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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Understanding Mode

Within a particular key—for example, D—you will have a choice of the type of scale to use: major or minor. This brings into play a different distinction—one of mode. Mode concerns the type of scale used and its characteristic features. A minor mode is generally used for the mellower, moodier, and darker music, while a major mode has a propensity toward cheer and brightness. However, these are only generalizations and should not be taken as a rule.

When it comes to the choice of mode, there are numerous options for modern music writers, in addition to the major and minor modes. The major and minor modes are an inheritance from the classical music traditions of the west. However, musicians from other parts of the world or from ...

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