Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

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We might be tempted to classify tunes that have only five tones according to this system of modes, pretending that two tones of the mode are simply absent. The trouble is that we could not prove
example 3-3. Russian folk song in the Mixolydian mode, from Elsa Mahler, Altrussische Volkslieder aus dem Fecoryland (Basel: Barenreiter-Verlag, 1951), p. 43.
which tones are lacking. A song with the scale A-C-D-E-G that ends on A could be considered Aeolian or minor—assuming that the miss­ing tones are B and F. But if they were B-flat and F the tune would have to be called Phrygian. And if the lacking tones were B-flat and F-sharp the scale would not fit one of the above-mentioned modes at all. Thus we can hardly accept the blanket statement, made so fre­quently, that folk music is "modal" in the sense of the Gregorian

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III