Mode (music) - Other Types

Other Types

While the term "mode" is still most commonly understood to refer to Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, or Locrian scales, in modern music theory the word is sometimes applied to scales other than the diatonic. This is seen, for example, in "melodic minor" scale harmony, which is based on the seven rotations of the ascending melodic minor scale, yielding some interesting scales as shown below. The "chord" row lists chords that can be built from the given mode.

Name Melodic minor Dorian ♭2 Lydian augmented Lydian dominant Mixolydian ♭6 or "Hindu" half-diminished (or) Locrian Natural 2nd altered (or) diminished whole-tone (or) Super Locrian
Chord C-minmaj7 D-♭9 E♭maj♯5 F7♯11 G7♭13 Aø (or) A-7♭5 B7alt
Name Harmonic minor Locrian Natural 6th Ionian ♯5 Ukrainian minor Phrygian major 3rd/Phrygian dominant Lydian ♯2 Super Locrian diminished
Chord C-minmaj7 E♭-maj7♯5 F-7 G7♭9 A♭-maj7 (or) A♭-minmaj7 B-Dim7
Name Double harmonic scale Lydian ♯2 ♯6 Phrygian ♭4 ♭♭7 Hungarian gypsy scale Locrian Nat6 ♯3 Harmonic Major ♯5 ♯2 Locrian ♭♭3 ♭♭7
Chord Cmaj7 Dbmaj7 Edim7nat5 F-maj7 G7flat5 Abmaj7#5 Bdim7flat3

The number of possible modes for any intervallic set is dictated by the pattern of intervals in the scale. For scales built of a pattern of intervals that only repeats at the octave (like the diatonic set), the number of modes is equal to the number of notes in the scale. Scales with a recurring interval pattern smaller than an octave, however, have only as many modes as notes within that subdivision: e.g., the diminished scale, which is built of alternating whole and half steps, has only two distinct modes, since all odd-numbered modes are equivalent to the first (starting with a whole step) and all even-numbered modes are equivalent to the second (starting with a half step). The chromatic and whole-tone scales, each containing only steps of uniform size, have only a single mode each, as any rotation of the sequence results in the same sequence. Another general definition excludes these equal-division scales, and defines modal scales as subsets of them: "If we leave out certain steps of a scale we get a modal construction" (Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Cott 1973, 101). In "Messiaen's narrow sense, a mode is any scale made up from the 'chromatic total,' the twelve tones of the tempered system" (Vieru 1985, 63).

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