Medieval Modes

Modes, Medieval


the name given to eight—and by the end of the Renaissance, to 12—modes, which formed the basis of the music—primarily church music—composed in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The medieval modes were also used in the polyphonic music of the Renaissance. In the notation of medieval modes, an ordinal number originally served to designate a pair of medieval modes that combined an authentic and a plagal mode; later, an ordinal number was used for each mode. The names of the ancient Greek modes were used; the scale to which they referred were already different (Figure 1).

The basic components of the medieval modes were the final (the end tone), the ambitus (compass of the scale), and, in the melodies used for chants, the dominant (the repeating tone used in chants, marked in notation by a white note in the middle of the mode’s range). Each of the medieval modes had its own characteristic, formulaic melodies.

Figure 1

Other modes apparently existed in the secular and folk music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, they were disregarded by official musical theory, which was controlled by the church. Only in the mid-16th century were four more modes added to the system of medieval modes (Figure 2).

Figure 2

A particular kind of expressiveness was ascribed to each of the medieval modes.


References in periodicals archive ?
The book's title, Gothic for the Steam Age, refers primarily to Scott's application of medieval modes to multiple modern needs, but also resonates with the fact that his extensive practice was facilitated by the national rail network that permitted him to use his journey time for writing books.
00--This book is the third in a trilogy by Dupre, which examines the emergence and development of modernity, in as far as we consider it a stage radically separated by a "caesura" from Ancient and Medieval modes of thinking and of living.
What was the impact of medieval modes of creativity on his imaginative writing?
What I would like to explore here is the affinities between medieval modes of conceptualizing anomolous bodies: on one hand, the creature bodies of the bestiaries, and on the other, the paradoxical body of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Watch and ward system is poor due to shortage of staff and still the medieval modes of fire extinguishing like use of leather water bags, are in vogue.
The way in which he unwinds the literate/illiterate dichotomy into a dynamic range of 'registers'--literate, semi-literate, semi-illiterate and illiterate, between which individuals move across time and between different activities--has real potential to facilitate understanding medieval modes of literacy and communication generally.
The queer cultural theorist, Mills argues, is able to posit points of contact between modern and medieval modes of 'construction of selves and communities', bridging the divides of historical remoteness and cultural difference (19).
Each essay that comprises the collection is in itself an important insight into medieval modes of perception.
Contributing to the volume's developing argument about the ways in which early modern writers were dependent upon medieval modes and strategies, Shrank argues that Bale is a "Janus figure" (181), drawing on medieval motifs, conventions, techniques, and genres, even as he abjures what he refers to as the "horrible darknesse" of the medieval past.