Interesting Nuances of ITM’s Minor Scale
Lately I’ve been diving more and more into the nuances of the scales and accompanying chords used in ITM. I find a very interesting relationship between the use of (as we would call them in classical analysis) the Aeolian and Dorian modes. In ITM, these are both simply referred to as "minor," and "minor" is simply acknowledged to have a sort of variable sixth scale degree.
Plenty of tunes sit firmly in one or the other, but many seem borrow chords from each other, and a select few use both the higher and lower 6th scale degrees in their melodies.
One example of that would be Road to Lisdoonvarna, where the dominant melody uses the higher 6th scale degree, but you’ll hear many of the flourishes use the lower one.
Crested hens, on the other hand, keeps it’s melody in Dorian but borrows the major VI chord from Aeolian in the accompaniment of the B part (Em, C, D, Bm). With the Dorian 6thth, the C major chord would be a C# diminished chord, which is seldom ever heard in Irish music.
If anyone has any thoughts on this, let me know! I’d also like to hear about any tunes you all know of that make interesting use of this variable minor scale. I’m thinking about making an educational video about it, and putting it on youtube. There just isn’t enough stuff out there teaching people about how incredible and nuanced this musical tradition is.