Authenticity, sources

White Tree Productions ioseph at locksley.com
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 locksley.com          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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