question for ye…

question for ye…

simple and sweet… are there any minor tunes in traditional musicª by which i mean harmonic or melodic minor as opposed to the usual modal ones which we generally regard as minor for the sake of handiness. seems like a stupid question but i,ve been wracking my brains trying to think of any examples and couldn,t find any.

maybe the likes of browner could enlighten meª

thanks,

mairtin.

p.s. this doesnt include tunes in the diminished scale!

Posted by .

Re: question for ye…

You mean aeolian tunes? Not as common as dorian tunes, but they are represented. A few that spring to mind:

White Petticoat (Em)
Julia Delaney (Dm)
Musical Priest (Bm)
Up in the Air (Bm)
Otter’s Holt (Bm)
Da Full Rigged Ship (2 of 3 parts in Am)

Posted .

Re: question for ye…

I think he’s talking about the non-“church” modes – aeolian and dorian with the seventh degree raised.

Re: question for ye…

Then my list stands.

Posted .

Re: question for ye…

I think Harmonic is the one with the raised 7th and Melodic is the one that changes - being one minor mode on the way up and another on the way down. I forget which.

I can’t think of tunes in those scales.

http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory10.htm#harmonic

There we go - start at that link and scroll down - an explanation of melodic follows the harmonic. So, Will, any tunes that either have a three tone spread between the 6th and 7th note, or where the 6th and 7th shift up or down a semi-tone in various parts of the tune? I don’t.

Re: question for ye…

I believe there are some American tunes or American versions of tunes that use those modes, but I can’t think of an example. In a similar vein, American old-tyme players tend to play some mixolydian tunes, like The Red Haired Boy, with a sharped seven in the final cadence.

The best known version of Greensleeves is melodic minor. Does that count? I’m not sure it’s really a trad version, though. Maybe a Ralph Vaughan Williams version?

Re: question for ye…

Oh, I get it now. Well, yes there are a few aeolian tunes played with a raised 7th, but they don’t sound particularly trad Irish then.

Posted .

Re: question for ye…

I am sure you could find some by searching in the tunes section under key.

Posted by .

Re: question for ye…

I don’t think that would help much, Avery. We don’t have a key option for melodic or harmonic minor.

Re: question for ye…

Well, Muirland Willie has that bit in the B part that strongly resembles the minor scales I practice when I’m being a good girl. Does that count?

Re: question for ye…

Off topic as usual but..
Well what I would like to know is what happened to Martin’s (member 754) profile. I get a blank screen when I call up his profile and it is working for everyone else at the moment.

Re: question for ye…

Reel Beatrice is one that comes to mind. Very harmonic-minory. But guess what? It’s not Irish. 🙂

This is the reason you almost never hear the dominant five chord resolve to the tonic in Irish music. Generally, when someone says “minor” for Irish tunes, they technically mean “Dorian.”

Actually, there is one jig I can think of. I don’t remember the name of it, but it starts like this:

Am: E2A ABc | B2e e2d | cBA ABc BGE E2….

Jonathan

Re: question for ye…

Donough, if you search under Members for “17” you’ll find your Martin (Member 754) as the 4th one in that list, and the first few words of his profile. If you try to go further you’ll indeed get the blank window. I think this is because his profile has somehow become mixed up with his screen-name and so has caused the database to fall over at just that point. I’m sure Jeremy will have a look at this when he becomes aware of the problem.
Incidentally, the order of screen names arising out of a Member search is in ascending order of membership number.
Depending on the encoding settings in your browser Martin’s screen name can either appear as Máirtin (M-a+fada-i-r-t-i-n) if you use Western European (Windows), or as M followed by non-alpha symbols such as squares etc if you use Unicode UTF-8. You can change the character encoder in your browser by going to View-Encoding (in IE6), or to View-Character Encoding (in Firefox).
BTW, Martin’s profile (such as can currently be viewed) is as follows:
“irish(no not my great great grandparents, - me!), 17, box player (yeah, one of the evil ones!!) and dabbler in the black arts a.k.a. the bodhrán but we’ll not go down that road!! – curiosity satisfied?”

Trevor

Re: question for ye…

BTW, I should also mention that if you use Western Europen (Windows or ISO) encoding you can view Martin’s screen-name complete with fada but it may well cause problems further on with characters involving apostrophes and other punctuation symbols, in which case you’ll have to revert to Unicode. Sorry, but I didn’t invent the system!

Trevor

Re: question for ye…

Reel Beatrice not “Irish”? Doesn’t worry me at all. If it comes up regularly in sessions, as it does, that’s good enough for me. If sessions were restricted to pure Irish tunes (whatever they may be) we’d all be that much poorer for it.

Trevor

Re: question for ye…

‘Coleraine’ is essentially A minor (harmonic, raised 7th, G#). It modulates to C (with a natural ‘G’) for a measure or two but quickly returns to A minor, even momentarily using the melodic minor scale (moving up with a raised 6th and 7th).

Unwrack your brain.

Re: question for ye…

Reel Beatrice is Italian, I believe.
‘Reel Beatrichae’’
rather than
‘Reel Beatris’
If you catch my drift …

Re: question for ye…

Beat me to it Sandy - was about to say the same tune 🙂

Re: question for ye…

Ah Fiddlerpianist got it first, nice one. I honestly can’t think of any more, in the trad repertoire anyway.

Re: question for ye…

The song: Cruiskeen Lan (there are various spellings) is in an harmonic minor scale.

X:1
T:Cruiskeen Lan
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:90
K:C
E3/2 E/2| A3/2^G/2 AB c2 Bc| dc BA ^G2 E3/2 E/2| A^G ABc-B cd| e4 z2e2|!
ec ce g2 fe| dc Bc d2 cd| e3/2 d/2 cA e2 E2| A2 B2 c2 c3/2 d/2|
e3/2 d/2 cA e2 E2| A4 z4||!
e3/2 d/2 ce g2 g2|d3/2 c/2 GB d2 d2| A3/2 B/2 c3/2 d/2 e3/2- d/2 c3/2- B/2|
A2 e2 e2 a2| e3/2 f/2 e3/2 d/2 c2 B2| A4- A2||

For ABC purposes the key is given as C, the relative major.
There’s a brief modulation in the second bar of the chorus to C with a Gmanj chord. Otherwise it’s all in Amin.

If you want to sing it, here are the words.

Let the farmer praise his grounds, let the hunter praise his hounds,
Let the shepherd his sweet scented lawns;
But I, more wise than they, spend each happy night and day
With my darlin’ little cruiskeen lan, lan, lan
Oh, my darlin’ little cruiskeen lan.

Chorus:
Gra-ma-chree ma-cruiskeen, slainte geal mavoorneen
Gra-machree ma-cruiskeen, lan, lan, lan,
Oh! gramachree ma-cruiskeen, lan

Immortal and divine, great Bacchus, god of wine
Create me by adoption your son.
In hopes that you’ll comply, That my glass shall ne’er run dry
Nor my darlin’ little etc.

And when grim Death appears, in a few but pleasant years,
To tell me that my glass has run,
I’ll say, “Begone, you knave! For great Bacchus gave me leave
To take another etc.

Among others, the Clancy Brothers sang a version of it.

I suspect it was written by “the educated” - university students or the like. Hence the use of the melodic minor and references to Bacchus. I’d be pleased if anyone could tell me where it came from.

Re: question for ye…

cheers. i had expected that there werent too many tunes in that mode, the colraine being a good exception. it just suprises me that when such good results can be obtained with the harmonic and melodic minor scales, why are there not more examples. its probably down to trad musicians only recently becoming aware of “new” possibilities. i.e. dont ever recall johnny doherty talking about key relationships or his fav way to modulate to the dominant!!!! but its something for new composers to think about anyhow.

p.s. noticed the blank screen thing aswell. if i could get into it to change my username, i promise it wont happen again!!!! / i was very vague in my profile!!!

Posted by .

Re: question for ye…

I have a book of Scottish songs from the turn of the last century where in the introduction the collector made a point of the fact that the songs were in their original, modal form, not forced into a classical “minor” setting that caused them to lose their charm and uniqueness. So there were apparently some at that time trying to force classical modes on Scottish music.

Re: question for ye…

Gee, that is strange, my last post turned into colored letters that are a link to a blank page. Hmmmmmm. 🙁

Re: question for ye…

Martin, it’s possible the reason you don’t see trad tunes in the harmonic and melodic minor is because those sound “formal” and too narrowly constructed to trad ears. To much like the high-minded music coming from the Continent. The beauty of many Irish trad tunes is their undefined mode–a tune that resolves to E with both c sharps and c naturals (or no c’s at all) has an openness and freedom (and unpredictability and suspense) to it that vanishes the second you put in a raised 7th or erase all the accidentals.

I’m not saying trad tunes were necessarily composed with all this in mind. But players’s ears (including mine) might have naturally associated melodic minor with “untrad” music and so avoided it.

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Re: question for ye…

Also, pipes, flutes, whistles and possibly bodhrans might have trouble with that whole flattened 6th / sharpened 7th (or both sharpened, then flattened) thing - it’s more suited to moody self-indulgent orchestral arrangements, kotos and Turkish bathhouses than it is to blazing quick dance melodies.

Re: question for ye…

Yes, Kerri, it’s got a lot to do with “folk” instruments.The tin whistle, pipes, most concertinas and melodeons etc. are diatonic and while you can play in any mode (which at its simplest is just a matter of starting the scale on a different note) and with a bit of tricky fingering get three or so different keys, to get a melodic minor you need an instrument that can play chromatically for at least the top half of the scale. Combine that with the essentially conservative nature of traditional muscians and the fact that chromatic instruments are often more expensive and you end up with a scarcity of tunes in melodic and harmonic minors. But what the hell, we’ve got enough to be going on with.

Re: question for ye…

Al, that’s Martin’s screen name playing up again. See my earlier posts. I think his bio was accidentally linked to his screen name, and it’s now managed to suck in your post. Looks like we’ve got an incipient black hole here. If Jeremy spots it I expect he’ll do whatever’s necessary.

Trevor