• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

Guide to phyrgian mode?

A

aaronishappy

Guest
Im not great at music theory, I can read the dots and have an ok understanding of some standard concepts. I get major and minor keys (for the most part), but when it comes to modes I'm completely lost :? I know for folk music it's not as important to know, but I feel I'd have an easier time working out tunes by ear if I was more familiar with the scales used in klezmer music. Endless googling just gives me headaches... Can anyone help!?
 

Anyanka

Prolific poster
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,455
Reaction score
8
Location
Reigate, Surrey, UK
Disclaimer: All my knowledge of modes is based on one workshop with John Kirkpatrick - other people on here probably know a lot more. ;)

As far as I understand, you get a 'mode' by starting your normal scale at a different point; i.e. if you take your basic C major scale but instead of playing it from C to C, you go from E to E in the Phrygian mode. There's often a clue in the key signature; if the tune starts and ends on an E but has no sharps or flats then you've probably gone modal.

I find it easiest to understand modes and their 'flavours' by trying them out on a piano keyboard.
 
R

Russ

Guest
From a Page called Klezmer Scales and Modes by Jason Rosenblatt:

D Freygish :
Scale
D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb, C, D
Chords
D , Gm, Cm

D Minor
Scale
D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C, D
Chords
Dm, Gm, C ……..

D Major
Scale
D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
Chords
D, G, A

Ahava Rabah (related to Freygish
B, C, D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb, C, D

Misheberaka
D, E, F, G#, A, B, C, D

It is great music - have fun
 
N

Nuuksu

Guest
Old church scale modes are actually quite easy to work out and very useful when improvising. One possibility to start with them is to as mentioned play C scale and start from different note.

Some useful tips for intermediate:

*Church modes are divided into minor and major sound exept one that is diminished sound

Major: ionian, lydian, mixolydian
Minor: dorian, phrygian, aeolian
Diminished: locrian

*Most common modes are ionian, which is actually natural major and aeolan which is natural minor
*Since these basic modes are not altered they are inversions but at same time they are actually other keys related to tonic, it makes very easy and quick way to get right notes after a little mental practicing

C ionian consist of C major notes because it is first mode and starts from tonic (C D E F G A B C) - major sound
C mixolydian consist of F major notes because it is fifth mode and starts from fifth degree, C is fifth degree of F major (C D E F G A Bb C) - major sound
C lydian consist of G major notes because it is fourth mode and starts from fourth degree, C is fourth degree of G major (C D E F# G A B C) - major sound
C dorian consist of Bb major notes because it is second mode and starts from second degree, C is second degree of Bb major (C D Eb F G A Bb C) - minor sound
C aeolian consist of Eb major notes because it is sixth mode and starts from sixth degree, C is sixth degree of Eb major (C D Eb F G Ab Bb C) - minor sound
C phrygian consist of Ab major notes because it is third mode and starts from third degree, C is third degree of Ab major (C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C) - minor sound
C locrian consist of Db major notes because it is seventh mode and starts from seventh degree, C is seventh degree of Db major (C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C) - diminished sound

Some examples how to get modes
*if we need A natural minor - aeolian we see that a is sixth degree of C major and use C major notes but start from A (A B C D E F G A)
*if we need F mixolydian we see that F is fifth degree of Bb major and use Bb major notes but start from F (F G A Bb C D Eb F)
*if we need B dorian we see that B is second degree of A major and use A major notes but start from B (B C# D E F# G# A B}

I hope, it helps.
 

donn

Prolific poster
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
15
Location
Seattle, Washington
For klezmer references, how about The Main Klezmer Modes? I like comprehensive treatments, where you can find out that within each of the named modes, there are enough variations that if you think you understand what anyone means, youre probably kidding yourself. This one gets a start in that direction, but leaves off at the connection with Turkish etc. systems, so it seems to me theres probably lots more to be said.
 
J

Jack Campin

Guest
I have a rather large tutorial on modes here:

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Modes/

I describe phrygian as it occurs in Scottish music (which is hardly at all). Its unusual in klezmer too. When you get flattened seconds theyre usually in the freygish mode.
 
A

aaronishappy

Guest
Thanks everyone, it certainly is a lot clearer! After trying it out on an actual piano keyboard the concept of modes has become much easier to understand. I have one problem though, when "counting" the degrees of the mode, lets say for example if I wanted to get the Lydian mode of F, Id count 4 forward to arrive at Bb, similarily if I wanted to get the Phyrgian mode of E Id get G# - but why and how can I tell if it will be a flattened or sharpened note and not a natural? The only reason I know they will be is from looking at a chart. I feel like theres something I missed out while learning random bits of music theory!

Also, is the Freygish scale simply the Phyrgian mode with the 3rd degree raised a half step?

Thanks again!
 
N

Nuuksu

Guest
To aaronishappy: Your logic is right but you simply counted degrees in wrong direction you got F mixolydian. If you need F lydian then F is fourth degree of C major so you actually need to count backwards - F(IV) E(III) D(II) C(I) same with mixolydian. Counting upwards Bb is fourth degree of F but mixolydian mode is fifth mode and F is fifth degree in Bb F(V) Eb(IV) D(III) C(II) Bb(I). And now you know that it consist of C major notes you start from F but use C major notes. Knowing are notes are sharpened or flattened is easy because it works same way as usual key signatures so only lydian mode consist sharpened fourth, ionian is natural and other modes consist more flattened notes with each mode. I don't know klezmer modes very well and other such kind exotic thing because they can actually contain scale degrees what isn't possible to play because they are quarter tones but many of them can be modes of harmonic or melodic major or minor. It is a little tricky to understand at beginning, I struggled too.
 

dunlustin

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,072
Reaction score
83
Location
S W England
Quote
' why and how can I tell ....'
Coming back to your piano, it should help if you look at intervals:
Major scale( or Ionian ) C D E F G A B C goes Tone, Tone, semi-tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, semi-tone.
Dorian, starting on D: D E F G A B C D goes Tone, semi-tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, semi-tone, Tone

So
Note the intervals and apply them to the major scale:
eg F Major
Dorian starting on G: G (1) A (1/2) Bb (1) C (1) D (1) E (1/2) G
To practise:
Write out the major scale of G.
Aolian is the mode based on the 6th note (E)
Using the intervals, write out the mode - it should look remarkably like the scale of Eminor.
 
J

Jack Campin

Guest
Also, is the Freygish scale simply the Phyrgian mode with the 3rd degree raised a half step?

Not quite, and it isnt exactly a scale. The idea of modes in traditional idioms is that they arent just a bunch of notes with a named tonal centre, they have associated stock phrases and cadences. Freygish has the extra feature that the the sixth below the tonal centre is invariably major (usually the centre is D and that note is B natural below the staff; Bs higher in the tunes range will be flat).

Its quite common for traditional modes to have a different scale pattern as you go upwards or downward in a melodic phrase. The Western minor scale retained that feature.
 
N

Nuuksu

Guest
When I studied jazz music we played melodic and harmonic minors and majors same in both directions. If you improvise you usually can't play harmonic and natural minor at same chord - example E7 - you can play A harmonic minor but not A natural minor. We discussed also this topic in music theory lectures and all teachers said that it is pointless to play them as different scales up and down. This ofcourse doesn't mean that it is suitable for folk music.
 
J

Jack Campin

Guest
Jazz theory as in the books is pretty irrelevant to any other kind of music (and even to most kinds of jazz).

But I find it hard to believe that even a born-again Berklee ideologue would want to rule out sharpened leading notes in minor keys.
 
A

aaronishappy

Guest
Ok, I get it now. For some reason I kept thinking, when counting to get the mode in terms of "ABCDEFG", without taking into account the sharps and flats of each of the major keys! It makes much more sense, in fact music as a whole seems to make much more sense!

Still trying to get klezmer scales though, but for the time-being Im happy to understand modes better now, so thanks again everyone
 

Similar threads

Top