Exploring Musical Modes and Moods
I teach meditative singing over a drone, learning and comparing musical modes from India and the West.
Imagine if you didn't know the names of the colors in the rainbow? For most of us, even many trained musicians, this is our experience of music: We don't know the names of the colors of our musical rainbow. We may have heard of Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Myxolyian, Lydian, Aeolian, and Locrian, but can you sing and feel the difference?
We are intimately familiar with the sound and feeling of eight or a dozen or so musical color schemes, yet we don’t know their names. Beyond that, we can't recognize them as individuals, nor can we work with them to express our family of sonic possibilities!
We gently sing our most familiar musical modes, slowly and simply soaking in each of their moods, experiencing the emotional space each has to offer. This will be a meditative vocal group, a sound experience not a theory class. Explanation and discussion will be kept to a minimum.
Singing long tones and intervals in the spirit of devotion and gratitude, we will give time for each of us to listen fully, tune in, and deeply feel each tone and the choice of tones that make each mode/mood. We will catch the buzz of the seven "Western modes", vibrate along with our most common five note scales, and sync up with a few related scales found in the music of India.
Out of an infinite number of colors in the rainbow, we use just 7 names for our basic colors. In much the same way, from Ireland to India, out of an infinite number of pitches, we use just seven names for our musical notes. In the European tradition we use the names Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Ti. In Hindustani music we use the names Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni.
With remarkable simplicity we humans can create such depth! Would you like to get more familiar with our musical rainbow?