Dorian mode

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Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different but interrelated subjects: one of the Ancient Greek harmoniai (characteristic melodic behaviour, or the scale structure associated with it); one of the medieval musical modes; or—most commonly—one of the modern modal diatonic scales, corresponding to the piano keyboard's white notes from D to D, or any transposition of itself.

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Dorian mode

Greek Dorian mode

The Dorian mode (properly harmonia or tonos) is named after the Dorian Greeks. Applied to a whole octave, the Dorian octave species was built upon two tetrachords (four-note segments) separated by a whole tone, running from the hypate meson to the nete diezeugmenon.

In the enharmonic genus, the intervals in each tetrachord are quarter tone–quarter tone–major third.

Dorian mode

In the chromatic genus, they are semitone–semitone–minor third.

Dorian mode

In the diatonic genus, they are semitone–tone–tone.

Dorian mode

In the diatonic genus, the sequence over the octave is the same as that produced by playing all the white notes of a piano ascending from E to E, [1] a sequence equivalent to the pattern of the modern Phrygian mode, although the temperament differs by small amounts.

Placing the single tone at the bottom of the scale followed by two conjunct tetrachords (that is, the top note of the first tetrachord is also the bottom note of the second), produces the Hypodorian ("below Dorian") octave species: A | B C D E | (E) F G A. Placing the two tetrachords together and the single tone at the top of the scale produces the Mixolydian octave species, a note sequence equivalent to modern Locrian mode. [2]

Medieval Dorian mode

The early Byzantine church developed a system of eight musical modes (the octoechos), which served as a model for medieval European chant theorists when they developed their own modal classification system starting in the 9th century. [3] The success of the Western synthesis of this system with elements from the fourth book of De institutione musica of Boethius, created the false impression that the Byzantine octoechos was inherited directly from ancient Greece. [4]

Originally used to designate one of the traditional harmoniai of Greek theory (a term with various meanings, including the sense of an octave consisting of eight tones), the name was appropriated (along with six others) by the 2nd-century theorist Ptolemy to designate his seven tonoi, or transposition keys. Four centuries later, Boethius interpreted Ptolemy in Latin, still with the meaning of transposition keys, not scales. When chant theory was first being formulated in the 9th century, these seven names plus an eighth, Hypermixolydian (later changed to Hypomixolydian), were again re-appropriated in the anonymous treatise Alia Musica. A commentary on that treatise, called the Nova expositio, first gave it a new sense as one of a set of eight diatonic species of the octave, or scales.

In medieval theory, the authentic Dorian mode could include the note B "by licence", in addition to B. [5] The same scalar pattern, but starting a fourth or fifth below the mode final D, and extending a fifth above (or a sixth, terminating on B), was numbered as mode 2 in the medieval system. This was the plagal mode corresponding to the authentic Dorian, and was called the Hypodorian mode. [6] In the untransposed form on D, in both the authentic and plagal forms the note C is often raised to C to form a leading tone, and the variable sixth step is in general B in ascending lines and B in descent. [7]

Modern Dorian mode

The modern Dorian mode (also called "Russian minor" by Balakirev, [8] ) by contrast, is a strictly diatonic scale corresponding to the white keys of the piano from D to D (shown below)

Dorian mode

or any transposition of its interval pattern, which has the ascending pattern of whole steps and half steps as follows:

whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half, whole

Thus, the Dorian mode is a symmetric scale, since the pattern of whole and half steps is the same ascending or descending.

The modern Dorian mode can also be thought of as a scale with a minor third and seventh, a major second and sixth, and a perfect fourth and fifth, notated relative to the major scale as:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

It may be considered an "excerpt" of a major scale played from the pitch a whole tone above the major scale's tonic, i.e., a major scale played from its second scale degree up to its second degree again. The resulting scale is, however, minor in quality, because, as the D becomes the new tonal centre, the F a minor third above the D becomes the new mediant, or third degree. Thus, when a triad is built upon the tonic, it is a minor triad.

The modern Dorian mode is equivalent to the natural minor scale (or the Aeolian mode) but with a major sixth. The modern Dorian mode resembles the Greek Phrygian harmonia in the diatonic genus.

It is also equivalent to the ascending melodic minor scale with a minor seventh.

Notable compositions in Dorian mode

Dorian mode in Ernest Bloch's "Chanty" from Poems of the Sea, mm. 1-8. Bloch Chanty Poems of the Sea mm. 1-8.png
Dorian mode in Ernest Bloch's "Chanty" from Poems of the Sea, mm. 1–8.

Hit songs in Dorian include, "Evil Ways..., "I Wish"..., "Lowdown"..., "Foxy Lady"..., "Owner of a Lonely Heart"..., "Moondance"..., "Billie Jean"..., and many others. [10]

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Medieval

Baroque

Romantic

Jazz

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See also

Related Research Articles

In music theory, a diatonic scale is any heptatonic scale that includes five whole steps and two half steps (semitones) in each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps, depending on their position in the scale. This pattern ensures that, in a diatonic scale spanning more than one octave, all the half steps are maximally separated from each other.

In music theory, the term mode or modus is used in a number of distinct senses, depending on context.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Major scale</span> Musical scale made of seven notes

The major scale is one of the most commonly used musical scales, especially in Western music. It is one of the diatonic scales. Like many musical scales, it is made up of seven notes: the eighth duplicates the first at double its frequency so that it is called a higher octave of the same note.

In music theory, a tetrachord is a series of four notes separated by three intervals. In traditional music theory, a tetrachord always spanned the interval of a perfect fourth, a 4:3 frequency proportion —but in modern use it means any four-note segment of a scale or tone row, not necessarily related to a particular tuning system.

In music, the subtonic is the degree of a musical scale which is a whole step below the tonic note. In a major key, it is a lowered, or flattened, seventh scale degree. It appears as the seventh scale degree in the natural minor and descending melodic minor scales but not in the major scale. In major keys, the subtonic sometimes appears in borrowed chords. In the movable do solfège system, the subtonic note is sung as te.

Mixolydian mode may refer to one of three things: the name applied to one of the ancient Greek harmoniai or tonoi, based on a particular octave species or scale; one of the medieval church modes; or a modern musical mode or diatonic scale, related to the medieval mode.

The Aeolian mode is a musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale also called the natural minor scale. On the white piano keys, it is the scale that starts with A. Its ascending interval form consists of a key note, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step. That means that, in A aeolian, you would play A, move up a whole step to B, move up a half step to C, then up a whole step to D, a whole step to E, a half step to F, a whole step to G, and a final whole step to a high A.

The Phrygian mode can refer to three different musical modes: the ancient Greek tonos or harmonia, sometimes called Phrygian, formed on a particular set of octave species or scales; the Medieval Phrygian mode, and the modern conception of the Phrygian mode as a diatonic scale, based on the latter.

In the musical system of ancient Greece, genus is a term used to describe certain classes of intonations of the two movable notes within a tetrachord. The tetrachordal system was inherited by the Latin medieval theory of scales and by the modal theory of Byzantine music; it may have been one source of the later theory of the jins of Arabic music. In addition, Aristoxenus calls some patterns of rhythm "genera".

The Locrian mode is the seventh mode of the major scale. It is either a musical mode or simply a diatonic scale. On the piano, it is the scale that starts with B and only uses the white keys from there. Its ascending form consists of the key note, then: half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heptatonic scale</span> Musical scale with seven pitches

A heptatonic scale is a musical scale that has seven pitches, or tones, per octave. Examples include the major scale or minor scale; e.g., in C major: C D E F G A B C—and in the relative minor, A minor, natural minor: A B C D E F G A; the melodic minor scale, A B C D E FGA ascending, A G F E D C B A descending; the harmonic minor scale, A B C D E F GA; and a scale variously known as the Byzantine, and Hungarian, scale, C D E F G A B C. Indian classical theory postulates seventy-two seven-tone scale types, collectively called thaat, whereas others postulate twelve or ten seven-tone scale types.

The Hypolydian mode, literally meaning "below Lydian", is the common name for the sixth of the eight church modes of medieval music theory. The name is taken from Ptolemy of Alexandria's term for one of his seven tonoi, or transposition keys. This mode is the plagal counterpart of the authentic fifth mode.

The Hypophrygian mode, literally meaning "below Phrygian ", is a musical mode or diatonic scale in medieval chant theory, the fourth mode of church music. This mode is the plagal counterpart of the authentic third mode, which was called Phrygian. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance this mode was described in two ways: the diatonic scale from B to B an octave above, divided at the mode final E ; and as a mode with final E and ambitus from the A below to the C above. The note A above the final had an important melodic function. The melodic range of the ecclesiastical Hypophrygian mode therefore goes from the perfect fourth or fifth below the tonic to the perfect fifth or minor sixth above.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hypodorian mode</span>

The Hypodorian mode, a musical term literally meaning 'below Dorian', derives its name from a tonos or octave species of ancient Greece which, in its diatonic genus, is built from a tetrachord consisting of a semitone followed by two whole tones. The rising scale for the octave is a single tone followed by two conjoint tetrachords of this type. This is roughly the same as playing all the white notes of a piano from A to A: A | B C D E | (E) F G A. Although this scale in medieval theory was employed in Dorian and Hypodorian, from the mid-sixteenth century and in modern music theory they came to be known as the Aeolian and Hypoaeolian modes.

In the musical system of ancient Greece, an octave species is a specific sequence of intervals within an octave. In Elementa harmonica, Aristoxenus classifies the species as three different genera, distinguished from each other by the largest intervals in each sequence: the diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic genera, whose largest intervals are, respectively, a whole tone, a minor third, and a ditone; quarter tones and semitones complete the tetrachords.

Ionian mode is a musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale also called the major scale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diatonic and chromatic</span> Terms in music theory to characterize scales

Diatonic and chromatic are terms in music theory that are most often used to characterize scales, and are also applied to musical instruments, intervals, chords, notes, musical styles, and kinds of harmony. They are very often used as a pair, especially when applied to contrasting features of the common practice music of the period 1600–1900.

A Gregorian mode is one of the eight systems of pitch organization used in Gregorian chant.

The Hypoaeolian mode, literally meaning "below Aeolian", is the name assigned by Henricus Glareanus in his Dodecachordon (1547) to the musical plagal mode on A, which uses the diatonic octave species from E to the E an octave above, divided by the final into a second-species fourth (semitone–tone–tone) plus a first-species fifth (tone–semitone–tone–tone): E F G A + A B C D E. The tenor or reciting tone is C, mediant B, the participants are the low and high Es, the conceded modulations are G and D, and the absolute initials are E, G, A, B, and C.

The musical system of ancient Greece evolved over a period of more than 500 years from simple scales of tetrachords, or divisions of the perfect fourth, into several complex systems encompassing tetrachords and octaves, as well as octave scales divided into seven to thirteen intervals.

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