Authenticity, sources

White Tree Productions ioseph at
Fri Sep 15 00:16:45 PDT 1995

On Thu, 14 Sep 1995, Brett Williams wrote:

> Modes are a specific pattern of whole and half steps. As it was 
> explained to me, Pythagoras set the intervals used for Western music at 
> specific mathmatic ratios for reasons beknownst only unto him. He used 

Based on string vibration. They vibrate in segments......and this can be
mathematically expressed. Hit the harmonic on frets 5, 7 and 12 on a
chromatically fretting instrument for a graphic demo of the relationships. 

> an instrument later named a monochord (one string, movable bridges).  
> The initial pattern of whole and half steps, the Mixolydian mode, goes 
> like this:
> 1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1     and so on.  

Common scale pattern on fretted instruments ...... <grin!>

Apparently the Dorian Greeks, of 
> which Pythagoras was one, thought three whole steps in a row sounded 
> too weird to live.
> As a consequence, Ionian mode, our modern major scale, is farther down 
> the list.  In full, they are:
> Mixolydian          (open or unstopped string)  G to G
> Aeolian             (first space)               A to A
> Locrian             (second space)              B to B
> Ionian              (third space)               C to C
> Dorian              (fourth space)              D to D
> Lydian              (fifth space)               E to E
> Phrygian            (sixth space)               F to F
> In order to hear each mode correctly using a monochord, one would shift 
> the tonic to the *space* on the fretboard corresponding to that mode. 
> In other words, if your tonic note was C, one would tune the string to 
> place the C on the first *space* of the fretboard to obtain Aeolian 
> mode.

But only if your fretboard is diatonic, no? Chromatic fretting requires
using the 1 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 sequence, as each "1" in this would denote a two
fret jump.

Modes are easier to explain by simply saying that there was little or no real
conception of accidentals (sharps and flats) (tho they apparently -were- used
but not recognized for what they were......"standard tuning" as a concept is
screamingly OOP.)

 locksley at          PO Box 35190          Locksley Plot Systems
 White Tree Productions       Phoenix, AZ 85069             CyberMongol Ltd
         "Do not ascribe your own motivations to others. At best, 
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*song lyrics at  pub/sca/locksley  - tapes at 1-510-735-9663*
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