Musical Greek ModesOne of the problems with 'majority rule' is the majority is usually wrong. - Thomas Jefferson
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Musical Greek Modes

Different musical scales constitute the different musical mode.

Musical Modes are the possible scales that can be made using only the "normal notes" or white keys on the piano.

It is interesting to realize the effect that changing the keys can have, since different intervals will appear and disappear. For example, there is no perfect fifth interval in the Locrain mode, which gives the music made from it a distinctive sound.

 

Mode Description
Ionic This is the common major scale.
Dorian or
Melodic minor ascending
This magical serene mode brings a sense of exaltation. It is commonly used in Gregorian chants and in various hit songs like Eleanore Rigby and Norwegian Wood by the Beatles.
Phrygian or
Natural Minor
This mode is dramatic and passionate, expressing sadness and sensitivity. It is commonly used in flamingo music from Spain.
Lydian or
Major
This mode is considered strange, because it contains two augmented fourths, or tri-tones, and is thought to be Asian in origin. In The Republic (572 BC) Plato banned the Lydian mode because he felt it was too feminine.
Mixolydian This mode is often used in religious chants, and is extroverted and happy. It is said to have been invented by Sappho of Lesbos.
Aeolian or
The natural minor scale
This melancholy yet quiet, dreamy mode seems to bring a sense of intimacy and poetry to simple sweet melodies.
Locrain This scale is considered unsettling, and is not in common usage.

A possible explanation is that this mode lacks the comfortable harmony of a perfect fifth interval. It is interesting to note, however, that it contains two tri-tone intervals.

 


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