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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822525 03/03/19 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


I watched the coursera video on defining modes by the lowered notes rather than the degree of scale you start on, and that makes more sense to me from an experiential rather than academic view. But that's also what triggered the thought that starting on the degree of the scale assumes equal temperament, and that very well may not have been the case when church modes were the rage.

If you move from Ionian (major) to Dorian, lowering notes would work fine so long as D major itself was tuned in a way that pleased you. Back in the Renaissance we don't know what people did, but it is likely that in D Dorian, using it as an example, the 5ths would have been sung at least close to beatless. You won't hear BF for obvious reasons IF you are confined strictly to the mode.

I can think either way, but getting a mode from another key (such as getting A natural minor from C) is slower for me and not as useful. In most music it is more likely that you will move from A major to one of the A minors, and in our modern music this is especially useful because we have a blend of natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor, sometimes with Dorian stuck in. This involved always b3, but 6 and 7 are toggles and always moveable.

For me as a teacher it is far more intuitive to teach melodic minor first, only b3. Think of a Bb scale, just lowering D. Then from there you can lower G and A as you wish, getting different moods, and also modes.

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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822546 03/03/19 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Given the historical nature of the modes, can you separate them from the temperament (or the tuning, if the comma was left unsplit)?

There's an explanation on page 152 of this excerpt:
https://books.google.com/books?id=L...ss%20intervals%20harpsichord&f=false

I watched the coursera video on defining modes by the lowered notes rather than the degree of scale you start on, and that makes more sense to me from an experiential rather than academic view. But that's also what triggered the thought that starting on the degree of the scale assumes equal temperament, and that very well may not have been the case when church modes were the rage.


Tim, on all that laugh

Music has evolved over millenia, with concepts ideas morphing and recycling over and over. Different mindsets, philosophies, and trends come and go. For us in our time period, we have to look at how a given thing like modes is used now.

If you really want to go back historically, then you're in Ancient Greece. The modes consisted of sets of tetrachords: a P4 sandwich with two notes in between, and each of these sandwiches had a name. One of them had a quarter tone microtone. These packets were put together certain ways - two tetrachords gives you an octave so resembles a scale. These tone packets came together with rhythm packets. Each of these was thought to elicit certain moods, human character such as courage, fear, love. If you combined the tone and rhythm packet you would get just the right character/mood etc. effect. This came together with philosophy, ideal perfection thingies, mathematics etc.

The Indian Raga probably gets closest to that kind of musical thinking. It would be interesting to look into. smile Arabic modes I've just looked at recently - they might go that way. In any case, these are far removed from later modes.

These things got buried in Byzantium which came under the Ottoman Empire ruled by the Turks until centuries later our Constantinople, its other name, got liberated and the buried knowledge began circulating Western Europe. The ideals of the Greek times were hungrily studied by Middle Age Europe, which interpreted and pondered what it saw, and will have interpreted these things in their own way. That gets us into the "church modes" which like everything else was a passing phase.

Western Europe had been locked into religious chants, which gradually become complex with extra voices; pleasant intervals worked with P5's and octaves, and the third was finally allowed (started in France?), which automatically gives you chords, but they thought counterpoint, not chord. They experimented with expression emotion (affect), they experimented with things so much that it became more dissonant than consonant and then stepped way back from that again. What I'm trying to say is that music was not neat and tidy the way we get told.

Everything I use told you here is USELESS. wink How modes are used now: have been used by more modern composers (and maybe some older ones), how they are used in jazz and other genres - what we can do with them, and how this may help us understand written music - I think that is where it is at.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822548 03/03/19 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
in all fairness, this level of knowledge probably does not become accessible to 99% of piano students, who never reach the level of skill required.

What I am understanding is that modes are not these complicated beasts in the way they are taught in theory classes. That it is not some complicated advanced thing, and that some teachers do teach this, and maybe rather early on.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822570 03/04/19 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR

keystring,
in all fairness, this level of knowledge probably does not become accessible to 99% of piano students, who never reach the level of skill required.

Modes? Playing modes in different keys? Good GOD, I'm doing this with first and second year students.

If 99% of piano students can't do this stuff, it just means that 99% of piano teachers are incredibly incompetent and don't know spit.
Quote

And my point is some people make the jump from the academic to the execution, and most don't. What makes the difference?

Tim, honestly I'm trying not to shout: BUT THIS IS NOT ACADEMIC.

This is about basic skills, tools for piano. The fact that they are not taught has nothing to do with their difficulty. You might as well say that playing lines and spaces is academic because most people taking piano lessons can't do it.

Every student who comes to me is deficient in this - unless I've forgotten someone odd over the years. The reason is that my transfers come from incompetents. You will think I am being horribly critical of other teachers in my area, but you don't see and hear what I see and hear. Under a very rare situation someone may come to me after having moved from elsewhere, and that's different because then a good student may merely be trying to find another good teacher after moving.

I have been talking for years about the desperate state of piano instruction, but I honestly do not think people are listening.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: keystring] #2822571 03/04/19 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
in all fairness, this level of knowledge probably does not become accessible to 99% of piano students, who never reach the level of skill required.

What I am understanding is that modes are not these complicated beasts in the way they are taught in theory classes. That it is not some complicated advanced thing, and that some teachers do teach this, and maybe rather early on.

No. They are not. Dorian is an absolute fundamental for anyone ever wanting to play blues and jazz. Playing from D to D on the piano is not rocket science. It is not advanced of difficult. Any beginner can do it with one finger. Anyone who knows the D major scale can lower F# to F and C# to C and understand what is going on. If you know major scales, you can do this to any major scale. And Dorian is harder than Lydian and Mixolydian, each of which alter only one note.

The idea that this is advanced, or academic, is absolutely absurd. Why not say that everything we teach is only academic and will only be understood by 1% of the people we teach.

The EXPLANATIONS may be difficult, but only because people don't understand what they are teaching.

Last edited by Gary D.; 03/04/19 12:37 AM.
Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: Gary D.] #2822666 03/04/19 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR

And my point is some people make the jump from the academic to the execution, and most don't. What makes the difference?

Tim, honestly I'm trying not to shout: BUT THIS IS NOT ACADEMIC.

This is about basic skills, tools for piano. The fact that they are not taught has nothing to do with their difficulty. You might as well say that playing lines and spaces is academic because most people taking piano lessons can't do it.



The point I am trying to make, and obviously not doing it well, may be one that is important only to me.

Gary's point, I think, is that many or most people do not learn what they should. Part of the reason is that their teachers are incompetent, and part of the reason is that a certain category of students have no interest in anything beyond padding their college application.

My point is that people who have learned then do not take the next step of being able to apply it, to execute it in some kind of real world setting outside the piano lesson, or the math class, or any of a number of similar jumps from input to output. I can give lots of examples. But like I said, perhaps this is only a problem for me.


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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: Gary D.] #2822670 03/04/19 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

In other words, on paper it's a wonderful idea. If you want to use an old system for tuning a keyboard, best for the key of C, and you write something in C, it will work. Modes in that key set will largely work because it's the same system. But when you move much away from the key of C, for instance to Eb, the whole thing collapses like a house of cards, and the key of Db will be just horrible.


I've played with the presets for historical tunings on digital pianos, and I couldn't hear a whole lot of difference.

I brought this up because keystring posted a video that talked about the relative brightness of modes, and it occurred to me that this might be more of a distinction in a different tuning. I had recently come across that article on harpsichord tuning and it was fresh in my mind, especially the idea that one might tune pure fifths then deliberately write music that avoided resulting bad combinations. Or in the case of modes, deliberately strive for an effect.

As part of a project to improve my ear I spend a little time each night detuning and retuning my wife's guitar, listening for pure and slightly wide fourths, slightly narrow thirds. It's definitely a work in progress, I hope I'm getting better. I'm still in the frustrating part of the learning curve.


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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822715 03/04/19 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR

My point is that people who have learned then do not take the next step of being able to apply it, to execute it in some kind of real world setting outside the piano lesson, or the math class, or any of a number of similar jumps from input to output. I can give lots of examples. But like I said, perhaps this is only a problem for me.

No. It's a teacher problem. There is no point in teaching anything that is not used.

If you teach a mode, you have teach things that use the mode, then link to music that is interesting that uses modes.

I won't say more at this time other than to mention that our public schools are, for the most part, absolutely horrible. Nowhere is it worse than in my state, Florida. None of my students can do more than basic math, and most do it very badly. But they do fine in the things I teach, and reading music is a lot harder than most of what they are supposedly learning in school.

Anything that is not applied is lost, and often very quickly. It also has to be applied over a long enough period to get things set in the mind permanently. I started a pre-teen girl last summer who was doing well, but she told her mother she "doesn't like piano any more". And now she thinks she wants to teach HERSELF how to play trumpet, by watching videos. She plays flute, probably not very well.

I told her and her mother that she has not played what I teach long enough to keep it, and that when only playing about 6 months she will soon lose everything important I was teaching her. Of course she was not listening.

I'm not sure how long it takes to absorb and keep things like playing the piano, or learning a new language, but it is certainly not 6 months.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: TimR] #2822750 03/04/19 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I brought this up because keystring posted a video that talked about the relative brightness of modes, and it occurred to me that this might be more of a distinction in a different tuning. ,,,,,

A good idea with any kind of teaching is to explore these things thoroughly, and in as practical hands-on as possible, in order to understand. I took a Gary Burton course once. He is very knowledgeable and very much a musician, but can be overwhelming with what he presents.

To understand the brightness of the modes as presents them, go to the piano and try them out. Also explore the Tonic chord. Some of the scales have a major 3rd, and some have a minor 3rd, and they will also have respective (Tonic) chords sitting underneath them. You already know this from "classical" theory since each mode corresponds to a degree, and you'll know your I(maj7), ii7, iii7, IV(maj7), V7 etc. The Mixolydian mode having a maj7 will feel brighter than Ionian (major) having a 7. Locrian, having a 5b in it, will be the least bright.

Go try this. Play C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C (C major or Ionian) ---- Then play C, D, E, F, G, A Bb, C (C Mixolydian) --- on your regular, piano-tuned piano. Do you feel a different feeling to each of these? You might not hear it as brightness. You might hear it differently.

Google music that is in Lydian mode; google lessons on modes (you'll get mostly guitarists and brass players wink ), and start listening. Experiment. Go at it broadly. smile And enjoy!

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: keystring] #2822841 03/04/19 05:22 PM
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Correcting my post above:
Quote
The Mixolydian Ionian (major) mode having a maj7 will feel brighter than Ionian Mixolydian having a 7.

Anyway, refer back to Gary Burton's video where he orders them by brightness per his perception. Further down where I write them out you get the notes which show which is which.

This, from the previous post:

Quote
Go try this. Play C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C (C major or Ionian) ---- Then play C, D, E, F, G, A Bb, C (C Mixolydian) --- .

Last edited by keystring; 03/04/19 05:23 PM.
Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2822859 03/04/19 06:20 PM
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I don't like "brightness" for the modes at all because it's potentially horribly confusing. It's like saying that major is happy, and minor is sad.

Here is the problem. People tend to hear intervals as "brighter" or more "edgy" when they have beats. Tempered 3rds have a lot of beats. The moment you change the tuning system, that "brightnes" is toned down by getting rid of those beats or slowing them down. I still don't like using bright, because I hear the beats.

You can change the tuning for any mode. Let's say we pick A natural minor, also Aeolian, on a keyboard tuned with an older system. The CE is going to be closer to beatless, and that's going to radically change the sound of an A minor chord. And so on.

The reason why I pay zero attention to this tuning system is that they absolutely do no work on valved brass instruments. The beats in thirds are determined by the overtone series of the instrument. Upper CE is naturally beatless on trumpet. But Db F will beat as fast as a piano in EQ, and FA up high will beat faster than EQ because of the fingering. This is painfully obvious whenever you hear brass players, even the best of them, when playing with valves.

When trumpets were valveless, the 3rd of any key was beatless because that's the way the overtone series works.

Unlike Tim, those other presets on electronic keyboards sound radically different to me. The temperaments used by Bach don't scream at me because they were already getting closer to EQ, but earlier ones are horrendous. A simple Ab chord or Db chord sounds God awful.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: Gary D.] #2822877 03/04/19 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
I don't like "brightness" for the modes at all because it's potentially horribly confusing. It's like saying that major is happy, and minor is sad.

I agree, which is why I wrote something like "the way Burton sees it", and I think in my longer post, suggested experimenting with these modes and hear what you, personally, hear. Modes also get pair up with chords, and chords, incl. their movement from one chord to another, also have an effect. It's stuff that works together.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: Gary D.] #2823014 03/05/19 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

Unlike Tim, those other presets on electronic keyboards sound radically different to me. The temperaments used by Bach don't scream at me because they were already getting closer to EQ, but earlier ones are horrendous. A simple Ab chord or Db chord sounds God awful.


Some time ago the pastor where I was helping out requested his favorite hymn for his final service. (military chapel, they rotate after 2 years) It's a famous hymn that all of you would know, but I didn't. It's that dreary minor key one with all the triplets, I can't recall the name.

Anyway, at my skill level, it took hours a day for a week to get it under my fingers fluently, and I came to hate the harmonies, practicing it on my digital. All those thirds! I don't know if I heard obvious beats back then but I certainly heard dissonance/sourness.

And then at the service I played it on an organ, and it sounded really sweet. A piano with all the inharmonicity has a different set of overtones than a wind instrument.


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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2823125 03/05/19 12:49 PM
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Tim, your story reminds me of something that has intrigued me for some years. The first keyboard I ever had was a portable organ put out by Hohner - I got mine around 1963. I fell in love with the major 6. I was disappointed that the M6 didn't have the same effect for me on piano when I revisited the experience many decades later, even when I turned my piano into organ mode (one advantage of digitals). The old Hohner was actually given back to me a while back, and it still works enough, with rumbles, for sound to come out. The P6's were sweet. I don't know if the tuning is just a titch different to create this sweetness. Or if it's the fact of air blowing over reeds and giving the gentlest fast vibrato.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2831333 03/25/19 04:37 PM
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If you want to write songs in Mixo you might try listening to The Beatles Revolver. Practically the entire album is in Mixo mode.

One of the main identifying characteristics of Mixo mode is that it lacks a major V chord, so you don't get that sense of tension at the end of a cadence (half or whole) that defines so much of Western tonal music. Instead the whole sound is lazier, and given to plagal cadences (IV--I) and double plagal cadences (bVII--IV--I). This quality is what made it possible for The Beatles to integrate Mixo mode with qualities of Indian music.


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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2831513 03/26/19 07:13 AM
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I have taught a lot of old time banjo (pre-Bluegrass, think barefoot hillbillies up in the mountains - wait, I resemble that remark) over the years, and even developed my own unique pedagogy to teach the style as it was historically played in the region where I grew up.

That repertoire uses a LOT of mixolydian. The five-string banjo even has specific tunings to facilitate playing mixolydian tunes. (In that tradition, one chooses the tuning to suit the tune. Banjos don't stay in tune anyway, so it is common to at least touch up the tuning between tunes.)

In that tradition, the mixolydian tunes are referred to as "modal." I don't get too technical with my old time banjo students, but I do at least throw out the technical definition of the mixolydian mode and how to it relates to a major scale.


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Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: keystring] #2831845 03/27/19 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring


If you really want to go back historically, then you're in Ancient Greece.

These things got buried in Byzantium which came under the Ottoman Empire ruled by the Turks until centuries later our Constantinople, its other name, got liberated and the buried knowledge began circulating Western Europe. The ideals of the Greek times were hungrily studied by Middle Age Europe, which interpreted and pondered what it saw, and will have interpreted these things in their own way. That gets us into the "church modes" which like everything else was a passing phase.

Western Europe had been locked into religious chants, which gradually become complex with extra voices; pleasant intervals worked with P5's and octaves, and the third was finally allowed (started in France?), which automatically gives you chords, but they thought counterpoint, not chord. They experimented with expression emotion (affect), they experimented with things so much that it became more dissonant than consonant and then stepped way back from that again. What I'm trying to say is that music was not neat and tidy the way we get told.

Everything I use told you here is USELESS. wink How modes are used now: have been used by more modern composers (and maybe some older ones), how they are used in jazz and other genres - what we can do with them, and how this may help us understand written music - I think that is where it is at.


The organisation of gregorian chants and the underlying theory behind was essentially based on the Roman theory - mainly the legacy of Boethius (5th century AC) and Isidore de Seville. They interpreted the greek theory with some changes and misconceptions due to lack of access to all the source materials. After the sack of Rome and transfer of the roman empire to Constantinople, the roman Church was the only structured organisation remaining, the relationships with the Byzantin empire were poor so they allied with the Franks. Under their leadership, the theory continued to evolve and again the concepts of Boethius were mis-understood and changed. So the theory as it appears in various writings like the Dialogus of Musica (11th century) or the Micrologus of Guido de Arrezzo is rather different from the greek concepts. We do have a pretty good knowledge of the greek concepts as most theory books were preserved (Aristoxene, Nikomedes, Ptolemy, ....) and are accessible nowadays.

The modes as they are used in Medieval music or during the baroque period are completely different from the modern modes. The naming was not even the same. The church modes were split in 2 groups of 4: Protus (D), Deuterus (E), Tritus (F) and Tetrardus (G) with each an Authentic and Plagal version. The main characteristic of church modes is their ambitus, their finalis (final note of the melody) and if the range of the melody is within D To D for example (Authentic) or A to A (one fourth below the finalis and a ffith above it) in which case it is plagal. The other main characteristic is the recitative psalm tone which later one was also used as cadential note. For example in the case of the G authentic mode it is D but in the G plagal mode it is C. The greek naming Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian is dated from the new classification done by Glarean in the 16th century - he by the way also confused the greek theory as the for the Greek the Dorian mode is not based on D but on E scale - so we use today Dorian to designate the D mode but it is not the proper greek naming. Essentially by the 16th century there was 8 modes as renamed by Glarean: Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Lydian and Hypolydian, Myxolydian and Hypomyxolydian. Glarean added 4 additional modes based on Ionian and Aeolian.

The modes are essentially melodic at the origin and a number of theorists discussed in the 15th century (manuscripts available in various libraries) the adequacy of using them for polyphonic music with pros and cons. It did survive but if you skip forward to the early baroque period, the way they are used continued to evolve. Fact is that the main cadential notes are unrelated to the triadic structure we use nowadays and follow another logic until it started to converge with the chordal/harmonic approach. You can look at compositions by Sweelinck, Frescobaldi and other composers to see how these modes were used.

All in all, like KeyString said, none of that is relevant to the modern usage of modes which are essentially just a way of using alternate scales as the basis vs Major/Minor within the frame of harmonic tonality or for some atonality. But for sure our usage is in a different world than the medieval of baroque music, which in itself went through various stages anyway.

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2832320 03/28/19 11:18 AM
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This is getting complicated.

You mention these:
Quote

Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Lydian and Hypolydian, Myxolydian and Hypomyxolydian. Glarean added 4 additional modes based on Ionian and Aeolian.

Each of these "hypo-X" modes differ from the modes we use today and confuses the issue.

If you are studying music from the 16th century or earlier, you just have to learn the names, terms and theory behind music of that time. Nothing is going to sync with what we ended up with.

Today Mixolydian is just 5 to 5 in any key (like G A B C D E F G in the key of C), where that 5 becomes the tonal center. Or take any major scale, like G major, and lower 7. That's the end of it in 2019, and it's been that way for some time. We need something practical for modern music and even traditional music from the last couple centuries or so.

This is why Bluegrass is mentioned as typical of Mixolydian. It gives you a v chord that is minor, what I teach as Vm, and also give you a minor 7 chord, like Dm7 in the key of what otherwise appears to be G major. It also give you a bVII chord, so in the key of G suddenly you have as your main chords:

G, F, Dm and so on. You will often hear jazz players just use G and F major, toggling, always finishing on G major, and with a liberal supply of everything but a iii chord (Bm), which gets flipped to B dim and is now unusable.

Just stick with an altered major scale, with b7 or lowered 7, and stick to that unless you are studying early church music, which is another universe.

Last edited by Gary D.; 03/28/19 11:19 AM.
Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: pianocoach521] #2832350 03/28/19 12:10 PM
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I think that Sidokar was taking off from where I responded to Tim's reference to "historically" and what that actually means, and provided the other half of the sandwich. The conclusions is the same as mine:
Originally Posted by Sidokar
All in all, like KeyString said, none of that is relevant to the modern usage of modes which are essentially just a way of using alternate scales as the basis vs Major/Minor within the frame of harmonic tonality or for some atonality. But for sure our usage is in a different world than the medieval of baroque music, which in itself went through various stages anyway.

which puts us all on the same page.

Originally Posted by Gary D.
We need something practical for modern music and even traditional music from the last couple centuries or so.

This is why Bluegrass is mentioned as typical of Mixolydian....

Exactly. The original reference to historical modes brings us in the wrong direction. If one does refer to historical modes, then it should be done properly, but it's even better not to go there. smile

Re: Anybody can help me with Mixolydian key theory? [Re: Gary D.] #2832665 03/29/19 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

Today Mixolydian is just 5 to 5 in any key (like G A B C D E F G in the key of C), where that 5 becomes the tonal center. Or take any major scale, like G major, and lower 7. That's the end of it in 2019, and it's been that way for some time. We need something practical for modern music and even traditional music from the last couple centuries or so.




Sigh. I'm convinced, reluctantly, and I withdraw my objection to using the term Mixolydian. It may not be historical to the purist but I now see why it's practical.

I reserve the right to not like the term perfect!


gotta go practice
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