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mode, in grammar


in grammar: see moodmood
or mode,
in verb inflection, the forms of a verb that indicate its manner of doing or being. In English the forms are called indicative (for direct statement or question or to express an uncertain condition, e.g.
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mode, in statistics


in statistics, an infrequently used type of averageaverage,
number used to represent or characterize a group of numbers. The most common type of average is the arithmetic mean. See median; mode.
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. In a group of numbers the mode is the number occurring most frequently. In the group 1, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 9, 9, the mode is 6 because it occurs four times and the others only once or twice.

mode, in music


in music.

1 A grouping or arrangement of notes in a scalescale,
in music, any series of tones arranged in a step-by-step rising or falling order of pitch. A scale defines the interval relationship of each tone to the others upon which the composition depends.
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 with respect to a most important note (in the pretonal modes of Western music, this note is called the final or finalis), and the patterns of larger and smaller steps (in Western music, whole and half steps) which these notes form. In the Middle Ages eight modes were developed as a theoretical foundation for plainsongplainsong
or plainchant,
the unharmonized chant of the medieval Christian liturgies in Europe and the Middle East; usually synonymous with Gregorian chant, the liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church.
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 performance, notation, and composition. These modes, derived from church practice, and explained either in their own terms, or using terms drawn from ancient Greek music theory, were grouped in pairs, each pair containing an authentic mode and a plagal mode, which are distinguished by the difference in the position of their ranges with respect to the final. The range of each mode was an octave. The "authentic" mode has its final at the bottom (and top) of its octave, the "plagal" mode ranges from the fourth below the final to the fifth above it. Although Greek names came to be used for these modes—Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, mixolydian, hypophrygian, etc.—there is no proof of direct relation to Greek theory. These eight modes were the basis for 11 centuries of musical composition. Freely treated, they have reappeared in the works of some 20th-century composers such as Vaughan Williams. In the late Middle Ages and during the Renaissance certain other modes were adopted, and in 1547 the Swiss theorist Glareanus described 12 as useful for composition. In the late 16th cent. and early 17th cent. the series was condensed in the major and minor modes in use today. The use of medieval modes by later composers is called modality in contrast to tonalitytonality
, in music, quality by which all tones of a composition are heard in relation to a central tone called the keynote or tonic. In music that has harmony the terms key and tonality
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. An extension of the term mode allows its application to the tonal systems of Hindu musicHindu music.
The music of India is entirely monodic. To Westerners it is the most accessible of all Asian musical cultures. Its tonal system divides the octave into 22 segments called srutis, not all equal but each roughly equal to one quarter of a whole tone of Western music.
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, Arabian musicArabian music,
classical musical tradition of the Islamic peoples of Arabia, the Fertile Crescent, and North Africa. Characteristics, Forms, and Instruments

The chief characteristics of Arabian music are modal homophony, florid ornamentation, and modal rhythm.
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, and Byzantine musicByzantine music,
the music of the Byzantine Empire composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music.

Long thought to be only a further development of ancient Greek music, Byzantine music is now regarded as an independent musical culture, with elements
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See G. Reese, Music in the Middle Ages (1940); E. A. Wienandt, Choral Music of the Church (1965).

2 In the 13th cent., six characteristic rhythmical patterns of long and short notes in ternary meter. Greek names—e.g., trochaic and iambic—were applied to these rhythmic patterns at a fairly late date, but there is no evidence of derivation from the meters of Greek poetry. These rhythmic modes governed composition until they were finally dissolved in the 14th cent. by Philippe de Vitry in his treatise Ars nova (see musical notationmusical notation,
symbols used to make a written record of musical sounds.

Two different systems of letters were used to write down the instrumental and the vocal music of ancient Greece. In his five textbooks on music theory Boethius (c.A.D. 470–A.D.
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3 In 20th-century music, the various forms of the tone row in twelve-tone composition (see serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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). The row, an arbitrary arrangement of the 12 chromatic tones of Western music, can be used in four different forms: the original row, the original row reversed (from the last note back to the first note), the original row inverted (upside down), and the inversion reversed. Each of these is a mode.





a system of interrelated tones expressed in the tone range; the sequence of steps in a mode forms its scale. The necessary condition for the existence of a mode is the qualitative difference of its steps. Each step performs a special modal function, determined by the gravitation of the unstable tones toward the stable ones (support tones, or points of rest).

The chief stable note is the tonic, which determines a mode’s tonality. Folk music, particularly music for one voice, is founded on the tonal interrelation of a second, although the fourth-fifth interrelation is also important, forming the diatonic basis of modes and shaping the secondary modal tones of support: on the fifth step (authentic modes with a framework of a fifth) and on the fourth (plagal modes with a framework of a fourth). The modal supports are the embryonic form of the harmonic functions of the steps of modes—the dominant and subdominant. Additional supports on the third step lead to the formation of the harmonic tonic of a mode, or to the major or minor triads.

Harmonic functions are of great importance in music composition. They manifest themselves primarily in the movement of the fifth step (the dominant) to the tonic, as well as in the more complex relation between the tonic and subdominant. The reason for such trend, which leads to the formation of the authentic cadence, is rooted in the nature of sound. The gravitation of unstable tones toward stable ones must be understood only as a tendency that manifests itself in music mostly indirectly and that usually is realized in the concluding cadences. The mode, in essence, represents an abstracted system of musical thought and its necessary logical foundation. A mode possesses only potential expressive characteristics, which manifest themselves above all in its mood, or flavor (major or minor coloring).

The diatonic scales are based on the authentic modes, of which the Ionian, as the mode corresponding completely to the functional relations of chords, became the basic mode of the major. An analogous position was occupied by the pure minor, based on the Aeolian mode, but which incorporates a seventh step that is raised a half-tone (harmonic minor) and a sixth that is raised an augmented second (melodic minor) to smooth over the interval. The complex major-minor system, which includes the indications of the remaining natural modes, grew on this foundation.

In relatively complex musical works, there are modulations to other tonalities, or keys; the tonal make-up of a mode is changed; one mode is replaced by another (minor by major); a mode is made complicated by an alteration of its steps, which introduces all twelve semitones into the tone range as a superstructure over the diatonic.

The structure of modes reflects the national and historical features of musical art and is subordinate to the general laws of acoustics and musical perception. While the modes of various peoples reflect unique national characteristics, they also contain much that is shared, which contributes to the mutual understanding and interaction among various musical cultures.

The traditional modal systems have been significantly altered by 20th-century composers, creating new aspects of study for musicologists and theorists. The study of modes is particularly intense in the USSR.




the brief domination of a particular taste in some sphere of life or culture. The word “mode” is distinguished from the term “style,” in that the former is used in reference to less stable and more superficial changes in the external forms of everyday objects and works of art. In a narrower sense, the word “mode” designates the changes in the style of dress, which occur in the course of relatively short intervals of time. This usage (to be dressed à la mode) goes back to the 17th century, when French court fashion became the model for all the countries of Europe.

The word “mode” is also used to designate uncertain, brief popularity.



in probability theory and mathematical statistics, one of the characteristics of a distribution of a random variable. For a random variable having probability density p(x), any point at which p(x) has a maximum is said to be a mode. Distributions with a single mode (called unimodal distributions) are the most important type of probability distribution. The mode is a less frequently used characteristic of a distribution than the mathematical expectation and the median.



the type of oscillations excited in complex oscillatory systems. A mode is characterized by the spatial configuration of the oscillating system, which is determined by the position of its nodal points (lines or surfaces) and by its natural frequency. A definite natural frequency usually corresponds to each mode. If the natural frequencies of two or more modes coincide, the modes are said to be degenerate.


Form of the information in a communication such as literal language, digital data, and video.
(computer science)
One of several alternative conditions or methods of operation of a device.
A form of propagation of guided waves that is characterized by a particular field pattern in a plane transverse to the direction of propagation. Also known as transmission mode.
The mineral composition of a rock, usually expressed as percentages of total weight or volume.
A state of an oscillating system that corresponds to a particular field pattern and one of the possible resonant frequencies of the system.
The most frequently occurring member of a set of numbers.

architectural mode

An inexact classification for buildings that share selected architectural features but, unlike an architectural style, may not share consistency of design, form, or ornamentation with other buildings similarly classified. When such buildings seemingly emulate an earlier prototype (for example, American Colonial Revival), important architectural details that characterize the prototype are often either omitted or exaggerated in size or importance; furthermore, other design elements may be added (such as a type of dormer, chimney, or window) that never existed in the prototype; or characteristic building materials of the prototype may be replaced with newer types of materials. Compare with architectural style.


i. The number or letter referring to the specific pulse spacing of the signals transmitted by an interrogator, as in identification friend or foe (IFF)), secondary surveillance radar (SSR), etc. Mode A (military mode 3) and mode C (altitude reporting) are used in air traffic control. With SSR, the specified four modes are A, C, S, and intermode. See identification friend or foe (IFF)).
ii. Any of the selectable methods of operation of a device or a system.


1. Music
a. any of the various scales of notes within one octave, esp any of the twelve natural diatonic scales taken in ascending order used in plainsong, folk song, and art music until 1600
b. (in the music of classical Greece) any of the descending diatonic scales from which the liturgical modes evolved
c. either of the two main scale systems in music since 1600
2. Philosophy a complex combination of ideas the realization of which is not determined by the component ideas
3. the quantitative mineral composition of an igneous rock
4. Physics one of the possible configurations of a travelling or stationary wave
5. Physics one of the fundamental vibrations


An object-oriented language.

["The Programming Language Mode: Language Definition and User Guide", J. Vihavainen, C-1987-50, U Helsinki, 1987].


A general state, usually used with an adjective describing the state. Use of the word "mode" rather than "state" implies that the state is extended over time, and probably also that some activity characteristic of that state is being carried out. "No time to hack; I'm in thesis mode."

In its jargon sense, "mode" is most often attributed to people, though it is sometimes applied to programs and inanimate objects. In particular, see hack mode, day mode, night mode, demo mode, fireworks mode, and yoyo mode; also chat.


More technically, a mode is a special state that certain user interfaces must pass into in order to perform certain functions. For example, in order to insert characters into a document in the Unix editor "vi", one must type the "i" key, which invokes the "Insert" command. The effect of this command is to put vi into "insert mode", in which typing the "i" key has a quite different effect (to wit, it inserts an "i" into the document). One must then hit another special key, "ESC", in order to leave "insert mode". Nowadays, modeful interfaces are generally considered losing but survive in quite a few widely used tools built in less enlightened times.


(1) An operational state that a system has been switched to. It implies at least two possible conditions. There are countless modes for hardware and software. With regard to modes on a hard drive (Mode 2, Mode 3, etc.), see IDE. See Real Mode, Protected Mode, burst mode, insert mode, supervisor state and program state.

(2) In fiber optics, the reflective path taken by light in a fiber. Each mode has its own pattern of electromagnetic fields as it propagates through the fiber. From a cross section of the fiber, these modes can be viewed as multiple headlights beaming at you. In multimode fiber, multiple modes are generated, causing pulse dispersion at the receiving end. See multimode fiber, dispersion and fiber optics glossary.