The first thing many beginning students learn is the musical scale: doh, re, mi, and so on. But did you know that’s not the only scale, or mode?
What is a Mode?
A mode is a scale, like the “doh re me fa sol” scale made famous by Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music. “Mode” is Latin for “method, or “manner”. However, the modes originated in ancient Greece.
ClassicFM.com writes, “The modes were named after various regions, perhaps to represent the people who lived there, because Greek musical theorists were philosophers too, and associated the arts with aspects of morality.” In other words, each Greek mode represented a philosophy about the culture of the people in certain areas of ancient Greece.
The modes were often used by the Church when putting psalms to music, and all music belong to at least one mode. The list of Greek modes are:
A beautiful example of the Phrygian mode is “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
A fun example? “The Simpsons” theme song!
If you’d like more information on how these modes work in music, this YouTube video explaining modes is a wonderful resource!
For more music education, you can contact me any time for lessons! I offer a comprehensive instruction for students of all ages and skill levels.