorean interval
Pythagorean interval
In musical tuning theory, a Pythagorean interval is a musical interval with frequency ratio equal to a power of two divided by a power of three, or vice versa...

.

Harmoniai


In music theory the Greek word harmonia can signify the enharmonic genus of tetrachord, the seven octave species, or a style of music associated with one of the ethnic types or the tonoi named by them (Mathiesen 2001b).

Particularly in the earliest surviving writings, harmonia is regarded not as a scale, but as the epitome of the stylised singing of a particular district or people or occupation (Winnington-Ingram 1936, 3). When the late 6th-century poet Lasus of Hermione referred to the Aeolian harmonia, for example, he was more likely thinking of a melodic style
Melody type
In ethnomusicology and musicology, a melody type is a set of melodic formulas, figures, and patterns which are used in the composition of an enormous variety of music, especially non-Western and early Western music. Such music is generally composed by a process of centonization, either freely In...

 characteristic of Greeks speaking the Aeolic dialect than of a scale pattern (Anderson and Mathiesen 2001). By the late fifth century BC these regional types are being described in terms of differences in what is called harmonia—a word with several senses, but here referring to the pattern of intervals between the notes sounded by the strings of a lyra or a kithara. However, there is no reason to suppose that, at this time, these tuning patterns stood in any straightforward and organised relations to one another. It was only around the year 400 that attempts were made by a group of theorists known as the harmonicists to bring these harmoniai into a single system, and to express them as orderly transformations of a single structure. Eratocles was the most prominent of the harmonicists, though his ideas are known only at second hand, through Aristoxenus, from whom we learn they represented the harmoniai as cyclic reorderings of a given series of intervals within the octave, producing seven octave species
Octave species
In early Greek music theory, an octave species is a sequence of incomposite intervals making up a complete octave...

. We also learn that Eratocles confined his descriptions to the enharmonic genus (Baker 1984–89, 2:14–15).

In the Republic, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 uses the term inclusively to encompass a particular type of scale, range and register, characteristic rhythmic pattern, textual subject, etc. (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e)). He held that playing music in a particular harmonia would incline one towards specific behaviors associated with it, and suggested that soldiers should listen to music in Dorian or Phrygian harmoniai to help make them stronger, but avoid music in Lydian, Mixolydian or Ionian harmoniai, for fear of being softened. Plato believed that a change in the musical modes of the state would cause a wide-scale social revolution (Plato, Rep. III.10-III.12 = 398C-403C)

The philosophical writings of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (c. 350 BC) include sections that describe the effect of different harmoniai on mood and character formation. For example, Aristotle in the Politics (viii:1340a:40–1340b:5):
Aristotle continues by describing the effects of rhythm, and concludes about the combined effect of rhythm and harmonia (viii:1340b:10–13):

The word ethos (ἦθος) in this context means "moral character", and Greek ethos theory concerns the ways in which music can convey, foster, and even generate ethical states (Anderson and Mathiesen 2001).

Melos


Some treatises also describe "melic" composition, "the employment of the materials subject to harmonic practice with due regard to the requirements of each of the subjects under consideration" (Cleonides 1965, 35)—which, together with the scales, tonoi, and harmoniai resemble elements found in medieval modal theory (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)). According to Aristides Quintilianus (On Music, i.12), melic composition is subdivided into three classes: dithyrambic, nomic, and tragic. These parallel his three classes of rhythmic composition: systaltic, diastaltic and hesychastic. Each of these broad classes of melic composition may contain various subclasses, such as erotic, comic and panegyric, and any composition might be elevating (diastaltic), depressing (systaltic), or soothing (hesychastic) (Mathiesen 2001a, 4).

According to Mathiesen, music as a performing art was called melos, which in its perfect form (teleion melos) comprised not only the melody and the text (including its elements of rhythm and diction) but also stylized dance movement. Melic and rhythmic composition (respectively, melopoiïa and rhuthmopoiïa) were the processes of selecting and applying the various components of melos and rhythm to create a complete work.

Western Church


Tonaries, which are lists of chant titles grouped by mode, appear in western sources around the turn of the 9th century. The influence of developments in Byzantium, from Jerusalem and Damascus, for instance the works of Saints John of Damascus
John of Damascus
Saint John of Damascus was a Syrian monk and priest...

 (d. 749) and Cosmas of Maiouma (Nikodēmos ’Agioreitēs 1836, 1:32–33) (Barton 2009), are still not fully understood. The eight-fold division of the Latin modal system, in a four-by-two matrix, was certainly of Eastern provenance, originating probably in Syria or even in Jerusalem, and was transmitted from Byzantine sources to Carolingian practice and theory during the 8th century. However, the earlier Greek model for the Carolingian system was probably ordered like the later Byzantine oktōēchos
Octoechos
Oktōēchos is the name of the eight mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Syrian, Coptic, Byzantine, Armenian, Latin and Slavic churches since the middle ages...

, that is, with the four principal (authentic) modes first, then the four plagals, whereas the Latin modes were always grouped the other way, with the authentics and plagals paired (Powers 2001, §II.1(ii)).

The 6th century scholar Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after...

 had translated Greek music theory treatises by Nicomachus
Nicomachus
Nicomachus was an important mathematician in the ancient world and is best known for his works Introduction to Arithmetic and Manual of Harmonics in Greek. He was born in Gerasa, in the Roman province of Syria , and was strongly influenced by Aristotle...

 and Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 into Latin (Powers 2001). Later authors created confusion by applying mode as described by Boethius to explain plainchant modes, which were a wholly different system (Palisca 1984, 222). In his De institutione musica, book 4 chapter 15, Boethius, like his Hellenistic sources, twice used the term harmonia to describe what would likely correspond to the later notion of "mode", but also used the word "modus"—probably translating the Greek word τρόπος (tropos), which he also rendered as Latin tropus—in connection with the system of transpositions required to produce seven diatonic octave species (Bower 1984, 253, 260–61), so the term was simply a means of describing transposition and had nothing to do with the church modes (Powers 2001, §II.1(i)).

Later, 9th-century theorists applied Boethius’s terms tropus and modus (along with "tonus") to the system of church modes. The treatise De Musica (or De harmonica institutione) of Hucbald
Hucbald
Hucbald was a Frankish music theorist, composer, teacher, writer, hagiographer, and Benedictine monk...

 synthesized the three previously disparate strands of modal theory: chant theory, the Byzantine oktōēchos
Octoechos
Oktōēchos is the name of the eight mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Syrian, Coptic, Byzantine, Armenian, Latin and Slavic churches since the middle ages...

and Boethius's account of Hellenistic theory (Powers 2001,§II.2). The later 9th-century treatise known as the Alia musica imposed the seven species of the octave described by Boethius onto the eight church modes (Powers 2001, §II.2(ii)). Thus, the names of the modes used today do not actually reflect those used by the Greeks.
The eight church modes, or Gregorian mode
Gregorian mode
A Gregorian mode is one of the eight systems of pitch organization used to describe Gregorian chant.The name of Pope Gregory I was attached to the variety of chant that was to become the dominant variety in medieval western and central Europe by the Frankish cantors reworking Roman ecclesiastical...

s, can be divided into four pairs, where each pair shares the "final" note and the four notes above the final, but have different ambitus
Ambitus (music)
Ambitus is a Latin term literally meaning "the going round", and in Medieval Latin means the "course" of a melodic line, most usually referring to the range of scale degrees attributed to a given mode, particularly in Gregorian chant. It may also refer to the range of a voice, instrument, or piece...

es, or ranges. If the "scale" is completed by adding three higher notes, the mode is termed authentic
Authentic mode
An authentic mode is one of four Gregorian modes whose final is the lowest note of the scale...

, if the scale is completed by adding three lower notes, it is called plagal
Plagal mode
A Plagal mode may mean different church chanting modes, depending on the context.-In Western Practice:A plagal mode   is a musical mode, which is one of four Gregorian modes whose range includes the octave from the fourth below the tonic, or final, to the fifth above...

(from Greek πλάγιος, "oblique, sideways"). Otherwise explained: if the melody moves mostly above the final, with an occasional cadence to the sub-final, the mode is authentic. Plagal modes shift range and also explore the fourth below the final as well as the fifth above. In both cases, the strict ambitus of the mode is one octave. A melody that remains confined to the mode's ambitus is called "perfect"; if it falls short of it, "imperfect"; if it exceeds it, "superfluous"; and a melody that combines the ambituses of both the plagal and authentic is said to be in a "mixed mode" (Rockstro 1880, 343).

Although the earlier (Greek) model for the Carolingian system was probably ordered like the Byzantine oktōēchos, with the four authentic modes first, followed by the four plagals, the earliest extant sources for the Latin system are organized in four pairs of authentic and plagal modes sharing the same final: protus authentic/plagal, deuterus authentic/plagal, tritus authentic/plagal, and tetrardus authentic/plagal (Powers 2001 §II, 1 (ii)).

Each mode has, in addition to its final, a "reciting tone
Reciting tone
In chant, a reciting tone is a repeated musical pitch around which the other pitches of the chant gravitate, or by extension, the entire melodic formula that centers on one or two such pitches. In Gregorian chant, reciting tones are used for a number of contexts, including the chanting of psalm...

", sometimes called the "dominant" (Apel 1969, 166; Smith 1989, 14). It is also sometimes called the "tenor", from Latin tenere "to hold", meaning the tone around which the melody principally centres (Fallows 2001). The reciting tones of all authentic modes began a fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

 above the final, with those of the plagal modes a third
Third
Third may refer to:*3 , such as the 3rd of something -see also Ordinal number *Fraction , such as 1/3*1/60 of a second, or 1/3,600 of a minute *Third World, economically underdeveloped nations...

 above. However, the reciting tones of modes 3, 4, and 8 rose one step
Steps and skips
In music, a step, or conjunct motion, is a linear or successive interval between two pitches which are consecutive scale degrees. Any larger interval is called a skip , or disjunct motion...

 during the tenth and eleventh centuries with 3 and 8 moving from B to C (half step) and that of 4 moving from G to A (whole step) (Hoppin 1978, 67).

After the reciting tone, every mode is distinguished by scale degrees called "mediant" and "participant". The mediant is named from its position between the final and reciting tone. In the authentic modes it is the third of the scale, unless that note should happen to be B, in which case C substitutes for it. In the plagal modes, its position is somewhat irregular. The participant is an auxiliary note, generally adjacent to the mediant in authentic modes and, in the plagal forms, coincident with the reciting tone of the corresponding authentic mode (some modes have a second participant) (Rockstro 1880, 342).

Only one accidental
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

 is used commonly in Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

—B may be lowered by a half-step to B. This usually (but not always) occurs in modes V and VI, as well as in the upper tetrachord of IV, and is optional in other modes except III, VII and VIII (Powers 2001, §II.3.i(b), Ex. 5).
Mode I II III IV V VI VII VIII
Name Dorian
Dorian mode
Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

Hypodorian
Hypodorian mode
The Hypodorian mode, a musical term literally meaning 'below dorian', derives its name from a tonos or octave species of ancient Greece which, in its diatonic genus, is built from a tetrachord consisting of a semitone followed by two whole tones. The rising scale for the octave is a single tone...

Phrygian
Phrygian mode
The Phrygian mode can refer to three different musical modes: the ancient Greek tonos or harmonia sometimes called Phrygian, formed on a particular set octave species or scales; the Medieval Phrygian mode, and the modern conception of the Phrygian mode as a diatonic scale, based on the latter...

Hypophrygian
Hypophrygian mode
The Hypophrygian mode, literally meaning 'below Phrygian', is a musical mode or diatonic scale in medieval chant theory, the fourth mode of church music. This mode is the plagal counterpart of the authentic third mode, which was called Phrygian...

Lydian
Lydian mode
The Lydian musical scale is a rising pattern of pitches comprising three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone. This sequence of pitches roughly describes the fifth of the eight Gregorian modes, known as Mode V or the authentic mode on F, theoretically using B but in...

Hypolydian
Hypolydian mode
The Hypolydian mode, literally meaning "below Lydian", is the common name for the sixth of the eight medieval church modes . The name is taken from Ptolemy of Alexandria's term for one of his seven tonoi, or transposition keys...

Mixolydian
Mixolydian mode
Mixolydian mode may refer to one of three things: the name applied to one of the ancient Greek harmoniai or tonoi, based on a particular octave species or scale; one of the medieval church modes; a modern musical mode or diatonic scale, related to the medieval mode.-Greek Mixolydian:The idea of a...

Hypomixolydian
Final (note) D D E E F F G G
Final (solfege) re re mi mi fa fa sol sol
Dominant (note) A F B-C G-A C A D B-C
Dominant (solfege) la fa si-do sol-la do la re si-do


In 1547, the Swiss theorist Henricus Glareanus
Heinrich Glarean
Heinrich Glarean was a Swiss music theorist, poet and humanist. He was born in Mollis and died in Freiburg....

 published the Dodecachordon, in which he solidified the concept of the church modes, and added four additional modes: the Aeolian (mode 9), Hypoaeolian
Hypoaeolian mode
The Hypoaeolian mode, literally meaning "below Aeolian", is the name assigned by Henricus Glareanus in his Dodecachordon to the plagal mode on A, which uses the diatonic octave species from E to the E an octave above, divided by the final into a second-species fourth plus a first-species fifth :...

 (mode 10), Ionian
Ionian mode
Ionian mode is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new authentic mode on C , which uses the diatonic octave species from C to the C an octave higher, divided at G into a fourth species of perfect fifth plus a third species of perfect fourth : C D...

 (mode 11), and Hypoionian (mode 12). A little later in the century, the Italian Gioseffo Zarlino
Gioseffo Zarlino
Gioseffo Zarlino was an Italian music theorist and composer of the Renaissance. He was possibly the most famous music theorist between Aristoxenus and Rameau, and made a large contribution to the theory of counterpoint as well as to musical tuning.-Life:Zarlino was born in Chioggia, near Venice...

 at first adopted Glarean's system in 1558, but later (1571 and 1573) revised the numbering and naming conventions in a manner he deemed more logical, resulting in the widespread promulgation of two conflicting systems. Zarlino's system reassigned the six pairs of authentic–plagal mode numbers to finals in the order of the natural hexachord, C D E F G A, and transferred the Greek names as well, so that modes 1 through 8 now became C-authentic to F-plagal, and were now called by the names Dorian to Hypomixolydian. The pair of G modes were numbered 9 and 10 and were named Ionian and Hypoionian, while the pair of A modes retained both the numbers and names (11, Aeolian, and 12 Hypoaeolian) of Glarean's system (Powers 2001 §III.4(ii)(a) & §III.5(i)).

In the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some chant reformers (notably the editors of the Mechlin
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

, Pustet
Pustet
-History:The original home of the Pustets was the Republic of Venice, where the name Bustetto is common. Probably in the seventeenth century, the founder of the Ratisbon line emigrated to South Germany, where one of his descendants, Anton Pustet, lived as a poor bookbinder in the Lower Bavarian...

-Ratisbon (Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

), and Rheims-Cambrai
Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

 Office-Books, collectively referred to as the Cecilian movement
Cecilian Movement
The Cecilian Movement of church reform was centered in Italy but received great impetus from Regensburg, Germany, where Franz Xaver Haberl had a world-renowned Kirchenmusicschule...

) renumbered the modes once again, this time retaining the original eight mode numbers and Glareanus's modes 9 and 10, but assigning numbers 11 and 12 to the modes on the final B, which they named Locrian and Hypolocrian (even while rejecting their use in chant). The Ionian and Hypoionian modes (on C) become in this system modes 13 and 14 (Rockstro 1880, 342).

Given the confusion between ancient, medieval, and modern terminology, "today it is more consistent and practical to use the traditional designation of the modes with numbers one to eight" (Curtis 1997), using Roman numeral (I-VIII), rather than using the pseudo-Greek naming system. Contemporary terms, also used by scholars, are simply the Greek ordinals ("first", "second", etc.), usually transliterated into the Latin alphabet: protus (πρῶτος), deuterus (δεύτερος), tritus (τρίτος), and tetrardus (τέταρτος), in practice used as: protus authentus / plagalis.


Use


A mode indicated a primary pitch (a final); the organization of pitches in relation to the final; suggested range; melodic formulas associated with different modes; location and importance of cadences; and affect (i.e., emotional effect/character). Liane Curtis writes that "Modes should not be equated with scales: principles of melodic organization, placement of cadences, and emotional affect are essential parts of modal content" in Medieval and Renaissance music (Curtis 1997 in Knighton 1997).

Carl Dahlhaus
Carl Dahlhaus
Carl Dahlhaus , a musicologist from Berlin, was one of the major contributors to the development of musicology as a scholarly discipline during the post-war era....

 (1990, 192) lists "three factors that form the respective starting points for the modal theories of Aurelian of Réôme
Aurelian of Réôme
Aurelian of Réôme was a Frankish writer and music theorist. He is the author of the Musica disciplina, the earliest extant treatise on music from medieval Europe.- Life :...

, Hermannus Contractus
Hermannus Contractus
Hermann of Reichenau , also called Hermannus Contractus or Hermannus Augiensis or Herman the Cripple, was an 11th century scholar, composer, music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. He composed the Marian prayer Alma Redemptoris Mater...

, and Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo or Guido Aretinus or Guido da Arezzo or Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo was a music theorist of the Medieval era...

:
  • the relation of modal formulas to the comprehensive system of tonal relationships embodied in the diatonic scale;
  • the partitioning of the octave into a modal framework; and
  • the function of the modal final as a relational center."

The oldest medieval treatise regarding modes is Musica disciplina by Aurelian of Réôme (dating from around 850) while Hermannus Contractus was the first to define modes as partitionings of the octave (Dahlhaus 1990, 192–91). However, the earliest Western source using the system of eight modes is the Tonary of St Riquier, dated between about 795 and 800 (Powers 2001, §II 1(ii)).

Various interpretations of the "character" imparted by the different modes have been suggested. Three such interpretations, from Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo or Guido Aretinus or Guido da Arezzo or Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo was a music theorist of the Medieval era...

 (995–1050), Adam of Fulda
Adam of Fulda
Adam of Fulda was a German musical author of the second half of the 15th century. He was born in Fulda and died in Wittenberg....

 (1445–1505), and Juan de Espinoza Medrano (1632–1688), follow:
Name Mode D'Arezzo Fulda Espinoza Example chant
Dorian I serious any feeling happy, taming the passions Veni sancte spiritus (listen)
Hypodorian II sad sad serious and tearful Iesu dulcis amor meus (listen)
Phrygian III mystic vehement inciting anger Kyrie, fons bonitatis (listen)
Hypophrygian IV harmonious tender inciting delights, tempering fierceness Conditor alme siderum (listen)
Lydian V happy happy happy Salve Regina (listen)
Hypolydian VI devout pious tearful and pious Ubi caritas (listen)
Mixolydian VII angelical of youth uniting pleasure and sadness Introibo (listen)
Hypomixolydian VIII perfect of knowledge very happy Ad cenam agni providi (listen)


Modern



Although many of the names of modes in modern music theory are the same as names used by the ancient Greeks, they do not represent the same sequences of intervals found in the octave species
Octave species
In early Greek music theory, an octave species is a sequence of incomposite intervals making up a complete octave...

 on which the harmoniai were based. In the modern western conception, a mode encompasses the same set of diatonic intervals as the major scale. However, a different "tonic" (central tone) is used, resulting in a different sequence of whole and half steps above it.

By definition, all major scale
Major scale
In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

s use the same interval sequence T-T-s-T-T-T-s, where "s" means a semitone and "T" means a whole tone (two semitones). From the modal point of view, this interval sequence is called the Ionian or Major mode. It is one of the seven modern modes—seven because only seven diatonic notes can be used as the tonic. Taking any major scale, a new scale is obtained by taking a different degree of the major scale as the tonic. Depending on the degree chosen, this new scale is in one of the other six modes, as follows:
Mode Tonic relative
to major scale
White
note
Interval sequence
Ionian
Ionian mode
Ionian mode is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new authentic mode on C , which uses the diatonic octave species from C to the C an octave higher, divided at G into a fourth species of perfect fifth plus a third species of perfect fourth : C D...

I C T-T-s-T-T-T-s
Dorian
Dorian mode
Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

II D T-s-T-T-T-s-T
Phrygian
Phrygian mode
The Phrygian mode can refer to three different musical modes: the ancient Greek tonos or harmonia sometimes called Phrygian, formed on a particular set octave species or scales; the Medieval Phrygian mode, and the modern conception of the Phrygian mode as a diatonic scale, based on the latter...

III E s-T-T-T-s-T-T
Lydian
Lydian mode
The Lydian musical scale is a rising pattern of pitches comprising three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone. This sequence of pitches roughly describes the fifth of the eight Gregorian modes, known as Mode V or the authentic mode on F, theoretically using B but in...

IV F T-T-T-s-T-T-s
Mixolydian
Mixolydian mode
Mixolydian mode may refer to one of three things: the name applied to one of the ancient Greek harmoniai or tonoi, based on a particular octave species or scale; one of the medieval church modes; a modern musical mode or diatonic scale, related to the medieval mode.-Greek Mixolydian:The idea of a...

V G T-T-s-T-T-s-T
Aeolian
Aeolian mode
The Aeolian mode is a musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale called the natural minor scale.The word "Aeolian" in the music theory of ancient Greece was an alternative name for what Aristoxenus called the Low Lydian tonos , nine semitones...

VI A T-s-T-T-s-T-T
Locrian
Locrian mode
The Locrian mode is either a musical mode or simply a diatonic scale. Although the term occurs in several classical authors on music theory, including Cleonides and Athenaeus , there is no warrant for the modern usage of Locrian as equivalent to Glarean's Hyperaeolian mode, in either classical,...

VII B s-T-T-s-T-T-T


where "white note" indicates the starting note for an (upwards) scale of eight white notes on the piano that provides an example of the mode.

Modern modal scales on the natural notes


This is a simple list of all of the scales (modes) in a key signature with no sharps or flats.

Ionian (I)



Ionian may arbitrarily be designated the first mode. It is identical to the modern major scale, and begins on C. It consists of C (the tonic), D (a major second above the tonic), E (a major third above the tonic), F (a perfect fourth), G (a perfect fifth), A (a major sixth), B (a major seventh), and the upper-octave C to complete the scale.
  • Tonic triad: C
  • Tonic seventh chord: CM7
  • Dominant triad (in modern tonal thinking, the next-most important chord root after the tonic): G
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: G7 (a "dominant 7th" chord type, so-called because of its position in this—and only this—modal scale)

Dorian (II)



Dorian is then the second mode, beginning on D. It consists of D (the tonic), E (a major second), F (a minor third), G (a perfect fourth), A (a perfect fifth), B (a major sixth), C, (a minor seventh), and the upper-octave D.

A modern natural-minor scale is the same as the Aeolian mode (below), with minor third, sixth, and seventh. The major sixth differentiates this scale from the natural-minor scale.
  • Tonic triad: Dm
  • Tonic seventh chord: Dm7
  • Dominant triad: Am
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Am7 (a "minor seventh
    Minor seventh chord
    In music, a minor seventh chord is any nondominant seventh chord where the "third" note is a minor third above the root.Most typically, minor seventh chord refers to where the "seventh" note is a minor seventh above the root...

    " chord type). By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 4.

Phrygian (III)



Phrygian is the third mode, starting in E. It consists of E (the tonic), F (a minor second), G (a minor third), A (a perfect fourth), B (a perfect fifth), C (a minor sixth), D (a minor seventh), and the upper-octave E.

As mentioned above, the modern minor scale has a minor third, sixth, and seventh. The minor second in addition here makes the scale Phrygian, not Aeolian (natural minor).
  • Tonic triad: Em
  • Tonic seventh chord: Em7
  • Dominant triad: Bdim
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: B75 (or Bø), a "dominant-seventh-flat-five" or "half-diminished seventh
    Half-diminished seventh chord
    In music theory, the half-diminished seventh chord is created by taking the root, minor third, diminished fifth and minor seventh of any major scale; for example, C half-diminished is . Its consecutive intervals are minor 3rd, minor 3rd, major 3rd...

    " chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 3.

Lydian (IV)



Lydian is the fourth mode, starting on F. It consists of F (the tonic), G (a major second), A (a major third), B (an augmented fourth), C (a perfect fifth), D (a major sixth), E (a major seventh), and the upper-octave F.

The single tone that differentiates this scale from the major (Ionian), is its fourth degree, which its an augmented fourth above the tonic.
  • Tonic triad: FM
  • Tonic seventh chord: FM7
  • Dominant triad: CM
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: CM7, a "major-seventh
    Major seventh chord
    In music, a major seventh chord is any nondominant seventh chord where the "third" note is a major third above the root.Most typically, major seventh chord refers to where the "seventh" note is a major seventh above the root . This is more precisely known as the major/major seventh chord, and it...

    " chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 2.

Mixolydian (V)



Mixolydian is the fifth mode, beginning on G. It consists of G (the tonic), A (a major second), B (a major third), C (a perfect fourth), D (a perfect fifth), E (a major sixth), F (a minor seventh), and the upper-octave G.
  • Tonic triad: GM
  • Tonic seventh chord: G7 (the "dominant-seventh" chord type in this mode is the seventh chord built on the tonic degree)
  • Dominant triad: Dm
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Dm7, a "minor-seventh" chord type.

Aeolian (VI)



Aeolian is the sixth mode, beginning on A. It is also called the "natural minor scale". It consists of an A (the tonic), B (a major second), C (a minor third), D (a perfect fourth), E (a perfect fifth), F (a minor sixth), G (a minor seventh), and the upper octave, A.
  • Tonic triad: Am
  • Tonic seventh chord: Am7
  • Dominant triad: Em
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Em7, a "minor-seventh" chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 7.

Locrian (VII)



Locrian is the seventh and final mode, and begins on B. It consists of B (the tonic), C (a minor second), D (a minor third), E (a perfect fourth), F (a diminished fifth), G (a minor sixth), A (a minor seventh), and the upper-octave B.

The distinctive degree here is the diminished fifth. This makes the tonic triad diminished, so this mode is the only one in which the chords built on the tonic and dominant scale degrees have their roots separated by a diminished, rather than perfect, fifth. Similarly the tonic seventh chord is half-diminished.
  • Tonic triad: Bdim or B°
  • Tonic seventh chord: Bm75 or Bø
  • Dominant triad: FM
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: FM7, a major-seventh chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 6.


The modes can be arranged in the following sequence, which follows the circle of fifths
Circle of fifths
In music theory, the circle of fifths shows the relationships among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys...

. In this sequence, each mode has one more lowered interval above the tonic than the one preceding it. Thus taking Lydian as reference, Ionian (major) has a lowered fourth; Mixolydian, a lowered fourth and seventh; Dorian, a lowered fourth, seventh, and third; Aeolian (Natural Minor), a lowered fourth, seventh, third, and sixth; Phrygian, a lowered fourth, seventh, third, sixth, and second; and Locrian, a lowered fourth, seventh, third, sixth, second, and fifth. Put another way, the augmented fourth of the Lydian scale has been reduced to a perfect fourth in Ionian, the major seventh in Ionian, to a minor seventh in Mixolydian, etc.
Mode White
note
Intervals in the modal scales
prime second third fourth fifth sixth seventh octave
Lydian F perfect major major augmented perfect major major perfect
Ionian C perfect
Mixolydian G minor
Dorian D minor
Aeolian A minor
Phrygian E minor
Locrian B diminished


The first three modes are sometimes called major, the next three minor, and the last one diminished (Locrian), according to the quality of their tonic
Tonic (music)
In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord...

 triads
Triad (music)
In music and music theory, a triad is a three-note chord that can be stacked in thirds. Its members, when actually stacked in thirds, from lowest pitched tone to highest, are called:* the Root...

.

The Locrian mode is traditionally considered theoretical rather than practical because the triad built on the seventh scale degree is diminished. Diminished triads are not consonant and therefore do not lend themselves to cadential endings
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

. A diminished chord cannot be tonicized according to traditional phrasing practice.

Major modes


The Ionian mode corresponds to the major scale. Scales in the Lydian mode are major scales with the fourth degree raised a semitone. The Mixolydian mode corresponds to the major scale with the seventh degree lowered a semitone.

Minor modes


The Aeolian mode is identical to the natural minor scale. The Dorian mode corresponds to the natural minor scale with the sixth degree raised a semitone. The Phrygian mode corresponds to the natural minor scale with the second degree lowered a semitone.

Diminished mode


The Locrian is neither a major nor a minor mode because, although its third scale degree is minor, the fifth degree is diminished instead of perfect. For this reason it is sometimes called a "diminished" scale, though in jazz theory this term is also applied to the octatonic scale
Octatonic scale
An octatonic scale is any eight-note musical scale. Among the most famous of these is a scale in which the notes ascend in alternating intervals of a whole step and a half step, creating a symmetric scale...

. This interval is enharmonically equivalent to the augmented fourth found between scale-degrees 1 and 4 in the Lydian mode and is also referred to as the tritone
Tritone
In classical music from Western culture, the tritone |tone]]) is traditionally defined as a musical interval composed of three whole tones. In a chromatic scale, each whole tone can be further divided into two semitones...

.

Use


Use and conception of modes or modality today is different from that in early music. As Jim Samson explains, "Clearly any comparison of medieval and modern modality would recognize that the latter takes place against a background of some three centuries of harmonic tonality, permitting, and in the nineteenth century requiring, a dialogue between modal and diatonic procedure" (Samson 1977, 148). Indeed, when 19th-century composers revived the modes, they rendered them more strictly than Renaissance composers had, to make their qualities distinct from the prevailing major-minor system. Renaissance composers routinely sharped leading tones at cadences and lowered the fourth in the Lydian mode (Carver 2005, 74 n4).

The Ionian (or Iastian) mode is another name for the major scale
Major scale
In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

 used in much Western music. The Aeolian forms the base of the most common Western minor scale; in modern practice the Aeolian mode is differentiated from the minor by using only the seven notes of the Aeolian scale. By contrast, minor mode compositions of the common practice period
Common practice period
The common practice period, in the history of Western art music , spanning the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, lasted from c. 1600 to c. 1900.-General characteristics:...

 frequently raise the seventh scale degree by a semitone to strengthen the cadences
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

, and in conjunction also raise the sixth scale degree by a semitone to avoid the awkward interval of an augmented second. This is particularly true of vocal music (Jones 1974, 29).

Traditional folk music provides countless examples of modal melodies. For example, Irish traditional music
Folk music of Ireland
The folk music of Ireland is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Ireland.-History:...

 makes extensive usage not only of the major mode, but also the Mixolydian, Dorian, and Aeolian modes (Cooper 1995, 9-20).

Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is best known internationally as the creator of the Kodály Method.-Life:Born in Kecskemét, Kodály learned to play the violin as a child....

, Gustav Holst
Gustav Holst
Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

, Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla y Matheu was a Spanish Andalusian composer of classical music. With Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Joaquín Turina he is one of Spain's most important musicians of the first half of the 20th century....

 use modal elements as modifications of a diatonic background, while in the music of Debussy and Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 modality replaces diatonic tonality (Samson 1977)

Other types


While the term "mode" is still most commonly understood to refer to Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, or Locrian scales, in modern music theory the word is sometimes applied to scales other than the diatonic. This is seen, for example, in "melodic minor
Minor scale
A minor scale in Western music theory includes any scale that contains, in its tonic triad, at least three essential scale degrees: 1) the tonic , 2) a minor-third, or an interval of a minor third above the tonic, and 3) a perfect-fifth, or an interval of a perfect fifth above the tonic, altogether...

" scale harmony, which is based on the seven rotations of the ascending melodic minor scale, yielding some interesting scales as shown below. The "chord" row lists chords that can be built from the given mode.
Mode I II III IV V VI VII
Name Melodic minor Dorian 2 Lydian augmented Lydian dominant Mixolydian 6 or "Hindu" half-diminished (or) Locrian Natural 2nd altered
Altered scale
In jazz, the altered scale or altered dominant scale is a seven-note scale that differs from the Locrian mode in having a lowered fourth scale degree. Starting on C, it contains the notes: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. In jazz, the altered scale or altered dominant scale is a seven-note scale that...

 (or) diminished whole-tone (or) Super Locrian
Chord C-minmaj7 D-9 Emaj5 F711 G713 Aø (or) A-75 B7alt

Mode I II III IV V VI VII
Name Harmonic minor Locrian Natural 6th Ionian 5 Ukrainian minor Phrygian major 3rd
Phrygian dominant scale
In music, the altered Phrygian scale or Freygish scale , featuring an unusual key signature and a distinctive augmented second interval, is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant...

Lydian 2 Super Locrian diminished
Chord C-minmaj7 E-maj75 F-7 G7 A-maj7 (or) A-minmaj7 B-Dim7

Mode I II III IV V VI VII
Name Double harmonic scale Lydian 2 6 Phrygian 4 7 Hungarian gypsy scale
Hungarian gypsy scale
The Hungarian Gypsy Scale is a name given by different authorities to two different scale forms. The more commonly used of these scales is the fourth mode of the Double harmonic scale , it can be found by sharpening the 4th degree of the harmonic minor scale to introduce an additional gap, or...

Locrian Nat6 3 Harmonic Major 5 2 Locrian 3 7
Chord Cmaj7 Dbmaj7 Edim7nat5 F-maj7 G7flat5 Abmaj7#5 Bdim7flat3


The number of possible modes for any intervallic set is dictated by the pattern of intervals in the scale. For scales built of a pattern of intervals that only repeats at the octave (like the diatonic set), the number of modes is equal to the number of notes in the scale. Scales with a recurring interval pattern smaller than an octave, however, have only as many modes as notes within that subdivision: e.g., the diminished scale, which is built of alternating whole and half steps, has only two distinct modes, since all odd-numbered modes are equivalent to the first (starting with a whole step) and all even-numbered modes are equivalent to the second (starting with a half step). The chromatic
Chromatic scale
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone apart. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the half steps are the same size...

 and whole-tone scales, each containing only steps of uniform size, have only a single mode each, as any rotation of the sequence results in the same sequence. Another general definition excludes these equal-division scales, and defines modal scales as subsets of them: "If we leave out certain steps of a[n equal-step] scale we get a modal construction" (Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

, in Cott 1973, 101). In "Messiaen's
Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

 narrow sense, a mode is any scale made up from the 'chromatic total,' the twelve tones of the tempered system" (Vieru 1985, 63).

Analogues in different musical traditions

  • Dastgah
    Dastgah
    Dastgāh is a musical modal system in traditional Persian art music. Persian art music consists of twelve principal musical modal systems or dastgāhs; in spite of 50 or more extant dastgāhs, theorists generally refer to a set of twelve principal ones...

  • Echos
    Echos
    Echos is the name in Byzantine music theory for a mode within the eight mode system , each of them ruling several melody types, and it is used in the melodic and rhythmic composition of Byzantine chant , differentiated according to the chant genre and according to the performance style...

  • Makam
    Makam
    Makam In Turkish classical music, a system of melody types called makam provides a complex set of rules for composing and performance...

  • Maqam
    Arabic maqam
    Arabic maqām is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music, which is mainly melodic. The word maqam in Arabic means place, location or rank. The Arabic maqam is a melody type...

  • Pathet
    Pathet
    The pathet is an organizing concept in gamelan music. It is difficult to explain, but is similar to the melody types, that is, for example, modes, ragas, or maqamat, of other musics....

  • Pentatonic scale
    Pentatonic scale
    A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five notes per octave in contrast to a heptatonic scale such as the major scale and minor scale...

  • Raga
    Raga
    A raga is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made...

  • Thaat
    Thaat
    A thāt is a mode in northern Indian or Hindustani music. Thāts always have seven different pitches and are a basis for the organization and classification of ragas in North Indian classical music.- System :...


See also

  • Byzantine chant
  • Cantus firmus
    Cantus firmus
    In music, a cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition.The plural of this Latin term is , though the corrupt form canti firmi is also attested...

  • Diatonic and chromatic
    Diatonic and chromatic
    Diatonic and chromatic are terms in music theory that are most often used to characterize scales, and are also applied to intervals, chords, notes, musical styles, and kinds of harmony...

  • Gamut (music)
  • Jewish Prayer Modes
    Jewish prayer modes
    Jewish liturgical music is characterized by a set of musical modes. There are a number of ways to define a musical mode - many scholars think about a mode as a collection of pitches or a scale, while others define a mode as a collection of musical motives or phrases....

  • List of musical scales and modes

Further reading

  • Fellerer, Karl Gustav. 1982. "Kirchenmusikalische Reformbestrebungen um 1800". Analecta Musicologica: Veröffentlichungen der Musikgeschichtlichen Abteilung des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom 21:393–408.
  • Grout, Donald, Claude Palisca, and J. Peter Burkholder (2006). A History of Western Music. New York: W. W. Norton. 7th edition. ISBN 0-393-97991-1.
  • Judd, Cristle (ed) (1998). Tonal Structures in Early Music: Criticism and Analysis of Early Music, 1st ed. New York: Garland. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
  • Levine, Mark (1989). The Jazz Piano Book. Petaluma, CA: Sher Music Co. ISBN 0-9614701-5-1.
  • Lonnendonker, Hans. 1980. "Deutsch-französische Beziehungen in Choralfragen. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des gregorianischen Chorals in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts". In Ut mens concordet voci: Festschrift Eugène Cardine zum 75. Geburtstag, edited by Johannes Berchmans Göschl, 280–95. St. Ottilien: EOS-Verlag. ISBN 3-88096-100-X
  • McAlpine, Fiona (2004). "Beginnings and Endings: Defining the Mode in a Medieval Chant". Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 45, nos. 1 & 2 (17th International Congress of the International Musicological Society IMS Study Group Cantus Planus): 165–77.
  • Meeùs, Nicolas (1997). "Mode et système. Conceptions ancienne et moderne de la modalité". Musurgia 4, no. 3:67–80.
  • Meeùs, Nicolas (2000). "Fonctions modales et qualités systémiques". Musicae Scientiae, Forum de discussion 1:55–63.
  • Meier, Bernhard (1988). The Modes of Classical Vocal Polyphony: Described According to the Sources, translated from the German by Ellen S. Beebe, with revisions by the author. New York: Broude Brothers. ISBN 978-0-8450-7025-3
  • Miller, Ron (1996). Modal Jazz Composition and Harmony, Vol. 1. Rottenburg, Germany: Advance Music.
  • Pfaff, Maurus. 1974. "Die Regensburger Kirchenmusikschule und der cantus gregorianus im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert". Gloria Deo-pax hominibus. Festschrift zum hundertjährigen Bestehen der Kirchenmusikschule Regensburg, Schriftenreihe des Allgemeinen Cäcilien-Verbandes für die Länder der Deutschen Sprache 9, edited by Franz Fleckenstein, 221–52. Bonn: Allgemeiner Cäcilien-Verband, 1974.
  • Powers, Harold (1998). "From Psalmody to Tonality". In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 275–340. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
  • Ruff, Anthony, and Raphael Molitor (2008). "Beyond Medici: The Struggle for Progress in Chant". Sacred Music 135, no. 2 (Summer): 26–44.
  • Scharnagl, August (1994). "Carl Proske (1794-1861)". In Musica divina: Ausstellung zum 400. Todesjahr von Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina und Orlando di Lasso und zum 200. Geburtsjahr von Carl Proske. Ausstellung in der Bischöflichen Zentralbibliothek Regensburg, 4. November 1994 bis 3. Februar 1995, Bischöfliches Zentralarchiv und Bischöfliche Zentralbibliothek Regensburg: Kataloge und Schriften, no. 11, edited by Paul Mai, 12-52. Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner, 1994.
  • Schnorr, Klemens (2004). "El cambio de la edición oficial del canto gregoriano de la editorial Pustet/Ratisbona a la de Solesmes en la época del Motu proprio". In El Motu proprio de San Pío X y la Música (1903–2003). Barcelona, 2003, edited by Mariano Lambea, introduction by María Rosario Álvarez Martínez and José Sierra Pérez. Revista de musicología 27, no. 1 (June) 197–209.
  • Street, Donald (1976). "The Modes of Limited Transposition". The Musical Times 117, no. 1604 (October): 819–23.
  • Vieru, Anatol (1992). "Generating Modal Sequences (A Remote Approach to Minimal Music)". Perspectives of New Music
    Perspectives of New Music
    Perspectives of New Music is a peer-reviewed, academic journal specializing in music theory and analysis. It was founded in 1962 by Arthur Berger and Benjamin Boretz , making it the second-oldest music-theory journal now published in the United States .Perspectives was a Princeton-based journal...

    30, no. 2 (Summer): 178–200.
  • Vincent, John
    John Vincent (composer)
    John Vincent was an American composer, conductor, and music educator.He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music under Frederick Converse and George Chadwick graduating with a diploma in 1927...

    (1974). The Diatonic Modes in Modern Music, revised edition. Hollywood: Curlew Music.
  • Wiering, Frans (1998). "Internal and External Views of the Modes". In Tonal Structures in Early Music, edited by Cristle Collins Judd, 87–107. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 1998; Criticism and Analysis of Early Music 1. New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.

External links

  • Neume Notation Project, "is principally an exploration of data representations for medieval music notations and data streams" http://www.scribeserver.com/medieval/index.html#contents
  • Booklet on the modes of ancient Greece with detailed examples of the construction of Aolus (reed pipe instruments) and monochord with which the intervals and modes of the Greeks might be reconstructed http://www.nakedlight.co.uk/pdf/articles/a-002.pdf
  • Division of the Tetrachord is a methodical overview of ancient Greek musical modes and contemporary use, including developments to Xenakis - http://eamusic.dartmouth.edu/~larry/published_articles/divisions_of_the_tetrachord/index.html
  • Delahoyd notes on ancient Greek music http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/greek.music.html
  • Hammel on modes,"We are not quite sure what a Greek mode really was.", with other useful glosses on music theory http://graham.main.nc.us/~bhammel/MUSIC/Gmodes.html
  • A Pathologist and pianist http://www.pathguy.com/modes.htm with some examples of 7 string tunings showing modes for popular songs and a collection of links.
  • An interactive demonstration of many scales and modes http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/
  • Nikolaos Ioannidis musician, composer has attempted to reconstruct ancient Greek music from a combination of the ancient texts (to be performed) and his knowledge of Greek music. http://homoecumenicus.com/ioannidis_music_ancient_greeks.htm
  • relatively concise overview of ancient Greek musical culture and philosophy http://arts.jrank.org/pages/258/ancient-Greek-music.html
  • Ἀριστοξενου ἁρμονικα στοιχεια: The Harmonics of Aristoxenus, edited with translation notes introduction and index of words by Henry S. Macran. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902.
  • Monzo, Joe. 2004. "The Measurement of Aristoxenus's Divisions of the Tetrachord"
  • Llorenç Balsach: Modes of the first eight 7-note chord-mode classes http://www.lamadeguido.com/appendix2.htm