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BTW, as someone who believes classical pianists should understand basic music theory ( and modes are part of basic music theory ) to be good musicians I appreciate Sidokar going to so much trouble in his posts. I don't know if he convinced anyone but I certainly appreciate the effort and the posts!


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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
BTW, as someone who believes classical pianists should understand basic music theory ( and modes are part of basic music theory ) to be good musicians I appreciate Sidokar going to so much trouble in his posts. I don't know if he convinced anyone but I certainly appreciate the effort and the posts!

Thank you ! I dont think I convince anybody ... actually I think exchanges like this rarely convince anyone. But if anything, that can just give people an idea of how rich and diversified (and interesting) is the music history.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by trooplewis
I don't need to understand modes to understand how a piece should be interpreted, because the world in general and youtube in particular is filled with experts who DO understand these things and share that interpretation with us. Imagonna benefit from their intense, studious work in music theory and listen carefully to how they play.

I assume this is a joke.

Well, I suppose it could be if you play better than Horowitz, Lang Lang, et al.

I take you back to the original question in the OP;
"If you take college/university level music theory classes, you’ll learn Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes.

Why is this of any importance to classical pianists, or classical musicians in general?"

And I give a Socratic reply;
Is it necessary for a pastor to understand the minute facts of medieval Church history to give a very excellent and inspiring sermon?
Is it required that a painter understand the finest points of 17th C. art to be an esteemed artist?

Even those questions may be moot when you consider that the pastor and the artist create from their own genius, while the classical pianist's talent is that he re-creates from the genius of others. Which, I might add, I have immense respect for. I just don't think that the understanding of historical modes is a requirement for being a most excellent classical pianist.

Last edited by trooplewis; 12/11/20 05:08 PM.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Later on, in 1547, Glarean expanded these 8 up to 12 modes to accomodate the needs of polyphonic and renaissance music. The locrian mode is not part of any of those 2 systems since you cant use the tonic triad. The mode names used today derive from the names given by Glarean which reused the old greek names but assigning them to different scales.

The hypophrygian name is actually not fully correct. That name applies to the plagal version of the mode of E. Î pass on the details as it would take it too far. The actual name given by Glarean for the scale of B was Hyperaeolian and its plagal version Hyperphrygian.

Quote
I dont think I convince anybody ... actually I think exchanges like this rarely convince anyone. But if anything, that can just give people an idea of how rich and diversified (and interesting) is the music history.
Sorry, your long post just convinced me that it's quite possible to make (classical/serious) music really boring, even to a musician.

Though I'm used to perusing long treatises full of jargon in learned journals in my job (unfortunately, some of those authors don't have friendly editors that will chop a 50-word sentence into two ten-word sentences that say exactly the same thing in a much clearer manner), with music, it's all about what is useful and interesting to non-musicologists. You've convinced me that the names appended to all those modes are just about as completely arbitrary as it's possible to be - and are whatever some people choose them to mean. ("When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.")

I've given a few lecture-recitals in my time, and what I do is prune my script right down, add more musical examples that might be familiar to a non-specialist audience, then throw away the script and just ad-lib: in one lecture-recital, I started with Rach's Op.2/3 and ended with Joplin......and someone in the audience asked me afterwards about a similarity he perceived between The Entertainer and a duet from Don Giovanni that I also played in my own arrangement, which never occurred to me before thumb.

Far be it from me to dismiss scholarly stuff, but it's a truth universally acknowledged that a wise musician in possession of a good message, must be in want of an audience........and the opposite is also a truism.


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Speaking as one who does think the names help, and that they've helped me some and that I find them interesting, I agree that knowing the names per se isn't necessary.
Including because, as I'm gathering from here!!-- it might be said that some of what I learned, and what I thought I knew, is wrong. grin

(Although, what I think is that those who might think it's wrong what I've known, are wrong!) ha


Back in the day, I was involved in committees and "task forces" (what a pretentious title) ha about evaluation of medical students and doctors. A big thing at the time, especially on the part of younger ones like me but also some of the older timers, was that there should be more emphasis on concepts and less on things like factoids and names. At my own school I had some 'lively discussions' with teachers whose tests had questions where even if you knew the basic idea, you would get no credit if you didn't know the exact term.

I still remember one of those examples, which means either that I loved it or that it was so traumatic that I can't forget it. ha

It was in an embryology course. It was about a congenital condition which is commonly known among doctors as "patent ductus."
But in that test question, it wasn't enough just to know that, because it was multiple choice, and two of the choices were "patent ductus venosus" and "patent ductus arteriosus." The teacher and I actually argued over this for a pretty long time, because, as it happens, I was doing a project with him on relevance of test questions, and that test was the main thing we used. I said that even if he wanted us to know the term, it seemed silly and useless to give no credit unless we knew if it was venosus or arteriosus (and I couldn't tell you now which it is -- I guess arteriosus, which is probably what I said on the test anyway), because the only thing it usually gets called and the only thing most doctors know is "patent ductus." He said he thought it was important to know which one it is. And I can't swear he was wrong -- I mean hey, he was one of the 'good guys,' just by being willing to engage in such a discussion! And he was a good guy anyway.

That feels a lot like wondering if it's important to know the names of the modes.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Later on, in 1547, Glarean expanded these 8 up to 12 modes to accomodate the needs of polyphonic and renaissance music. The locrian mode is not part of any of those 2 systems since you cant use the tonic triad. The mode names used today derive from the names given by Glarean which reused the old greek names but assigning them to different scales.

The hypophrygian name is actually not fully correct. That name applies to the plagal version of the mode of E. Î pass on the details as it would take it too far. The actual name given by Glarean for the scale of B was Hyperaeolian and its plagal version Hyperphrygian.

Quote
I dont think I convince anybody ... actually I think exchanges like this rarely convince anyone. But if anything, that can just give people an idea of how rich and diversified (and interesting) is the music history.
Sorry, your long post just convinced me that it's quite possible to make (classical/serious) music really boring, even to a musician.

Though I'm used to perusing long treatises full of jargon in learned journals in my job (unfortunately, some of those authors don't have friendly editors that will chop a 50-word sentence into two ten-word sentences that say exactly the same thing in a much clearer manner), with music, it's all about what is useful and interesting to non-musicologists. You've convinced me that the names appended to all those modes are just about as completely arbitrary as it's possible to be - and are whatever some people choose them to mean. ("When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.")

I've given a few lecture-recitals in my time, and what I do is prune my script right down, add more musical examples that might be familiar to a non-specialist audience, then throw away the script and just ad-lib: in one lecture-recital, I started with Rach's Op.2/3 and ended with Joplin......and someone in the audience asked me afterwards about a similarity he perceived between The Entertainer and a duet from Don Giovanni that I also played in my own arrangement, which never occurred to me before thumb.

Far be it from me to dismiss scholarly stuff, but it's a truth universally acknowledged that a wise musician in possession of a good message, must be in want of an audience........and the opposite is also a truism.

For the names, any name is arbitrary, so they dont mean anything in themselves. They are just representing concepts and what matters is what you use them for.

I am on the exact opposite as is often the case. In my experience studying complicated topics is what makes you move forward. BTW I am not looking for an audience and indeed i am not trying to simplify. If people are interested they can read, if they find it boring or too complex, they can easily skip it and so should you. So Good for you if you are a successful presenter with a large audience of non musicologists who admire your knowledge and the clarity and simplicity of your speech. What can i say, I am sincerely happy for you and wish you the best. If you can bring more people to classical music that is a good thing.

For the rest, it is your opinion and i really dont mind. You already mentionned it twice in more or less the same terms, so i think your point of view is clear, so any discussion is rather pointless.

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I'd be interested to hear the OP's thoughts now that his thread is 5 pages long!


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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I'd be interested to hear the OP's thoughts now that his thread is 5 pages long!

Keith:

You must have very short pages! Not yet two pages here.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I'd be interested to hear the OP's thoughts now that his thread is 5 pages long!

Keith:

You must have very short pages! Not yet two pages here.

Regards,

3 pages on my cell phone. Hmm....


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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I'd be interested to hear the OP's thoughts now that his thread is 5 pages long!

Keith:

You must have very short pages! Not yet two pages here.

Regards,

3 pages on my cell phone. Hmm....

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I’m convinced now! Thanks everyone.

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I’m convinced now! Thanks everyone.

Great! Of what?


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Quote
For the names, any name is arbitrary, so they dont mean anything in themselves. They are just representing concepts and what matters is what you use them for.
The name may be arbitrary, but having an agreed upon, standard name for an unambiguously defined concept is a significant enabler of clear communication about it and related concepts.


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Originally Posted by trooplewis
I take you back to the original question in the OP;
"If you take college/university level music theory classes, you’ll learn Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes.

Why is this of any importance to classical pianists, or classical musicians in general?"

And I give a Socratic reply;
Is it necessary for a pastor to understand the minute facts of medieval Church history to give a very excellent and inspiring sermon?
Is it required that a painter understand the finest points of 17th C. art to be an esteemed artist?
To which I reply with an anecdote from Shostakovich, I believe. His teacher told him to learn Palestrinian counterpoint, if he wanted to use polyphony in his compositions. Because "even if later you don't compose like Palestrina, this way of thinking will help you with polyphony" (paraphrased from memory). Shostakovich wrote 24 preludes and fugues which IMO do not have to hide behind Bach's well-tempered clavier.

The point is: Why learn techniques from the past to make music in the present? Because they give you a deeper sense of understanding which help you in the present.
I guess that's why some writers still learn dead languages, and mechanics or carpenters still learn how to use a hammer or a saw.


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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
If you take college/university level music theory classes, you’ll learn Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes.

Why is this of any importance to classical pianists, or classical musicians in general? I never understood the point of learning modes. I’ve never used it except for very superficial analysis. “Oh cool, this piece is in Lydian!” Okay? That’s it? I’m not suddenly much more expressive knowing that a major scale with a raised fourth has its own fancy-shmancy name.

Maybe knowing modes is much more important in jazz and really early Western music? Fine, but my question is specifically for Baroque era through now.

Could not agree more.

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My teacher used to tell me "By all means neccessary, and use all tools". I feel the same way about understanding music. If you consciously know what scale you are playing, whether its Schubert or Mozart, the easier it is. Same with modes. especially with pre-classical modal music and post-ww2 modal music

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