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Sheet Music can i just pick one

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Hmm thought you didn't want to confuse
I tried my best :rolleyes: honest!

tbh for the vast majority of us for most of the time, modes are not very relevant. They become more relevant if you do a lot of improvising.

The use of the Ancient Greek mode names for the modes is a conceit really and an attempt by medieval church scholars and later theoreticians to provide an 'authentic history'.

The key things are: we name our notes using first seven letters of the alphabet A to G. The interval between adjacent notes can be a semi-tone (e.g. E to F) or a tone (e.g. G to A).

You build scales from patterns of tones and semi-tones (aka whole steps and half-steps for some).

The pattern created by CDEFGABC (TTSTTTS) is the major scale aka Ionian mode.

If you start playing the notes of C major scale, but start on a different note, you get a different patterns of tones and semi-tones: these are the different modes.

The pattern you get when you start on the 6th degree of the scale ('la' if you use sofa / solfège) is what we call the natural minor scale. For C major that is A. So the natural minor scale that uses the same notes as in the C major scale is A minor aka the Aeolian mode.

If you wanted a major scale but started on the note D rather than C, then you have to make some modifications because without the modification the pattern of tones and semi-tones needed to create a major scale (TTSTTTS) cannot be found starting on D.

This is why we have to have key signatures with sharps or flats - they are there to adjust the pattern to make it work.

So, starting on D, to create a major scale we need to ADD a semitone to F to make E to F a tone rather than a semi-tone, so F#. Similarly, we have to make C into C# so that the interval C to D is a semi-tone. So D major has a key signature with two sharps in it F# and C#.

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Here's a transposition chart that may come in handy when transposing from a concert key score to E-flat or B-flat instruments...

Greg S.


  • Transposition Chart.pdf
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