Once I worked for a church whose worship leader said "No minor songs". I don't think he even liked minor chords - probably thought them too depressing.


I admit it - I do have a prejudice against slower Minor songs (like 24 ELDERS). Too much like dirges, IMO.

Faster ones (and slower Spirituals like GO DOWN MOSES) I don't mind...

Views: 4444

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Not using minor chords in a song would be like painting with only red, orange and yellow, and not using blue, green or purple.  To eschew minor chords or a modal base for a song would be to toss out your mauve, your indigo, red-violet, all the grays, umbers and ochres, and the wonderful undefined colors that mix on the brush as it is applied.  No sunsets, no honest portraits, only cartoons.  Good grief!  What would the Stars and Stripes Forever be without the minor bridge and the diminished chord?

By the way, what do the British march to?  I've alluded to an American march; I have complete ignorance as to what sets your patriotic fervor afire.

Oh, that would be the 'Grand Old Duke of York'.

Ah!  I've heard the melody and the phrase "when you're up, you're up, and when you're down, you're down', used by a children's evangelist (we stood or sat on "up" or "down", and they got it going really fast).

Googling it produced some fascinating YouTube versions, as well as an account of Mary Clarke.  You learn something every day.

I have to confess Greg, it was the first thing that popped into my head as I sing it with the children at pre-school, and it was meant as a bit of a leg-pull - in the nicest possible way of course :)

However, I also looked it up on YouTube and enjoyed listening to some of the versions. I was very interested to hear from you that some of the phrasing was used by a children's evangelist. I have happy memories of that song when I was at infants school.


I was very suprised that you had heard of it in the States though, thought it was typically British. You certainly do learn something new everyday : )

Ha!  Of course, it seems hard to find a song that doesn't have a minor chord somewhere... but a song written in the minor, now that's got some rich potential.

Is there a simple guide out there to all these different modes/keys/scales?  I am only a humble GCE O level music student, so my music theory is quite limited.  (Note GCE - long time ago!) 

I know about major and minor (both harmonic and melodic) but Phrygian and Dorian sound like a couple of pretentious kids at the local public school....

Can some educate me without baffling with jargon? 

martyn, I've pmd you
Ha ha ha. Modes are actually the opposite on the musical school playground although they can be explained by pretentious nerds. Their the simple way of changing the character of the music, easily done on guitars.

Also easy on keyboard.  If you just play white keys, whichever note you choose as home key, bam!  that's your mode.   That's all there is to it.

The way it's presented in college gives the prof two to four weeks to baffle students and establish superiority.  In reality, it's nothing but white keys.  Originally, keyboards had nothing but white keys -- the black ones were added gradually, later.  

Simple guide to modes:

ABCDEFG = Aeolian (minor)

CDEFGABC = Ionian (major)

DEFGABCD = Dorian (in-between)

EFGABCDE = Phrygian

FGABCDEF = Lydian (Star-Spangled Banner)

GABCDEFG = Mixolydian (a lot of major-key rock)

Nobody uses BCDEFGAB (Locrian) because it sounds bad.

You can "borrow" tones from mode to mode to make better-sounding chords, more color, interesting effects and scales.

Outside of Western European music, there are other modes, as well as tones that are not even in our familiar scales.  Mideastern music often features    A Bb C# D E F (Havah Nagilah).   Blues and other Afrocentric music uses a scale with a tone in between the major & minor 3rd  (A B C~orC#...) -- that's whyt it switches so much in mood.  That's only a beginning.  You could spend years exploring modes.


I almost described it this way, but I wasn't sure I would be correct.


So when you do this, how do you identify which one? For instance, on the above one, which letter identifies it?Is it F Lydian and G Mixolydian?


How did Benjamin grab that A Phrygian is in the key of F Major?

Is it F Lydian and G Mixolydian?

How did Benjamin grab that A Phrygian is in the key of F Major?
     Phrygian will be the 3rd 'mode' in the major key---so the A Phrygian will be A Bb C D E F G A using the notes of the FMajor scale starting on A.  The chord symbol is Asusb9---something I've never seen in worship music.  Even seeing a dominant chord, so common in older rock /blues/jazz is rare in what most of us play in church, but I regularly flatten the 7th on sax as neither our keys nor guitar player play 7ths in the chord.

"Nobody uses BCDEFGAB (Locrian) because it sounds bad."

Jazz folks will use it sparingly. The real book is the only place I've ever seen it and I'm told it was bebop music.


© 2021       Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service