Messiaen’s mode

In Scales on October 15, 2012 at 11:55 am

Messiaen’s first mode, also called the whole-tone scale, is divided into six groups of two notes each. The intervals it contains are tone, tone, tone, tone, tone, tone – it has two transpositions and one mode.

The second mode, also called octatonic/diminished/semitone-tone/tone-semitone, may be divided into four groups of three notes each. It contains the intervals semitone, tone, semitone, tone, semitone, tone, semitone, tone – it has three transpositions, like the diminished 7th chord, and two modes:

The third mode is divided into three groups of four notes each. It contains the intervals tone, semitone, semitone, tone, semitone, semitone, tone, semitone, semitone – it has four transpositions, like the augmented triad, and three modes.

The fourth mode contains the intervals semitone, semitone, minor third, semitone, semitone, semitone, minor third, semitone – it has six transpositions, like the tritone, and four modes.

The fifth mode contains the intervals semitone, major third, semitone, semitone, major third, semitone – it has six transpositions, like the tritone, and three modes.

The sixth mode has the intervals tone, tone, semitone, semitone, tone, tone, semitone, semitone – it has six transpositions, like the tritone, and four modes.

The seventh mode contains the intervals semitone, semitone, semitone, tone, semitone, semitone, semitone, semitone, tone, semitone – it has six transpositions, like the tritone, and five modes.


Try first improvising with the 3rd, 4th and 6th mode

for print: Messian’s modes

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