ChocloManx wrote: Paul Hindemith's book,
What's the title of it?
Also...this discussion has gone over my head!
It's called "A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony: With Emphasis on Exercises and a Minimum of Rules". You can get it on amazon for like 20 bucks, but you can probably find it on a library with a decent music section.
Masily box wrote:I recognize that I'm just splitting hairs, and that it's only loosely related to the main topic, but:
First, even if I granted you all of those examples, I still don't think that I'd call modes important (let alone hella) for JS through Wagner. When you get right down to it, what can you actually do while talking about modes? You learn names for a few different scales, and then point & label. I don't see that as particularly useful.
I believe they are important to achieve a good grasp of the development of western music, and I recognize that in the time period you mentioned, modes were not nearly as important as the tonal system, but still important in that they serve to illustrate the influence of folk music particularly during the romantic period (Liszt, Chopin, Dvorák, etc) and also the remnants of older music in Bach and others after him (Brahms, for example). Also, I repeat that the OP was about "western classical music", not only the music of Bach trough Wagner, in which case I think you would agree with me in that modes are important. Maybe even hella important.
It's true that the chorales that Bach takes predate tonality. But how does knowing what mode a chorale was originally in help you appreciate anything about Bach's harmonization, given that the latter is functionally tonal and will usually reinterpret the melody to fit into a tonal context?
I suppose you are right about that. Still, recognizing modes is useful in the analysis of harmony in Bach's chorales. Sometimes a phrygian chorale ends in V and it becomes tonic with a Picardy third, or that the next movement in whatever work it's in will resolve the final chord of the chorale. Also it serves to explain why Bach harmonised certain things in a certain way.
The phrygian half cadence has origins in Renaissance counterpoint. It's only "modal" to the extent that we give it a name related to a mode. Most other cadential formulas, as well as all sorts of other contrapuntal and melodic gestures, also originate in the Renaissance. Again, mode is entirely irrelevant: in fact, the "phrygian" cadence could be made in any mode, given that you choose the right tone to cadence on. The modern use derives from a cadence on the reciting tone of Glarean's Aeolian mode--nothing Phrygian about it.
Nothing to say there, really. I am not informed about the origins of that cadence.
I don't know a lot about Liszt; you may be right on that count. In many ways Liszt was more adventurous than Wagner, so he's not exactly who I had in mind when I chose my bounds. And certainly there are pieces here or there where modes might be a convenient language: there's of course Beethoven's Op.132, I can think of some tunes by Schubert that have a sort of Lydian inflection, and when you get to Brahms and Dvorak (for example), melodies often have folksy modal characteristics. But if you're studying common practice music, there are so many things of such fundamental importance that you could go years without being introduced to modes and not really be missing anything.
Let me rephrase my original statement: Taking into consideration Internetmeme's interest in Western classical music, by which I mean "non folk, non popular music in the West between the Middle Ages and the present", I consider modes to be (hella) important, especially if one wants to get a good idea of the historical and cultural processes involved in said music, while agreeing that during the common practice period they wew relegated to a smaller role.
The problem with most internet sources (and, sadly, sometimes published sources as well) is that they focus all their attention on things like modes, which are easy to teach because they involve learning a couple names for abstract objects without really worrying at all about how they might be analytically useful. You walk away feeling like you've learned something because you can rattle off the list "Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, (Aeolian and Ionian, too)"--but have you really learned anything about music?
For an instrumentalist they are, I think, pretty useful, especially if you're into jazz or improvisation in general, if you practice and apply them to your music, of course.
I agree with you in that the internet is full of information that doesn't lead to real knowledge or real learning, but, speaking for myself, learning modes was very important in my development both as a listener, player and composer. And I learned most of it on the internet.
I agree with this thread getting way out of topic. Maybe we could make another thread especially for modes and western music?