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SLyGeN

Musical Modes!

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everyone loves me but no one quotes me in their sig like it's 2007 again =(

although, tbh, that phrase is how i've always differenciated between modes and kind-of-tonicized pitch class sets. if you're just using interesting tones, it's not a mode. if you're using it properly in respect to traditional modal harmonies, then it's clearly a mode.

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I agree with everything that's been said, except someone gave the notion that modal music is different from tonal music. Modal music is tonal. In fact that's exactly what you're all trying to tell me, is that there needs to be a clear tonic. I guess the only part that confuses me is that there appeared to be some implication that I didn't do that. Was it just a general comment?

Also, reading back, I see that my example wasn't totally clear. When I said E was my tonic, I meant to imply that I had tonicized it. Gario thinks I don't know what a tonic is ;o

My example was basically just me trying to demonstrate the idea that one can tonicize a phryican tonic without moving from b2 to 1, and that there is LOTS of overlap between motivic ideas between modes. That is to say, there are many pieces written in minor for which I could just revert to natural minor, and then augment the 6, and it would be undeniably Dorian. Modes aren't these totally foreign beasts; the voice leading can often be just the same as any other progression.

If you bust open a theory textbook, you might find a diagram like this:

chordprogm.jpg

It's a chart of a typical Classical chord progression in minor. Unfortunately I can't find it's Major equivalent, because the roman numerals would show the exact same value, but of course some different chord qualities. Two different modes, same chord progression. They're not so different.

also prophet, see sig.

also prophet, the difference between modes and kind-of tonicized pitch class sets is that modes aren't kind-of tonicized, they are tonicized.

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'Tonal' in your sense of the word, SLyGeN, is not 'tonal' in the common sense of it. Schoenberg, for example, used that word in the sense I believe you're thinking of, as music that centered around an important note that the rest of the music is heard to be based around (and, frankly, there's a whole lot of music that you wouldn't dare call 'tonal' that follow that formula, such as much of Ives music and Debussy's 'Viels/Sails' - most people today call it 'centric' music), in which case you're absolutely correct - Modal music is 'Tonal'.

The thing that we're commenting on is that it sounds like you're trying to claim that Modal music is the same as the 'Tonal' music that was used in the late Baroque/Classical/Romantic era with the exception of a few note changes, which is objectively incorrect. Modal music has absolutely no reference to Harmonic patterns & long scale relationships that Tonal music is blessed with (that phenomena didn't mature until Jean-Philippi Rameau's Treatise of Harmony in 1722, in fact), but solely to the contrapuntal relationships that are codified in Zarlino's Treatise on Counterpoint written in 1550 (which, itself, is a compilation of other older practices and sources that evolved from a concept documented as early as the late 9th century).

That pattern you expressed in your post has absolutely no meaning in the world of Modal music, because it's an application of a system that developed centuries after Modality died off. The terms 'Tonic', 'Dominant', 'Submediant', etc. cannot be applied to Modal music, nor can the concepts of 'Predominant Chords' or even 'Perfect/Imperfect Cadence' (as specifically defined in Tonal music). Of course, there is a 'cadence' in Counterpoint (which Modality is based on), but it isn't the same (although it's related).

I'm not saying you don't know what a tonic is. I'm saying using that using terms that apply to classical Tonality completely skews (and often reverses) the truth about Modality. They are not the same.

I think this quote summarizes what I'm saying I disagree with...

That is to say, there are many pieces written in minor for which I could just revert to natural minor, and then augment the 6, and it would be undeniably Dorian.

That is, on an objective level, not true. That is what I (and a few others) are saying, here. I'm truly trying to help you and educate you a little bit - this is a particular area that I have quite a bit of experience in.

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I'm not saying that when modal music was written that classical techniques were employed. I'm saying that classical techniques can be employed now, and whichever piece it is you're writing can still be modal.

The terms 'Tonic', 'Dominant', 'Submediant', etc. cannot be applied to Modal music, nor can the concepts of 'Predominant Chords' or even 'Perfect/Imperfect Cadence' (as specifically defined in Tonal music). Of course, there is a 'cadence' in Counterpoint (which Modality is based on), but it isn't the same (although it's related).

All of these things make perfect literal sense in a seven-tone modal scale. If you're going to tell me that the dominant chord is not dominant because it's of a different quality, then that's just bullshit. Yeah, your cadences are going to sound different, no shit. That's what makes it modal.

And, if you want a mode where your tried-and-true tonic, dominant, sub-dominant, and pre-dominant ideas work normally, see the Ionian mode :\

I'm not saying they're all exactly the same by any means. There are plenty of pieces where I've gone and flatted a few notes for my favorite modes, and it sounds terrible.

But to say it's not tonal? What, modal music is atonal? You've got to be shitting me. Modal music has a clear tonal center, and it's functional. What about it isn't tonal?

Gario, go ahead and elaborate on why music written in the key natural minor with a sharp 6th degree is not Dorian, please. You may as well be telling me gravity makes things fall up at this point.

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Yeah...going along with what Gario said, modal music is definitely based around a certain important note, but as an actual musical term, the word "tonal" is often used to refer specifically to music based on the major/minor scale system. While tonality also has a general meaning, when it's discussed alongside modality, it usually is referencing a specific development in music history (the one Gario talked about) to show its contrast with modal music, which was popular before the tonal system was really solidified.

Edit: I get what you're saying, SLyGenN, but the difference is that terms like "functional harmony" and "tonality" have taken on pretty specific meanings over the past couple hundred years, for the explicit purpose of differentiating it from modal music. I don't know if anybody is saying that modal music is "atonal," per se (although I have heard it discussed this way before), just that modal music exists in a separate category from both tonal music and atonal music.

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No. Modal music is modal. Atonal music is atonal.

Let's sum it up.

Tonal music = V I and derivations thereof. The dominant to tonic relationship is what makes tonal music thus. Modal music does not do this. Modal progressions rely on the characteristic tones of the mode to cadence.

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So if I'm analyzing a piece in a minor context and I have a simple cycle of fiths progression like III - VI - bII - vo - i, and that bII chord is always flat without fail, what are you going to call it? 'Cause that progression is used in modern shit, but if you don't call it Phrygian mode, I really don't know what to tell you.

Edit: I guess Adamantium Dude has boiled it down to a difference of terminology. Honestly to me it's like debating genres, but whatever. I'm still curious to know what one would call the example I gave, and what one would call the type of music I've been describing thus far (which I guess is classical chord progressions applied to modal scales. If you ask me, it's still modal god damn.)

Since it's gotten down to splitting hairs about semantics as all debates end up doing, here's an excerpt from the dictionary:

tonality: the organization of all the tones and harmonies of a piece of music in relation to a tonic.

So by adding your own connotative flavors to the word "tonal", in short time we were no longer discussing the same idea.

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So if I'm analyzing a piece in a minor context and I have a simple cycle of fiths progression like III - VI - bII - vo - i, and that bII chord is always flat without fail, what are you going to call it? 'Cause that progression is used in modern shit, but if you don't call it Phrygian mode, I really don't know what to tell you.

It's called a 'Neapolitan II'. It's a very common minor chord inflection, but it has nothing to do with the Phrygian function (Yes, it's sometimes called the Phrigian bII, but that creates a false image), since it immediately goes to V, not the root again.

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If the second degree is always flat, calling it a Neapolitan chord every time is just ridiculous. If it's a full song, there likely will come a point where it has no predominant function either.

Furthermore, a Neapolitan bII should be followed by the major V, not a diminished vo. You wouldn't be able to hit both of the chromatic neighbors around the tonic to create that unique flavor of the Neapolitan chord. If there is so much concern over functionality, that should have set off a red flag when you said it would be a Neapolitan chord.

(Granted, I have seen a theory book that completely disregards that 'wrapping' motion around the upper and lower chromatic neighbors of the tonic. However, I still disagree with the Neapolitan chord analysis for my example.)

Still using the cycle of fifths idea, what about (what I would say is) Dorian's #vio, or Mixolydian's bVII? Would the rest of you really just analyze them as altered chords, every time, instead of just saying "oh check it out, it's using a mixolydian scale because the seven is always flat."

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Sorry, I wanted to say more, but I was preoccupied. Now that I'm not, let's see if I can clarify any more (and after this point, I don't know how much more I can say - this isn't a PPR argument, after all, but fairly well established facts, so not much more that I can do except repeat a little from earlier).

Before I hammer you with my overbearing definition/crap/opinions/whatever, let me explain where you are coming from, where I'm coming from, and what I'm doing. You are coming from the music of today, where modes have been used in Pop, Rock and Jazz to add flavor to their songs without considering any of the long dead traditions of the past, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, at all. That music sounds as good as any other music you can listen to, because yes - tradition is indeed gone and is dated. I even told you there was nothing wrong with this in my first post.

From that first post, however, you expressed curiosity about my position. I am coming from the normal use of the term 'Tonal' in the realm of music theorists. I am, indeed, approaching it from the dated tradition and comparing the old 'tonal' tradition and the older 'modal' tradition and explaining exactly why they are not compatible.

I am trying to teach you where Modality came from and why it functions the way it did. I am representing the views of Zarlino and J. J. Fux in the Treaty and classical pedagogical presentation of it as clearly as I can without resorting to their dated language, which is objective, not subjective, in nature. This is, in essence, an educational post about historical facts that I figured you would find interesting, since you like to play with modal scales so much.

Don't take this as a criticism of your opinion, at all, because we left opinion behind when you asked me what I was talking about. This is now simply about explaining facts about the music you seem to be interested in. I hope this is clear, because I can't make the points presented any clearer without simply directing you to my sources (which I've actually stated again and again).

Alright, let's start from an earlier point in this discussion first (I couldn't address any of the earlier points, 'cause of time constraints). I don't want to dance around the meaning of my terminology anymore, since that seems to be causing confusion rather than clearing anything up, so I'm going to define some basic premises, for you.

The terms 'Tonic', 'Dominant', 'Submediant', etc. cannot be applied to Modal music, nor can the concepts of 'Predominant Chords' or even 'Perfect/Imperfect Cadence' (as specifically defined in Tonal music). Of course, there is a 'cadence' in Counterpoint (which Modality is based on), but it isn't the same (although it's related).
All of these things make perfect literal sense in a seven-tone modal scale.

Alright, then, identify Josquin (who writes in a true Modal medium) in the context of these terms. By sheer coincidence, they may line up from time to time, but most of the time the 'predominant' chords do not lead to the chords they 'should' lead to, the Dominant is not a required chord to end a piece on (it IS required, by the way, in Tonal music - the harmonic relationship between scale degrees 5 & 1 are fundamental to Tonality - any other lead to the tonic is merely a decoration, not a cadence, according to Schenker & many other Tonal specialists), and the third is not essential in chord construction (in fact, the concept of 'Chord construction' doesn't exist, in a Modalist's vocabulary, because all music was written through linear relationships, not harmonic ones).

In Tonality, each of these chords have direction and scope that guides the music to the end of phrases, the end of sections, and finally to the end of the piece. In Modality, that is absolutely not true - the structure was more often than not based on a precomposed single line of music that had it's own individual form, and the rest of the polyphonic lines needed to follow it (not necessarily be subservient to that line, however - most of the time, each individual line had equal importance to the precomposed line). In order to be pleasant, there was order as to what sonorities were acceptable, and these formed chords, as you know them, by sheer coincidence. Chords were of very little relevance to Modal music - it was the lines and their relationships to each other that was the primary importance.

All of these things make perfect literal sense in a seven-tone modal scale. If you're going to tell me that the dominant chord is not dominant because it's of a different quality, then that's just bullshit. Yeah, your cadences are going to sound different, no shit. That's what makes it modal.

Let me clarify a point I brushed over earlier...

Of course, there is a 'cadence' in Counterpoint (which Modality is based on), but it isn't the same (although it's related).

Technically, the linear relationships between the lines is what makes it modal, not the different 'cadences'. In fact, the different 'cadences' you're describing are not Modal cadences at all, since they do not fulfill the singe requirement of a Modal cadence.

The ONLY cadence that sounds different is the Phrygian one, since in order to cadence in Modal music the music must form a minor 3rd around the root and converge on the root, and Phrygian is the only mode that approaches this requirement differently. Every other key either uses the classical Ionian/Lydian model (where the key itself already allows for this to happen, since the lower note is merely a half-step away and the 2nd is a whole step above) or the Mixolydian/Dorian/Aeolian model (where the 7th MUST be raised in order to create that m3rd that converges to the root). Phrygian, however, has a LOWERED 2nd, which means the m3rd is in place, as is... but in reverse.

So, technically in Modal music all the Cadences sound the exact same, with the sole exception of the Phrygian... which brings me to my next point (I'm jumping, here, but it connects well enough).

So if I'm analyzing a piece in a minor context and I have a simple cycle of fiths progression like III - VI - bII - vo - i, and that bII chord is always flat without fail, what are you going to call it? 'Cause that progression is used in modern shit, but if you don't call it Phrygian mode, I really don't know what to tell you.

My last response, while I can assure you is correct, doesn't help you much because it doesn't explain why it isn't Phrygian. Here's why - in Phrygian (and in any Modal piece, for that matter), the tritone present in the 'vo' must converge to a M3rd/m6th, and this progression does not allow for this, at all. Otherwise, the dissonance is unresolved and the music falls apart, in the realm of Modal music.

That progression doesn't appear in Tonal music, except in the case where the vo is series of passing tones, but then it isn't relying on the harmonic structure and begins to break down the tonality to extended tonality, anyway (Mahler, Wagner, & early Schoenberg), so I don't see even the most ill informed & liberal Theory book ever presenting that progression as correct, anyway. Show me that progression in progress in a tonal/modal piece and we can discuss it in some more detail, if you'd like. Otherwise, I'm inclined to say you pulled that progression out of your... hat, and simply dismiss it as something you don't find in Tonal or modal Music.

I'm not saying they're all exactly the same by any means. There are plenty of pieces where I've gone and flatted a few notes for my favorite modes, and it sounds terrible.

Mmm... the concepts behind Double Counterpoint are coming to mind, here, but let me explain to you why not all music sounds any good in any mode. All modes have different interval relationships, meaning every mode has a different relationship between at least one interval (For example, the Ionian 2 - 6 interval is a P5th, while the Aeolian 2 - 6 is a d5th). Any moment where one song uses an interval of a P5th and it creates a d5th that doesn't resolve properly will sound like trash (other rules that are not followed, such as the forbidden use of augmented intervals & double leading tones, will create the same problems).

But to say it's not tonal? What, modal music is atonal? You've got to be shitting me. Modal music has a clear tonal center, and it's functional. What about it isn't tonal?

I've cleared this up before, so if this isn't an intentional equivocation then let me repeat this...

'Tonal' in your sense of the word, SLyGeN, is not 'tonal' in the common sense of it. Schoenberg, for example, used that word in the sense I believe you're thinking of, as music that centered around an important note that the rest of the music is heard to be based around (and, frankly, there's a whole lot of music that you wouldn't dare call 'tonal' that follow that formula, such as much of Ives music and Debussy's 'Viels/Sails' - most people today call it 'centric' music), in which case you're absolutely correct - Modal music is 'Tonal'.

The thing that we're commenting on is that it sounds like you're trying to claim that Modal music is the same as the 'Tonal' music that was used in the late Baroque/Classical/Romantic era with the exception of a few note changes, which is objectively incorrect.

Stop taking advantage of an ambiguous term - technically, all music is Tonal, in the sense you're using it, up until the advent of 12-tone music. We're not talking about that, we're talking about Tonal music as it was defined from 1722 - 1850. I already agree that MODERN music used 'modes' in a completely different manner, but at that point the music isn't 'Modal', anymore. It's 'Neo-classical', 'Minimalist', and a whole bunch of other genres (including the pseudo-Tonality that's in pop, today, that completely ignores crutial harmonic relationships) that take the scale of Modality and apply it to completely different contexts that are not Modal, at all.

So by adding your own connotative flavors to the word "tonal", in short time we were no longer discussing the same idea.

Well... then why did you ignore my earlier post trying to avoid that?

I'm going to end it by pleasantly answering this question...

Gario, go ahead and elaborate on why music written in the key natural minor with a sharp 6th degree is not Dorian, please. You may as well be telling me gravity makes things fall up at this point.

Rather than simply answering it, though, let me counter it with another question - why isn't it in a minor key that borrows heavily from the Major parallel? That's a tonal technique, and makes perfect sense as such.

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Sorry, Gario. After I read your last post I realize I sounded more abrasive than I intended to. You're right, apparently I was the one who added my own context to what you were telling me, and I shouldn't have come across so abrasively.

Although I do read over your posts in their entirety, you'll have to forgive me for that instance where it appeared as if I completely disregarded one of your points. It's a lot of material to consider at once, and that portion of your explanation must have slipped my mind as I was typing my responses.

You make a good point as far as stretching the definition of tonal. I try to just stick to the definition that I quoted from the dictionary, because I don't like using common adjectives to define periods in history. I wouldn't say that all music can be considered tonal, because some music totally disregards the idea of a tonic.

So, again, I now realize that you were enlightening me, at my own request even, so I have no place to disagree.

My cycle of fifths progression is (sort of) something I pulled out of my ass, but using the cycle of fifths to create a progression certainly isn't rare by any means. I guess it's more of a rock thing.. I really don't study my history and who used what where. I just know what's used.

I love you too, prophet.

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