Discover New Sounds - Discovering Modes: Part 3 - Phrygian mode - High Spirits Flutes

Discover New Sounds - Discovering Modes: Part 3 - Phrygian mode


Phrygian mode fingering chart
Phrygian mode fingering chart - Extended Version

Sound Samples

For a more in depth understanding of modes I highly recommend reading:

Playing Modes on the Native American Flute PDF by Ivan Iriarte

Scroll down for more on:
- A Shortish Discussion on Modes.
- Find the key of the mode you are playing.
- Tonic note: What are tension and resolution?

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    A Shortish Discussion on Modes

    A mode is a way of playing a Major scale in which the tonic note (the first note in the scale) is a different than it normally is.

    Changing the tonic note changes the relationships between all the notes in a scale and because of this the feeling of the scale also changes.

    The tonic note is an important note because it has the feeling of being the beginning and ending point of a melody. Being the beginning and ending place, all the other notes in a melody are wrapped around this note making it a central part of how your melody feels.

    Starting a melody on the tonic note easily makes it the beginning place. But what makes the tonic note feel like the ending place? In some scales the tonic note seems to invoke that ending feeling naturally no matter what we play. An example of this is the pentatonic minor scale that we play on the Native Flute. The lowest note just naturally feels like an ending place. However, in other cases that ending feeling does not happen so easily and we will need to consciously create it by emphasizing it as the ending place with the notes and rhythm leading up to it.

    As you create melodies with this new scale notice the feelings that the notes and rhythms you are playing invoke. What note combination (also known as a note progression) led to that feeling of stillness or liveliness? Does playing that same combination of notes with a different rhythm invoke the same feeling? Does playing the same rhythm on a different combination of notes invoke the same feelings? How does changing the tempo effect the feelings invoked?


    Find the key of the mode you are playing

    When playing this mode on the Native Flute the tonic note (the first note in a scale) is the third hole up on the flute (as opposed to the bottom hole). Because of this the key you are playing in is different than it normally is when playing a Native Flute. Additionally, in order to play with other musicians you will need to tell them not only the key you are playing but also the mode. Use the chart below or click to download it to find the key of the mode you are playing. Example: Your flute is in the key of "A" and you are going to play the mixolydian mode. Find the line for the key of "A" on the left and follow it to the right to the underlined letter, it shows "D". So when you play the mixolydian mode on this flute you are now playing in  "D mixolydian mode".

    Tonic note: What are tension and resolution?