Reverse Tunings - theory

Ken Hulme
11/28/10 09:25:20AM
Someone please explain - in words of one syllable - how it is possible that DGd (1-4-8) tuning can conceivably be called an Ionian tuning. Why is it not called a Lowered Mixolydian tuning?

Ionian Modal tunings, by definition are 1-5-5 tunings -- with the melody and middle drone string the same note from the same octave; not 1-4-8 tunings with two equivalent notes from different octaves. Having the bass and melody strings tuned an octave apart is a characteristic of Mixolydian modal tunings, not Ionian.

The fact that you can play a G scale from the third fret does not make the keynote of the instrument G. Neither does having a G on the middle string. By definition, according to everything I've read on the subject over the past 30+ years, the Keynote of the dulcimer is the note to which the Bass string is tuned, not some other arbitrary string.