mode – Plainchant
Plainchant, also known as plainsong, is the foundation of the musical repertory of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also known as Gregorian chant. It is made up of around 3,000 tunes that were gathered and structured over the reigns of numerous popes in the 6th and 7th centuries. Pope Gregory I was the most important figure in the codification of these chants.
The eight modes
Gregorian chants are based on eight distinct modes, which are referred to as “church modes” in terms of their melody. In ancient Greece, seven of the modes had names that were identical to those used today. These were Dorian and Hypodorian; Phrygian and Hypophrygian; Lydian and Hypolydian; and Mixolydian. The Greek term for the eighth mode, Hypomixolydian, was developed from the names of the first seven modes. Each mode is comprised of an adiatonic scale with a compass of one octave in length.
An “genuine” mode is defined by the finalis of each of the four notes of the tetrachordD–E–F–G (D–E–F–G) (see chart below).
A B C D are the letters of the alphabet.
If the finalisfalls on the lowest note of its pentachord, it is considered successful.
The finalis is denoted by a capital letter in the following chart of the eight church modes: thefinalis.
|1.D e f g a b c d||Dorian|
|2.D e f g a||Hypodorian||a b c|
|3.E f g a b c d e||Phrygian|
|4.E f g a b||Hypophrygian||b c d|
|5.F g a b c d e f||Lydian|
|6.F g a b c||Hypolydian||c d e|
|7.G a b c d e f g||Mixolydian|
|8.G a b c d||Hypomixolydian||d e f|
The tones of the Hypomixolydian mode are identical to those of the Dorian mode, however the finalis of the two modes is located in a different part of the scale. The nature of the church modes was further defined by a variety of specific melodic formulae, and the individual modes were sometimes associated with a particular ethos. While the Byzantine classification specifies first the four authentic modes and subsequently the four plagal modes, the Roman classification alternates between the authentic and plagal modes, resulting in modes with the same finalisfollowing each other in the order of appearance.
The Dorian and Hypodorian modes are represented by the first pair, orprotus maneria; the Phrygian and Hypophrygian modes are represented by the second pair, ordeuterus; the Lydian and Hypolydian modes are represented by the third pair, ortritus; and the Mixolydian and Hypomixolydian modes are represented by the fourth pair, ortrardus.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the distinct meanings assigned to the names of the Greek Octave species and the names of the church modes.
This resulted in dorian (D–D), phrygian (E–E), lydian (C–c), and mixolydian (B–b) appearing in the church modes, respectively, in place of the Greek octave species Dorian, phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian (B–b).
Gradual emergence of major and minor tonality
Despite the fact that the two notes B and B never appeared in sequence, the rigorous coherence of the system of church modes was progressively eroded by the occurrence of B as an additional note to the B. Because medieval musicians were attempting to avoid the tritone F–B, they used a tone not included in the basicscalepattern as a primary rationale for using this tone. Because it contains three whole tones, the tritone (also known as the tritone interval) was seen as an unpleasant interval, especially when compared to the perfect fourth F–B.
For example, theLydian mode with a flattened B was identical to the modern major mode, specifically with the F–major scale (F G A B C D E F); and theDorian mode with a flattened B generated a minor mode corresponding to the natural D minor scale (D E F G A B C D); and the Dorian mode with a flattened B generated a minor mode corresponding to the natural D minor scale (D E F G A B C D).
A manifestation of this unwillingness to recognise the presence of extra modes is found in the so-called musica ficta genre.
It was a result of two distinct developments that took place between the 12th and 16th centuries that led to the radical transformation of modal theory: the infiltration of folk music into the ecclesiasticaand secular art forms, and the gradual development of a fabric of harmony that was intended to unify the growing complexity of polyphonic (many-voiced) musical texture.
Adding the following four modes to the system of eight church modes in hisDodecachordon(1547; from Greekddeka, “twelve,” andchorda, “string”), possibly the most important musical treatise of the day, Glareanus expanded the system of eight church modes by adding the following four: Major and minor modes are represented by Ionian and Hypoionian modes, respectively, whereas Aeolian and Hypoaeolian modes correspond to the “natural” minor mode.
The 12 modes of the Dodecachordoncomprising authentic and plagal structures with tonal centers on the notes C, D, E, F, G, and A, without resort to sharpened or flatted tones, are composed of authentic and plagal structures with tonal centers on the notes C, D, E, F, G, and A.
However, because the fifth degree above it, F, and the fifth degree above it, B, constitute a “false” (i.e., reduced, or flattened) fifth (another version of the banned tritone), Glareanus claims that there are only 12 modes usable for practical purposes.
Throughout the Western Hemisphere, the further evolution of art music is marked by the progressive rejection of the ancient religious modes in favor of the dual major-minor system that dominated harmony in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, respectively.
Major and minor scale patterns, on the other hand, possess all of the key properties of modes and should be treated as such in their evaluation.
Pieter Belmans—Some remarks on Gregorian modes
On the first day of music theory class, I asked my teacher to go over the (Gregorian) modes in detail so that I might learn how to use them appropriately in the future. It has been a long time since I have known them except on a surface level, yet I am now familiar with their quirks. Given that I haven’t taken any notes in three months, my handwriting has deteriorated from ‘quite readable’ to “hybrid between hieroglyphs and cuneiform script.” I’ll write them out for future personal reference and to serve as evidence to support any claims I make during my implementation.
Four, six or seven modes
There are four Gregorian modes, two of which are practical and one of which is speculative. These modes have been in use since the Greeks and reached their ultimate shape in medieval times; the second is the major and minor scales that we are familiar with; and the third is a curiosum. However, it has limited practical use (unless you’re a twentieth-century composer) because it is derived by extending the notion from the previous six modes to the seventh potential in the system. The four Gregorian modes are Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, andMixolydian, and they are listed here.
- These four modes are represented by the letters D, E, F, and G.
- The raised Dorian is sixth, the lowered Phrygian is second, the raised Lydian is fourth, and the lowered Mixolydian is seventh, according to the descending order.
- When a note is employed as a leading tone (something that Gregorian music strives to avoid), it is considered to be the fifth note of the scale, unless it is the sixth note of the scale.
- As a result, we have A, C, C, and D.
- However, a shifting note that expands the range is permitted if the range is constrained to an octave.
- The four standard modes can be lowered (not transposed!) by a fourth, resulting in a different range of tones than they would otherwise be.
- As an example, decreasing the Dorian mode by a fourth results in the Hypodorian mode being produced.
- In the case of the Mixolydian mode, this would result in a B, which should be avoided at all costs, hence the dominant of the Hypomixolydian mode is the letter C.
- The original modes are represented by the odd numbers, and the plagal modes are represented by the even ones.
- The Ionian mode (which begins on C) and the Aeolian mode are the two most commonly used modes (starting on A).
These are the standard major and minor scales, which are well recognized. The last mode is the Locrian mode, which begins on B and is instantly apparent as to why it is not as popular as the others: it has a reduced fifth.
Writing counterpoint in Gregorian modes
This is the point at which the explanation departs from the assertions in Fux. My teacher advises that I should adhere to the Gregorian mode and avoid using a leading tone at the conclusion. Fux advises that you can utilize any mode you like as long as you finish with a leading tone. There are advantages to both approaches: it is a matter of being (less) consistent and employing a (less) common ending cadence at the conclusion of each sentence. Given that I have always been taught to use a leading tone in minor scales, one may argue that not utilizing a leading tone in Gregorian modes is inconsistent.
- There is only one adagium: make it obvious which mode you are in at all times.
- This will have an impact on the conclusion of a piece because we will not be employing a true leading tone.
- However, we have the Gregorian modes to consider.
- Rather than using an IV-I cadence, consider using a V-I cadence, which suggests a (natural) minor scale.
- V is diminished, which is a powerful tonal harmony derived from a seventh chord, and we want to emphasize the modal quality of the piece, but I neglected to record the recommended cadence.
- Lydian mode is a type of mode that is derived from the Greek word lydian, which means “lily-like.” We can use VI-I or II-I instead of V-I because V-I would indicate F major.
- These are the notes I took during today’s class.
- I’ll attempt to make these more comprehensive as I learn more about the subject.
Gregorian Chant Modes
|LESSONS ONGREGORIAN CHANT THE GREGORIAN MODES© The only diatonic scale which Gregorian Chantis served, is the following one (think of the piano white notes):Not all the melodies cross this extension: someoneof them are kept in the low eighth (from A to A), others in themedium (from E to E) and others in the Superior (from G to A).In each of these octaves, the SEMITONES are farmore or less from the final note, which is a fundamental elementto understand the modes.For the Greek-Romans, the octave that we knowtoday did not exist. They were rather two tetrachords separatedor simply juxtaposed: C, D, E, FG, A, B, CThe tethrachord is considered to be the modal base,that is to say, the first completed element or generating nucleusof the whole melody.The same thing happens with the superior tethrachord.Have in mind that, in contrast to the currentmusic, in Gregorian Chant scales do not exist in that, on havingchanged a tonality to other one, or a major mode to a minor one,in order for the semitones to stay in the same place, it is necessaryto use the sharp or flats signs.These scales include a central fifth from thetonic note, called alsofinalnote, plus three sounds bealready in the top part in which case they are called authentic(sharp) modes, or in the low one, and in this case modes are calledPlagals (serious).The names of these modes are:There exists a tonic note in which, although notalways the melody begins in, in her she ends and rests commonly.As it is seen in the previous picture, four could be the tonic notes:D, E, F, G which are represented by the white notes.Besides, in every mode there is a dominant noteso called because the melody returns to this one with relative frequency.The dominants are:|
|DOMINANT||D||F||B – C||A||C||A||D||C|
Each of these modes has a distinct character, which is owing to the various laying of the semitones —as has previously been mentioned— and, as a result, each has its own expressive force. As a result, it is possible to distinguish between the modes for:
- His tonic note, his dominant note, and the ambiance or extension are all important considerations.
Western Music Grounded In Gregorian Chant
The Second Vatican Council identified Gregorian chant as being particularly adapted to the Roman liturgy and, other things being equal, said that it should be given a prominent place in the liturgy, which is still the case today. According to Albert Ahlstrom, Ph.D., director of music at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta, Gregorian chant is the foundation of not just all Catholic music, but also all music known in the Western world. Music for the setting of liturgical text, chant is a style of music that in its finest form consists of of pure melody without the accompaniment of any other instruments and employs a system of distinct scale patterns with varied modes and implications.
According to popular belief, it derives from Israeli temple music and other sources, however this is a topic of some contention.
Gregory the Great, who, in the sixth century, collected and distributed oral chants across the Roman Catholic world, giving them their name.
It marked the beginning of the process of composing.
It has a profound impact on all Western music.
“Because of all the chants in the monastic tradition, the focus shifted to chords and harmonies,” Ahlstrom explained.
A study of chant also aids in the development of a more comprehensive grasp of most Western classical music, as most composers were trained in this style.” Chant has also been discovered to have a calming impact by this music director.