Support for modes?

• Oct 27, 2020 - 18:00

Does Musescore have any specific support for modal composition? For example, if I want to write a piece using Mixolydian or Locrian mode - are there features or tools to support that?

If so, are there any examples which might help me?


There's nothing that really helps you to write in those modes like check to assure the chord progressions follow the mode. The only thing I'm aware of is that with the exception of C major/A minor, you can select the key signature and tell the program which mode you are writing in.

I'm curious--what kind of support are you looking for? As far as notation goes, G Mixolydian is the same as C major, and E Locrian is the same as F major. Beyond that, the rest is your own handling of the melodies and harmonies.

Probably the best way of thinking about this is, how would any such specific support would you have in mind apply to ordinary tonal composition as well? They is, ionian and aeolian are modes too. If a program has specifically support for composition, it should apply to those as well. MuseScore obviously already supports many things that help with composition, and they all apply equally to all modes. I can certainly imagine additional compositional support that could be added, but I'm not really understanding what additional support there could be that would be specific to some but not all modes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I do agree that I wasn't sure about this when I posed the question. Perhaps composers who try to write in modes tend to figure this out for themselves. However, I do feel that there ought to be some ways that a software tool such as Musescore could aid composition in modes, though I'm just not quite sure what they would be. I was vaguely imagining that first a composer would select a tonic centre - and then the mode to write in. That would then restrict the notes which could be played within that mode. The selection process could be done the other way round - select mode first, then the tonic centre.

Whether that would really help anyone I just don't know - but it might.

Of course for the Ionian mode (major scale) the constraints are implicitly defined by the key signature - though composers are free to vary the notes chromatically. The Aeolian mode is the natural minor scale, but composers might choose to vary this to conform to the harmonic or melodic minor forms. There isn't any specific "assistance" for composing in such scales, other than selecting an appropriate key signature.

Maybe model composition is something which few people attempt nowadays, though there has been a lot of interest by jazz musicians from time to time.

In reply to by dave2020X

The exact same thing works for other modes. Enter the key signature you want, and start entering notes. For a key signature with 3 sharps, that could be A major or F# minor or B dorian, but it's the same set of notes no matter what, so MuseScore will still "enforce" the same set of notes by default when entering by mouse or keyboard.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm thinking of "modal" transposition. If the piece is done in "normal" scale (be it major or minor), then the possibility to transpose to different mode by few clicks could be interesting (just select the current ionian / aeolian and target mode). If it is already done in a different mode, then the composer should be able to choose the proper starting mode name. Please note that my post is purely from the viewpoint of that such transposition could be done programmatically, I have not sufficient musical knowledge if it is meaningful.

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