• Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    I have a little sheet of paper from the CMAA event in Houston that defines each of the modes: range, final, dominant...
    But I'm wondering if there is a resource/document (free and online, or otherwise) which further describes the modes. For example: I feel like I have heard that each mode has certain melodic formulae which are common, that each one has a reciting tone (same/different than dominant?), that each one has a different mood....

    IS there anything descriptive like this? Or would anybody be interested in putting one together?
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Hi Adam,

    I don't know about the melodic formulas, although I suspect this is correct, having sung so much chant now. The "dominant" is an unfortunate term borrowed from tonal harmony to describe the co-final (cofinalis is the period term) or reciting tone for each mode. "Dominant" is bad because it does not serve that function.

    The main thing to understand in the modes are the species of 4ths and 5ths that make them up. For example, Dorian (Mode 1) is T(one) s(emitone) T T T s T (DEFGABCD). The 5th species is D-A (TsTT), the 4th species is A-D (TsT). The qualities of those interval patterns make Dorian sound "Dorian". No other mode has a 5th species like that. Even if you flip them and put the 4th on the bottom and the 5th on the top (TsT-TsTT), you still have the Dorian 4th and 5th, but we call it Hypodorian (Mode 2). The final is still D, but the reciting tone or cofinalis changes to F, giving this mode a different color and cadencing patterns.

    Do let us know if you find a source that discusses melodic patterns associated with the modes. I'd be glad to know about it. It makes sense that it would exist.
  • Adam Bartlett
    Posts: 533
    This book has what you are looking for, I think. There is an entire section of the book that goes at length to describe the nature of the Gregorian modes. Listed are all of the melodic tendencies, structural pitches, characteristic uses, this sort of a thing. It is probably too much information, but is a wonderful font of information for your own reflection on Gregorian modality.
    Thanked by 1Ralph Bednarz
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Apel's Gregorian Chant also has a good deal of information about modes (e.g. which ones are used more frequently for certain genres or seasons of the year), and examples of stereotyped melodies that make up the centonized Gregorian compositions.
  • awruff
    Posts: 94
    I picked up these poems (in translation) somewhere:

    The first is serious,
    the second is sad,
    the third is mystic,
    the fourth is harmonious,
    the fifth makes happy,
    the sixth is devout,
    the seventh angelical,
    and the eighth is perfect.

    – Guido of Arezzo (c. 990-1050)

    The first mode lends to any feeling,
    the second is suitable for the sad things,
    the third is vehement,
    the fourth has tender effects,
    the fifth is fitting for those who are happy,
    the sixth for those of proven piety,
    the seventh belongs to the youth,
    the eighth one to the knowledge .

    – Adam of Fulda (c.1445-1505)

    FWIW, I'm attaching the little mode book I once prepared for my schola - let's hope the attachment works.

    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Do not have access to it at this time, but I had a page describing the "moods" of the modes that Canon Wulfran Lebocq gave us in a workshop -- I passed it on in one of Scott Turkington's CMAA Intensives, so anyone who took those at Loyola might have it.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Someone in Chicago (and I can't remember if it was Scott at the Chant Intensive or Jenny with our polyphonic choir) handed out a sheet to us with a Latin phrase set to Mode I which had the word "primus" in it, Mode II with the word "secundus", etc.

    I can't find it these two or three years later, but that would be a wonderful thing if anyone has it and could post it here........
  • Chrism
    Posts: 869
    Here is an accessible introduction to modes, humors and temperaments.
  • Dom Saulnier recently published a book titled, "The Gregorian modes". After a quick search, I could only find it at theabbeyshop.com (UK) in Eng translation.

    Thanks for the file, Fr. Ruff!
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    > a Latin phrase set to Mode I which had the word "primus" in it, Mode II with the word "secundus", etc.

    That's probably taken from pages 40-45 (i.e. 62-67 of the PDF) of Don Suñol's Textbook.
  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    I have notes from a workshop with Fr. Columba Kelly that described the moods of the modes. I'll try to find it.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 757
    A marvellous thread. More, please. I particularly liked Fr. AR's booklet.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Fr. Ruff's booklet, combined with the pages in Don Suñol's Textbook were exactly what I was looking for.

    I'd take more if someone's got it!
  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    My notes from Fr. Columba:

    I - solemnity
    II - mystery & awe (maybe some sense of sadness)
    III - intensity; great sorrow or great joy
    IV - reflective
    V - bright; happy
    VI - relaxed, peaceful (Alleluia for Vigils)
    VII - bright with a bite, stronger than VI
    VIII - storytelling
    Thanked by 1Ralph Bednarz
  • jdembrunopjdembrunop
    Posts: 3
    The link that Noel shared way back in 2011 (3rd comment on the page) has expired. The page no longer exists. Here is a link to an archive.org snapshot of the page from March of 2010: https://web.archive.org/web/20100327110038/http://romancatholicsacredmusic.com/modes.html

    Edit: After trying to use this page, I believe it runs flash, which makes it useless, as modern browser won't run flash.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    Yes, unfortunately, that was a page I built using flash to demonstrate the different flavors of the modes and then flash went caput. Will see if I can make something similar.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 857
    I logged on to ask something mundane and somehow my phone directed me to this lovely and useful thread, with two references to Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB (RIP), whom I was privileged and blessed to call friend.

    Many thanks to all.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Ralph Bednarz
  • Ralph BednarzRalph Bednarz
    Posts: 491
    Don't use the monastic tones as examples of the modes, instead study at the antiphons. Yet the Meinrad tones might be a good spirit level for motifs, feelings and reciting pitches. The Simple English Propers are excellent examples too. The tones I and V are important, but get a feel how each modes uses Do and Fa, which will be structure pitches in every mode. You can feel the gravity from the pitches when you in the real mode 3.