#1
So i was thinking about how the notes on the piano are set out and i thought it was weird that i always think of the notes of the piano as CDEFGABC, not ABCDEFGA though this is alphebetical order.

So i thought that when they first named the notes it must have been sensible to call the note that sounds A, A, and the not the note that sounds C, A. So i thought that they must have started the most common scale on A, not on C like we do, which would have made the most common scale the minor (Aoelian) scale.

So am i right? Was the minor scale the most popular at the time when they named the notes?


12345abcd3

PS, i'm not sure i did a very good job explaining the A C bit, so if you don't get it say so.


EDIT: I know about when there were only the notes ABCDEFG so music was modal and starting on each note gives a different mode and stuff, so you don't have to explain that part.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at May 22, 2008,
#2
I think it has something to do with A being exactly 440Hz, not sure. I've always wondered the same thing.
#4
I think Aeolian was the most used mode when it was being used by the church. It was only around the baroque era (about the time of bach) that music because described in Major/minor.

After hearing a couple of gregorian chants, I dont think the church used many major modes. The ones I've heard are somber, slow and solemn.
#5
Quote by pwrmax
I think it has something to do with A being exactly 440Hz, not sure. I've always wondered the same thing.


Keep in mind that when they named the notes they didn't have the capacity to say 440Hz is A because they had no way of measuring if a note was 440Hz and the term Hz had no meaning anyways.
#6
Since the minor scale (and the major scale) didn't really come into exsistance like we know them until the latter part of the Renaissance, I don't think so.
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#7
Quote by The Rambler
Since the minor scale (and the major scale) didn't really come into exsistance like we know them until the latter part of the Renaissance, I don't think so.


Well, then i mean was the Aeolian the prefered mode, instead of the ionian?
#8
Quote by 12345abcd3
Well, then i mean was the Aeolian the prefered mode, instead of the ionian?


Neither aeolian or ionian were commonly used, nor are they the same as major and minor.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#9
Quote by Archeo Avis
Neither aeolian or ionian were commonly used, nor are they the same as major and minor.


Now you've lost me a little bit.

How are the Ionian and the Aeolian modes not the same as the Major and Minor? They do contain the same, notes, tonics, and associated chords after all.
#10
Quote by elgalad
Now you've lost me a little bit.

How are the Ionian and the Aeolian modes not the same as the Major and Minor? They do contain the same, notes, tonics, and associated chords after all.


Modal music is vastly different than key based music. They have completely different applications. Using the terms interchangeably would be incorrect.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#11
Quote by Archeo Avis
Modal music is vastly different than key based music. They have completely different applications. Using the terms interchangeably would be incorrect.


Ah I see. It's a semantic difference.

Care to enlighten me as to how using Aeolian in a modal sense differs from using the minor in a key-based sense?
#12
Care to enlighten me as to how using Aeolian in a modal sense differs from using the minor in a key-based sense?


I'm also interested in this answer. Aeolian is the most common mode used in hard rock and heavy metal. I use it as key-based. Attention to the tonic is necessary to define the melody of the mode.

The easiest way to understand this stuff is to study Metal Method's Stage Six: http://www.metalmethod.com/guitar-lesson-stage6.htm
Last edited by Axe-me at May 30, 2008,
#13
Quote by Archeo Avis
Neither aeolian or ionian were commonly used, nor are they the same as major and minor.


Because modal music is totally different to diatonic stuff? Yeah i kind off get that. I just changed my question because i realised that it would probably be wrong for the time period.

So the new question is "Was Aeolian the standard mode, not ionian?"
#14
Quote by demonofthenight
I think Aeolian was the most used mode when it was being used by the church. It was only around the baroque era (about the time of bach) that music because described in Major/minor.

After hearing a couple of gregorian chants, I dont think the church used many major modes. The ones I've heard are somber, slow and solemn.


Gregorian chants were almost exclusively in Dorian
#15
Quote by Axe-me
I'm also interested in this answer. Aeolian is the most common mode used in hard rock and heavy metal. I use it as key-based. Attention to the tonic is necessary to define the melody of the mode.


Rock and metal are very rarely modal.

So the new question is "Was Aeolian the standard mode, not ionian?"


No. Neither aeolian nor ionian were common.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#16
Quote by Archeo Avis

No. Neither aeolian nor ionian were common.


Then why start the notes on A and not at the start of the most common scale?
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at May 24, 2008,
#17
Id say minor is the standard now actually. I think its same to say the vast majority of songs written now a days are in a minor key.
#18
Quote by 12345abcd3
Then why start the notes on A and not at the start of th most common scale?


What?

Id say minor is the standard now actually. I think its same to say the vast majority of songs written now a days are in a minor key.


This means nothing. Western musical concepts are described according to their relationship to the major scale.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#19
Quote by demonofthenight
I think Aeolian was the most used mode when it was being used by the church. It was only around the baroque era (about the time of bach) that music because described in Major/minor.

After hearing a couple of gregorian chants, I dont think the church used many major modes. The ones I've heard are somber, slow and solemn.


Quote by GetOutOfMyYard
Gregorian chants were almost exclusively in Dorian


These are possibly two of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my entire life.

There was never a "primarily used mode" in pre-baroque music. Very often the music shifted modes several times within the context of the piece. Take a 1st semester music history course or something, please. Also, after the pre-common practice period, churches never focused on minor keys due to beliefs about tone centers invoking the devil and such, hence the common used the Picardy 3rd at the end of church pieces.

And GetOutOfMyYard, I'm not gonna even justify that with a response, other than you're wrong, and stop talking out of your ass.
#20
A lot of the confusion in this thread stems from people not understanding the difference between pre-reformation modality, and post-Trentian (roughly speaking) modality. It wasn't until mid-baroque that tonality as we know it even took form, Bach still considered a large number of his works to be modal, especially the earlier ones... the major/minor system was in response to the pretonal system, because it sounds different.

Early modes are based on a hexachord, and not the seven tone scale. It wasn't until about 1650 that C and A (I think, I might be wrong about A) became acceptable "final" tones in the modal system, which led directly into the diatonic formation, and tonality. That didn't develop into modes as we know it today for almost three hundred years, when Debussy combined chromaticism with Fuxian modal counterpoint to develop tonal modes. (There's a lot of development I skipped in that, btw)

Before the tonal system, modes weren't 'standard', they're something that was analyzed later, in retrospect. In ecclesiastic music, any of the twelve modes were fairly common... different movements of the mass had acceptable modes, and unacceptable ones. Before that, we can't say that any mode was more or less common, because not enough music survives.
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#21
Quote by Guitar_Theory
These are possibly two of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my entire life.
What a helpfull sentence.
Quote by Guitar_Theory
There was never a "primarily used mode" in pre-baroque music. Very often the music shifted modes several times within the context of the piece. Take a 1st semester music history course or something, please. Also, after the pre-common practice period, churches never focused on minor keys due to beliefs about tone centers invoking the devil and such, hence the common used the Picardy 3rd at the end of church pieces.
You ever heard many gregorian chants? Have you even ever been to a church? Most of the gregorian chants I've heard sound very minor orientated.
And whats this bullshit about invoking the devil? Show me some sauce
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
What?


This means nothing. Western musical concepts are described according to their relationship to the major scale.


I never said what things were based on, Im talking about the scale thats used more. Read before you quote.

EDIT:

You also need to read the OP, because if you had, you would have know he was asking which scale is more popular. Not which scale things are based on.
#23
Quote by Archeo Avis

Quote by 12345abcd3
Then why start the notes on A and not at the start of the most common scale?

What?


Well, if we were naming notes after the first 7 letters of the alphabet for the first time today, it seems logical (if we forget about A being 440hz) that we would start at the beggining of the most common scale ie, C major. This would make the note we know as C, A.

Therefore, i was wondering if the Aeolian scale was the most popular, and if not why they named the notes how they did.

Is that correct enough for you?
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at May 24, 2008,
#24
Gamma has always been C... I don't really know why, I suspect it's an artifact of Guidonian notation, and not anything related to the actual music.
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#25
Quote by Corwinoid
Gamma has always been C... I don't really know why, I suspect it's an artifact of Guidonian notation, and not anything related to the actual music.
Care to explain Guidonian? I wiki'ed and googled it (like a good little nooblet), but it didnt really make sense. Something about learning to sight read? If so how?
#26
Guido basically invented modern notation, but he used a simplified form... Guidonian notation is incredibly similar to what we have now, but used a four line staff. One staff line for each finger. When he was teaching people to sing, he would teach them using hand signals (this will be incredibly familiar to anybody who's done solfege in choir or voice lessons). His hand signals consisted of using each of his fingers, and raising/lowering his arm for the octave.

I'm not really sure how Gamma became the fundamental pitch in the latin system, and I don't think anybody else does either (Gamma developed into C and G in latin, and was 3 in the Greek numeric system)... actually, thinking about it I do know. The hexachordal solfege and its syllables are derived from Ut Queant Laxis, and are taken from the first syllable of line in the first stanza (Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la -- without ti); so he would have notated gamma/ut for G in the greek (each line starts on a higher note in the hexachord, so each syllable corresponds directly to that note, G-A-B-C-D-E-F), and that would have been mistranslated into latin/german languages as C.

Both developed into modern systems... for solfege we use hand signals and level to signify pitch, and Ut become Do. As for modern notation... some monk along the way decided to use his thumb.
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#27
Quote by Corwinoid
Guido basically invented modern notation, but he used a simplified form... Guidonian notation is incredibly similar to what we have now, but used a four line staff. One staff line for each finger. When he was teaching people to sing, he would teach them using hand signals (this will be incredibly familiar to anybody who's done solfege in choir or voice lessons). His hand signals consisted of using each of his fingers, and raising/lowering his arm for the octave.

I'm not really sure how Gamma became the fundamental pitch in the latin system, and I don't think anybody else does either (Gamma developed into C and G in latin, and was 3 in the Greek numeric system)... actually, thinking about it I do know. The hexachordal solfege and its syllables are derived from Ut Queant Laxis, and are taken from the first syllable of line in the first stanza (Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la -- without ti); so he would have notated gamma/ut for G in the greek (each line starts on a higher note in the hexachord, so each syllable corresponds directly to that note, G-A-B-C-D-E-F), and that would have been mistranslated into latin/german languages as C.

Both developed into modern systems... for solfege we use hand signals and level to signify pitch, and Ut become Do. As for modern notation... some monk along the way decided to use his thumb.


Wow, i used to do some solfege stuff but i've forgotten all the hand symbols now. You said thar Ut, re, mi, fa, so, la , ti was G-A-B-C-D-E-F but when i did solfege i remeber it going up in the major scale so the notes now are C-D-E-F-G-A-B. Do you have any idea how we got from the first set of notes to the second?
#28
Quote by Archeo Avis
Rock and metal are very rarely modal.


No. Neither aeolian nor ionian were common.


I always see your posts, and a lot of the time I get what you're saying but whenever it comes to scales, modes, or keys you lose me. I consider myself pretty good with thoery, but I don't get what the difference is between A Aeolian and A minor besides the technicality that one is a key and one is a mode. But what makes one a key and one a mode?

Care to explain?
#29
A wasn't always 440 Hz. The pitch of all the notes has slightly decreased of the centuries.
#30
Quote by Gordita Supreme
I always see your posts, and a lot of the time I get what you're saying but whenever it comes to scales, modes, or keys you lose me. I consider myself pretty good with thoery, but I don't get what the difference is between A Aeolian and A minor besides the technicality that one is a key and one is a mode. But what makes one a key and one a mode?

Care to explain?



a minor is a scale of its own with modes i think, aeolian is a mode of the major scale - only difference i think.

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#31
Quote by 12345abcd3
Wow, i used to do some solfege stuff but i've forgotten all the hand symbols now. You said thar Ut, re, mi, fa, so, la , ti was G-A-B-C-D-E-F but when i did solfege i remeber it going up in the major scale so the notes now are C-D-E-F-G-A-B. Do you have any idea how we got from the first set of notes to the second?

Sure... Ut would have been the greek gamma, for G, when Guido wrote his stuff on the hexachord; so the hexachord durum would have been G-A-B-C-D-E, with Gamma Ut (gamut) as G the fundamental.

This system is only partially movable, unlike modern solfege. Ut could be transposed to G, F, or C -- with C as the hexachord naturale, not having B (but not the fundamental). Modern solfege is one of two systems, the one most of us know is the "movable Do", so that Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do is a major scale starting from any pitch. The other system (the one we want to start teaching children with) is "fixed Do", so that "Do" is always C.

Since the greek gamma derives into both the latin C and the latin G, I would suspect that either the basis of the system is mistranslated (thus gamma->C, rather than how guido intended)... or when ti was added to the solfege, and C became an acceptable final (ca. 1570 or so, about a thousand years later), that the hexachord naturale developed into a "natural major" since it doesn't have the B-molle, or other pitch consistencies with the hexachordal system.

Note that I said "or" there. I've given three different reasons in this thread and corrected myself all three times. I'm not 100% sure, since pre-tonal music history isn't really my specialty. Those two make the most sense, and they're probably equally likely. I'm not sure if the change happened at development of tonality, or if the change happened during germanic/romantic translation, hence the discrepancy.

Quote by Freshnoise
A wasn't always 440 Hz. The pitch of all the notes has slightly decreased of the centuries.
Also, this is flat out wrong. The pitch of all notes sharply increased during the 1800s and early 1900s, as orchestral instruments became steel stringed and could handle higher tensions capable of producing louder volumes.
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