By Vidas Pinkevicius
Improvisers love modes. A mode to an improviser is like a float to a fisherman - they always want to show you how many they've got.
Fishermen have quill float, improvisers have the dorian mode. Fishermen have bubble float, improvisers have the frygian mode. Fishermen have self-cocking float, improvisers have the whole-tone mode.
Fishermen have floats for catching pikes, improvisers have modes for evoking tears. Fishermen have floats for eels, improvisers have modes that make you joyful. Fishermen have floats for sharks, improvisers have modes that make you angry.
The only difference between a float and a mode is that not with many modes there's a chance your listener will end up on the dinner plate.
"How many listeners did you catch with your modes tonight?"
"Just 20, but the largest didn't fit into my trunk."
"How long did it take to catch it?"
"Well let's see. It took all 12 transpositions of the lydian, 6 of the mixolydian, and a couple of the octatonic mode. I could have used the pentatonic but then everybody would be asleep."
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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