#1
I have a question.....

Let's say that the scale (mode) used in a song is E Phyrigian. Which contains the notes E F G A B C D right?
So what would be the key of the song? I don't think the key is named after the mode. So will the key be C major / A minor? << Which contains the same notes as E phyrigian.

Hope you understood my question.


Thanks,
#2
This thread will open the usual fire and brimstone about modes.

Basically, there is a difference between tonal and modal music. Truly modal music doesn't have a "key" in the sense of major/minor. The music is "in" the mode. So if you truly are playing "in E phrygian", which means that you can clearly tell that E is the home-base, C major and A minor have nothing to do with it. They might contain the same notes, but that's irrelevant in this context. You have to stop thinking of modes strictly relative to major/minor, otherwise the tendency will be for you to continue playing in minor and major keys while thinking that you're playing modally.

If the context is right (I.E. if E is clearly home base, there is strong use of a b2, and there is no detectable harmonic movement), I have no problem saying that a given piece of music is "in E phrygian". Because it is.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Sep 12, 2011,
#3
You usually just say, "*Said song* is in this mode." and leave it at that. Modes and keys are entirely separate things. Related yes, but separate.
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#4
Think of it as the "Phrygian scale" instead of "Phrygian mode" as you are not writing modal music. And with that in mind, you would name the key after you your root note just like any other scale.

EDIT: So what I mean by this is that a song using the notes EFGABCD where the root is clearly E, is using a Phyrgian scale (not mode. This is important) and is in the key of E minor.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Sep 12, 2011,
#5
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Think of it as the "Phrygian scale" instead of "Phrygian mode" as you are not writing modal music. And with that in mind, you would name the key after you your root note just like any other scale.

EDIT: So what I mean by this is that a song using the notes EFGABCD where the root is clearly E, is using a Phyrgian scale (not mode. This is important) and is in the key of E minor.



That's actually Cmaj/Am. Gmaj/Em would have an F# in it.

Modal playing really does not have a key per se...what you have to remember is that each mode starts and ends with the same note. If you want to change the tonality of the mode to fit with the song you're playing you have to apply the formula for the desired mode to another mode to come up with the correct notes.

For instance, the natural Phrygian mode always begins and ends with E. The formula for the Phrygian mode is 1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7. If you want to play in another mode where the "key" is a D you have to the formula of the mode that begins with D (Dorian). So the Dorian mode contains DEFABCD (1,2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7). Instead take your Phrygian formula and apply it to this mode, this would make it D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C, D.
So the new mode would be considered D Phrygian.

So an easier way to lay this out:

Phrygian: E, F, G#, A, B, C, D, E
1,b2,b3, 4, 5, b6,7, tonic

D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C, D
1, b2, b2,4,5, b6, 7, tonic


EDIT: Fixed it.
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Last edited by Inbleach at Sep 12, 2011,
#6
I'd put 1 sharp in the key signature then use a natural every time I write an F.

When playing music -- inside or outside of the scale system -- it's helpful to ask "Where does this resolve to?" then ask "is it major or minor?" It might be neither -- there are scales in Japanese music (and plenty of others I am sure) that never hit a major or minor third above the root. The E Phrygian scale has a G.

As I'm sure you're aware if you have read a few things in this forum, the term "mode" is hideously overused by guitar players. There is modal music and there are progressions that hint at certain modes, but these are not that common. Most rock music is typically tonal.
#8
Quote by Inbleach
That's actually Cmaj/Am. Gmaj/Em would have an F# in it.

But the key is defined by where it resolves to. If it resolves to E minor, it is in E minor even if the notes are identical to those of A minor. In this case F# would be treated as an accidental.

So TS, if you're using the Phrygian scale to compose a song, it's most likely in E minor with the b2 as an accidental. The key signature will have one sharp.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#10
Quote by Inbleach
That's actually Cmaj/Am. Gmaj/Em would have an F# in it.


No, it's not Cmaj/Am, because I specifically said "where the root is clearly E." And having an F or an F# doesn't change the key. It's in the key of Emin because it resolves on an Emin chord. That simple.
#11
Quote by Jesse Clarkson
Probably got confused with dominant phrygian.


It was like 5 am when I typed that up so I was about half-stupid. You're right
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