Finding Harmonies- in a different mode, or in same mode?

Strumelia
10/28/18 08:07:28PM
@strumelia

Glenda Hubbard wrote this great question:

...one thing I really wanted was to learn how to play harmony or modes. In her Blog Lisa if I understand what she is getting at is that if I'm tuned to DAD  Mixoledian,   I would tune down 1 fret for DAC Aeolian 3 frets for DAA for Ionian,  and 4th fret Dorian , If I were in DAA tuning I would tune up the same way for the same way for same modes your tonic note moves either up or down the fret board. But all in the key of D so my question is can I choose any mode I want in the key of D and it will harmonize with any of the other modes in that key? I've really struggled to figure out how to play harmony. I'm still learning and  having so much fun playing in different modes and I can hear Jean Rithie when I play Black Is the Color of my True Loves Hair, Over the River with Charlie. Little Donnie Girl. I apologize to all the real musicians out there. I now realize understanding theory can only help my music     

Glenda, a mode does not 'harmonize' with another mode. Instead, a note harmonizes with another note.  Even if you're in the same key all the time (D for example), one mode will have a certain set of notes and another mode will have a different set of notes.  That's why a mode like Dorian can sound 'sad' while a mode like Ionian can sound 'cheerful'.  But because each mode has a slightly different set of notes in it, there are some notes in Dorian that will harmonize nicely with notes in Ionian, while some other notes in those modes won't harmonize (or 'sound good') with each other. You can't play normal harmony intervals in two different modes and expect them to sound good together.

So to put it in a very over simplified way... you should stick to one key AND one mode to find notes that will harmonize together and sound good when you play a particular tune.

Here is an example of 'finding' the harmony when playing Aunt Rhody (key of G, ionian tuning, so GCC tuning) in ionian mode-  watch the bottom/last video in this blog post, where i locate the higher harmony notes for the melody of Aunt Rhody:

https://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2010/09/4-videos-go-tell-aunt-rhodie-redux.html