Question on Modes and Keys etc.
I’m not particularly knowledgeable about keys and all that stuff apart from recognising the number of sharps but I have got around recently to trying to figure why some tunes have a completely feel to others even though they have the same number of sharps. Which has lead me to looking up some of the threads on modes on this site etc. and in partic. Will Harmon’s little table at http://www.slowplayers.org/SCTLS/modes.htm
I’m a little confused though.. take the reel ‘Man About The House’ - Kathleen Nesbitt in her book, Fidil gives this as an example of a tune with key signature of D but in Dorian mode. This makes sense as the ‘home note’ is E and the Dorian being the Ray mode as I understand it would give a tune based on EF#DABC#DE i.e. with two sharps like D Maj. but with E or Ray as the base note. On this site, though it is assigned as E Minor.
Take the ‘Congress Reel’, Kathleen calls it key sig. of G but in Dorian mode. Again makes sense as A is ‘home note’, based on ABCDEF#GA. On this site, the same tune, same setting as far as I can see is called as A Dorian. So is it correct to call it A Dorian or G Dorian, latter seems more likely to me as there is only one sharp.
Which brings me to the key of A. Most tunes I know that I would say were in A, I only play with two sharps ie. F# & C#. I just play the G not a G# which the A maj. scale would call for. So does that mean that these tunes should really be called as key sig. of D but in Mixolydian mode i.e. not A at all. ‘The Mooncoin Jig’ on this site is called as A Mixolydian but should it be described as D Mixolydian. How about ‘Tom Billy’s’ jig : cAA cAA gee gab etc., all c’s played natural, one sharp, A very definitely the main note … is this G Dorian rather than A??
Sorry for boring anyone not really interested in this stuff but just curious and we all know about curiousity and the cat ……..