Critical & Historical Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about Critical & Historical Essays.

If we consider this new scale from octave to octave, commencing with the lowest note, that is to say from B to B, we find that it coincides exactly with the Mixolydian mode; therefore this was called the Mixolydian octave.  The octave in this scale from the second note, C to C, coincides exactly with the Lydian mode, and was called the Lydian octave; from the third note, D, up to its octave gives the Phrygian; from the fourth note, E, the Dorian; from the fifth, F, the Hypolydian; from the sixth, G, the Hypophrygian; and from the seventh, A, the Aeolian or Hypodorian octave.  Add one note to the lower end of this universal Greek scale, as it was called, and we see that the whole tonal system was included within two octaves.  To each of the notes comprising it was given a name partly derived from its position in the tetrachords, and partly from the fingering employed in lyre playing, as shown in the diagram on page 87.

The fifteen strings of the kithara were tuned according to this scale, and the A, recurring three times in it, acquired something of the importance of a tonic or key note.  As yet, however, this scale allowed of no transposition of a mode to another pitch; in order to accomplish this the second tetrachord was used as the first of another similar system.  Thus, considering the second tetrachord, E F G A, as first of the new scale, it would be followed by A B[flat] C D, and the two disjunct tetrachords would be formed.  Followed by the two upper conjunct tetrachords, and the proslambanomenos added, our system on a new pitch would be complete.  This procedure has come down almost unchanged to our times; for we have but two modes, major and minor, which are used on every pitch, constituting various keys.  These Greek modes are the basis on which all our modern ideas of tonality rest; for our major mode is simply the Greek Lydian, and our minor mode the Aeolian.


Aeolian.  [G:  a’]       +- A. Nete, or highest.           —–­+
Hypophrygian.         +-|  G. Paranete, next highest.        |
Hypolydian.         +-| |  F. Trite, third.                  |
Dorian.           +-| | |  E. Nete, highest.              —–­+ conjunct
Phrygian.       +-| | | |  D. Paranete, next highest.     —–­+   —–­+
Lydian.       +-| | | | |  C. Trite, third.                  |      |
Mixolydian. +-| | | | | |  B. Paramese, next to central tone |      |
| | | | | | +- A. Mese, central tone.         ---+   ===+
| | | | | +--- G. Lichanos, index finger.               |
| | | | +----- F. Parhypate, next to lowest.            |
| | | +------- E. Hypate, lowest.                    ===+
| | +--------- D. Lichanos, index.                      |
| +----------- C. Parhypate, next to lowest.            |
+------------- B. Hypate, lowest.                    ---+
[F:  a,]           A. Proslambanomenos, added tone.

To go into detailed explanation of the Greek enharmonic

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Critical & Historical Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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