Modality in music is a formalization and systematization based on observations of musical mindset. Two octave scales containing the same eight intervals, heard in another mindset, can feel different in such a way that they push toward a different note for resolution, they lead the mind to two different destinations. These mindsets are modes of music. In our music today, we typically hear the Ionian mode, which we call the major scale, and variations of the Aeolian mode, which we call the minor scale. Dorian, Lydian, Phrygian, Locrian and Mixolydian are rarely heard these days, though you can pick them out occasionally with an astute ear.
Rock and roll music is as foundational to the culture of today as is Christianity. You may not be a Christian and you may not be a rocker, but you are, if you live in the Western World, affected by both in profound and undeniable ways. Even these influences converge into an inseparable synthesis. Rock and roll shapes and is shaped by Christian ideas. They are strange bedfellows, each trying to weed out the other. From the tension of these paradoxes spring wisdom, revelation and lyrics. Rock and roll will save your soul. It will never die. If we destroyed all the organs and smashed all the guitars, surely the rocks themselves would cry out.
Most anthropologists agree that hominid animals crossed over into what we consider humanity the first time one of them heard a noise and thought, "Dude, that sounded pretty cool," and then hummed it for the next few hours. The long-term survival of the species was guaranteed when the first toe was tapped. Today many work to answer the basic question, "What came first, the soul or the blues?"
Hello, friends. How are you today?
(originally published 04/23/2007)