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Modes, Ecclesiastical

(Ch. Modes; Ch. Tones; Kirchentöne; Kirchentonarten). Medieval parent scales of our major and minor scales were used for all Gregorian and polyphonic ch. music till ca. 1600, to a lesser degree thereafter. The octave range of the individual modes may be related to any major scale; they are most commonly related to C major. One can easily determine the character of the individual modes by using only the white keys in playing the following octaves as so-called authentic modes: lonian (C-C), Dorian (D-D), Phrygian (E-E), Lydian (F-F; helped pave the way for F major by often using B flat instead of B natural to avoid the use of the tritone [an interval of 3 whole steps, or augmented 4th; here from F to B]), Mixolydian (G-G), Aeolian (A-A; same as a pure minor scale). The Hyperaeolian mode, beginning on the 7th degree, or leading tone, of the scale, was rejected, since this tone leans too heavily on the 1st degree. In relating to other major keys, one must use their key signature. Plagal (from Gk. plagios, “oblique”) modes began half an octave lower (Gk. hypo) than the authentic modes and had their keynote on the 4th scale step; e.g., with Dorian beginning on D, Hypodorian begins on A. Many 16th and 17th c. chorales are modal hymns. Many are in the Dorian and Phrygian modes, the soft Lydian mode being gen. avoided M. Luther's* chorale version of the Creed (TLH 251, 2d tune) is in the Dorian mode; “From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee” (TLH 329) is in the Phrygian mode: “A Mighty Fortress” (TLH 262) is in the Ionian mode. Ecclesiastical modes, also called Gregorian modes or tones, are the 8 groups of chants corresponding to the 8 modes to which the Psalms are sung in the Gregorian system: Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Lydian, Hypolydian, Mixolydian, Hypomixolydian. See also Gregorian Music; Psalm Tones. Sometimes, improperly, all modes are called ecclesiastical modes. WEB

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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