Ionian mode

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Ionian mode

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


It is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new authentic mode on C (mode 11 in his numbering scheme), which uses the diatonic octave species from C to the C an octave higher, divided at G (as its dominant, reciting tone/reciting note or tenor) into a fourth species of perfect fifth (tone–tone–semitone–tone) plus a third species of perfect fourth (tone–tone–semitone): C D E F G + G A B C. [1] This octave species is essentially the same as the major mode of tonal music. [2]

Church music had been explained by theorists as being organised in eight musical modes: the scales on D, E, F, and G in the "greater perfect system" of "musica recta," [3] each with their authentic and plagal counterparts.

Glarean's twelfth mode was the plagal version of the Ionian mode, called Hypoionian (under Ionian), based on the same relative scale, but with the major third as its tenor, and having a melodic range from a perfect fourth below the tonic, to a perfect fifth above it. [4]

See also


  1. ( Powers 2001a )
  2. ( Jones 1974 , 42)
  3. ( Powers 2001b , §II: "Medieval Modal Theory")
  4. ( Powers 2001c )

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The Hypoionian mode, literally meaning "below Ionian", is the name assigned by Henricus Glareanus in his Dodecachordon (1547) to the plagal mode on C, which uses the diatonic octave species from G to the G an octave higher, divided at its final, C. This is roughly the same as playing all the white notes of a piano from G to G: G A B C | (C) D E F G.

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.