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Two questions on the Dorian mode

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  • Two questions on the Dorian mode

    The Dorian mode with G as Do (aka A dorian) uses F# rather than F. Here is a melody in A Dorian: https://i.imgur.com/je5zmVb.jpg Here we see the F#. If wee loook at the accompaniment we see an F which is not included in A dorian: https://i.imgur.com/Dm8ok0kr.jpg

    Why would someone use F when the note is not even included in A dorian?

    The acccompaniment begins on the note A in the bass. I have heard that you should not beginn with the finalis in the bass in Gregorian chant accompaniments but this is not Gregorian chant so maybe the rules are a bit different?

  • #2
    In the example you provide, there is an inner cadence in C major. This authentic cadence (vii6 [V7] -I) requires the F to be natural.

    As for the question of finalis and accompaniment, I do not have enough experience or expertise in that field to give you an accurate answer.

    Comment


    • #3
      I shouldn't join in this as I know very little about modes. I don't know how the A dorian mode can have G as Do?? Obviously terminology that passed me by when I was a student 50 years ago.

      You don't include any details of the source of this melody. It doesn't seem to me to be modal - more like A minor with a little twist in the direction of E minor.

      If you want harmonise it "authentically" you need to do it in the style of the period and this melody seems more like a modernish tune written in a pastiche folksong style.

      Can you tell us when it was written and, if known, by whom, please?

      .................................................. ..................................................
      LATER, after a bit of research!
      It looks to me as if Egil Hovland wrote the tune. There is a printed copy here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title...music/19872257
      (n.b. Look at the preview page - or as much as is visible.)

      And a performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKp7AbnbhI4
      Seems very effective to me.

      So not in a mode, just a modal feel.
      Last edited by Peterboroughdiapason; 02-10-2020, 07:58 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Anyone else have 'O Store Gud' listed as the tune to "How Great Thou Art" (Then Sings My Soul) in their hymnals?

        Comment


        • afuller5
          afuller5 commented
          Editing a comment
          According to hymnary.org, that is the tune name for "How Great Thou Art." FYI that is the tune in my hymnal.

          Later,
          Allen

        • davidecasteel
          davidecasteel commented
          Editing a comment
          The Methodist Hymnal uses that tune name.

      • #5
        This is the opening sentence of the o.p.: "The Dorian mode with G as Do (aka A dorian) uses F# rather than F". Is this, in fact, true? I am not going to research the matter because I don't really care one way or another but it seems a hinky premise. No need to go any further than this though. Either the opening sentence is true, or it is not.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
          Anyone else have 'O Store Gud' listed as the tune to "How Great Thou Art" (Then Sings My Soul) in their hymnals?
          Yes, but that's a different hymn!

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
            This is the opening sentence of the o.p.: "The Dorian mode with G as Do (aka A dorian) uses F# rather than F". Is this, in fact, true? I am not going to research the matter because I don't really care one way or another but it seems a hinky premise. No need to go any further than this though. Either the opening sentence is true, or it is not.
            - Because modal thinking is foreign to many who have grown up with Western European music, it is often described in relation to the major-minor system. In other words, modal harmony is often described in relation to tonal harmony.
            - Because it is most easily learned without sharps or flats, it is most commonly compared to C Major.

            In the movable-Do system, Do is the tonic of the major scale, and the notes from Do to Do comprise the notes of the major scale.
            - The notes from Re to Re comprise the notes of the Dorian scale. Using the notes of the C Major scale (C = Do), the scale that goes from Re to Re is called "D Dorian."
            - Hence, the original poster's reference to "G as Do." Thus, the note A is Re, and the A to A (Re to Re) scale is "A Dorian." Because "G Major" has an F#, "A Dorian" will have one, too.

            Interestingly enough, many modal melodies can be harmonized both modally and tonally, ie, with a lean toward major-minor harmony.

            Another way of looking at the dorian mode is to start with a major scale, then lower the third (the major third becomes a minor third) and the seventh (the leading note is replaced with the lowered seventh, which lacks that pull towards the upper tonic). Harmonically, i and v are minor, but IV remains major. III and VII are also major and ii is also minor.

            Because modal music spans such a vast history, a variety of harmonic rules have existed over the centuries. If you are writing modally today and you want an authentic sound, it is important to know which part of history you are trying to emulate. Beyond that, it's up to your own discretion which rules you apply and how.

            Comment


            • Peterboroughdiapason
              Peterboroughdiapason commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, I remember now! I try to avoid performing from plainsong notation, though I know that's lazy.

          • #8
            Originally posted by regeron View Post
            - Because modal thinking is foreign to many who have grown up with Western European music, it is often described in relation to the major-minor system. In other words, modal harmony is often described in relation to tonal harmony.
            - Because it is most easily learned without sharps or flats, it is most commonly compared to C Major.

            In the movable-Do system, Do is the tonic of the major scale, and the notes from Do to Do comprise the notes of the major scale.
            - The notes from Re to Re comprise the notes of the Dorian scale. Using the notes of the C Major scale (C = Do), the scale that goes from Re to Re is called "D Dorian."
            - Hence, the original poster's reference to "G as Do." Thus, the note A is Re, and the A to A (Re to Re) scale is "A Dorian." Because "G Major" has an F#, "A Dorian" will have one, too.

            Interestingly enough, many modal melodies can be harmonized both modally and tonally, ie, with a lean toward major-minor harmony.

            Another way of looking at the dorian mode is to start with a major scale, then lower the third (the major third becomes a minor third) and the seventh (the leading note is replaced with the lowered seventh, which lacks that pull towards the upper tonic). Harmonically, i and v are minor, but IV remains major. III and VII are also major and ii is also minor.

            Because modal music spans such a vast history, a variety of harmonic rules have existed over the centuries. If you are writing modally today and you want an authentic sound, it is important to know which part of history you are trying to emulate. Beyond that, it's up to your own discretion which rules you apply and how.
            Why do we see an F natural in the accompanimemt? It seems as if they took F natural from te key of C major. How can we be in C major if we are in A dorian?

            Comment


            • regeron
              regeron commented
              Editing a comment
              See my post #2 above.

              The F-natural exists to support an inner cadence in C-Major

              The setting gives the impression of following modern rules, as there appear to be seventh chords in the first line, which wouldn't have been allowed historically. To me, this means there is room for other modern treatments, as well, like using inner cadences in related keys, whether they were allowed historically or not.
              Last edited by regeron; 02-11-2020, 05:43 AM.

          • #9
            Originally posted by henrik.hank View Post

            Why do we see an F natural in the accompanimemt? It seems as if they took F natural from te key of C major. How can we be in C major if we are in A dorian?
            But it's a 20th century tune - not plainsong or folksong. The only "correct" harmonization has to be the one that the composer wrote! Have you looked at/listened to the links I posted?

            Who knows if he thought it was in A minor, the Dorian mode or a sort of pentatonic scale? Perhaps he just wrote what he thought sounded good. Or perhaps he just wanted it to sound a bit modal/folky. Personally I'd say it's in A minor, with a quirky 3rd phrase.

            Comment


            • regeron
              regeron commented
              Editing a comment
              European church music has closer ties to modal tunes than North American church music. Historical modal tunes remain well known and inspire new modal tunes.

              My vote still goes with A-Dorian and not A-minor. The consistent use of G-natural in the melody (rather than G#) makes that fairly clear.

          • #10
            Fair point, Regeron. However the use of F naturals in the harmony throughout, except for the third phrase, suggests otherwise. What about the Aeolian mode, then? However, quite clearly the third phrase modulates - his harmony leads to a clear cadence in E minor, albeit with a flattened 7th and a bare 5th. This, to me, explains the F sharps (if explanation were needed). This 3rd phrase certainly can't be in the same mode as the rest. I think he's just writing a folky/"ancient-sounding" pastiche. Listening to the performance I linked to, I think it is very effective.

            Comment


            • Peterboroughdiapason
              Peterboroughdiapason commented
              Editing a comment
              Agreed! My plainsong accompaniments are just done by ear and what "sounds right". I don't think Hovland probably set out to write in a particular mode. Who knows: perhaps HE didn't know much about modes!

            • regeron
              regeron commented
              Editing a comment
              Egil Hovland (October 18, 1924 – February 5, 2013) was a Norwegian composer. He studied at the Oslo conservatory with Arild Sandvold and Bjarne Brustad, in Copenhagen with Vagn Holmboe, at Tanglewood with Aaron Copland, and in Florence with Luigi Dallapiccola. (The simple fact that a Norwegian studied in Sweden, Denmark, the USA and Italy makes me wonder how he managed all those languages! It certainly implies an ability to learn and apply knowledge and skill.)

              That's a pedigree that definitely puts mine to shame.

              Here's the Wikipedia article that lists his compositions. Again, a list that puts to shame anything I've done.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egil_Hovland

              I suspect he knows VERY well how to manage the modes.

            • Peterboroughdiapason
              Peterboroughdiapason commented
              Editing a comment
              I expect so. However he was a student, presumably, in the early 1940s. He would certainly have known the modes and, presumably, had training in writing or completing Palestrina-style counterpoint. Perhaps not more, though, and he may not have been taught the sort of terminology now used: I don't think I was or, if I was, I've forgotten!

              Had he been French he would have been immersed in plainsong but I don't think there'd have been much plainsong in the Norwegian Lutheran church and I imagine any there was would have been given metrical treatment.

              In any case, I think his hymn tune is more interesting than it would have been if he'd stuck to pure modal writing.

              It strkes me that I know nothing about plainsong accompaniment until the 20th century. I presume the French did it in the 19th century - Guilmant and those around him. Franck doesn't seem to have used plainsong at all, or his predecessors. There are treatises about accompanying plainsong from early in the 1900s both in France and England: JH Arnold (1927) and Henri Potiron (1933). The English Hymnal (1906) has examples and some instruction. I have a precious volume of accompaniments from a little later that I bought on the banks of the Seine.

              I think the very earliest organs (e.g. the Halberstadt organ) can only have played tne plainsong melody, and pernaps, later the melody in, basically, 5ths and octaves.

              I'd be very interested in having information about any sources of plainsong accompaniment (as opposed to preludes and variations). Was it ever accompanied in pre-reformation Germany and England?

          • #11
            Lutheran (historically German Protestant) hymnody continues to use both modal and tonal melodies. Hovland, like any other trained church organist, would have known how to provide both a modal and a tonal accompaniment to a modal hymn. As an example, cadences could be harmonized with or without a leading tone.

            I do not know how much style overlap there is between accompaniments to Latin plainsong melodies and German modal melodies. At some point, this also measures distinctions between Catholic and Protestant styles. I'll see what more I can find about modal hymn tunes.

            Comment


            • #12
              I think most early Lutheran hymns - those with melodies derived from plainsong - were modal. I wonder if by modal harmonisation you mean only using notes from the mode? Easy enough to do but could sound a bit artificially "archaic". Bach certainly didn't do that. I'm just looking at 'Aus tiefer Not'' - Riemenschneider No 10, with its extraordinary first chord. And we know about "the strange harmonies that confused the congregation". I wonder would Hovland's teacher Arild Sandvold have tried to avoid chromaticism, considering he studied with Straube and was heavily influenced by the music of Reger. I suspect not.

              By the way, I'm still bemused by "The Dorian mode with G as Do (aka A dorian)". I'd say Dorian on A. To say the Dorian begins on "re" seems totally wrong to me. The mode is not a subspecies of C major. However I understand why - just don't like it and at my age am allowed to be grumpy!

              I would really like to know more about plainsong accompaniment (as opposed to hymns) before the 20th century. When was it first accompanied? Was plainsong used much before the revival at the end of the 19th century? Anyone know?

              Comment


              • #13
                Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                By the way, I'm still bemused by "The Dorian mode with G as Do (aka A dorian)". I'd say Dorian on A. To say the Dorian begins on "re" seems totally wrong to me. The mode is not a subspecies of C major. However I understand why - just don't like it and at my age am allowed to be grumpy!
                I agree with you about calling it A-Dorian, the same way we'd refer to C-major or e-minor. I wouldn't call it "dorian on A" because I don't often refer to the "major on C" though I would understand what is meant. My convention is to name the tonic, followed by the scale type, with or without a hyphen.

                Re: "The Dorian mode with G as Do", I also agree with you. We don't reference minor scales to their relative major. This should be no different.

                As far as saying that a dorian scale begins on re, I don't have a problem with that. If we are using do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do to define or represent a major scale, it makes perfect sense to use re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do-re to define or represent a dorian scale.

                I'm also going to put out there that if the original poster is unwilling to look up more information about modal melodies and their harmonization, and that if other posters here are just as reluctant to contribute, we can let this thread rest until someone has some more authoritative information. Speculation can be interesting, but it doesn't necessarily take us anywhere.

                I'll also suggest that because those of us who have posted so far have limited experience and training in this area, we don't even really share enough of a vocabulary to make discussion easy.

                Thanks to those who have contributed so far. I know I have things to look up, but am in no rush to do so right now.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Just saying, the Bach "Dorian" T&F (BWV 538) is listed as D Dorian and the key center and tonic are D.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
                    Just saying, the Bach "Dorian" T&F (BWV 538) is listed as D Dorian and the key center and tonic are D.
                    I've never seen it listed as D Dorian. It's T & F in D minor. (No autograph score, I believe.) There is no Bb in the key signature but that was not uncommon: the D minor Prelude and Fugue (BWV 549a) was also written without a key signature (you can see a scan here) as also (I think) was the D minor Canzona.

                    The nickname "Dorian" was first used in the 1845 Peters Edition because of the lack of a key signature and, presumably, to distinguish it from THE T & F in d (BWV 565).

                    I don't think anyone has suggested it's actually in the Dorian Mode, though.

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