Folk Music (Celtic)

Tonality and harmony

Folk music tends to be modal. Instead of major and minor chords you have a set of modes.

Here are the different modes:

W = whole step (whole tone)      H = half step (semitone)

Ionian (the major scale): W, W, H, W, W, W, H.
Dorian: W, H, W, W, W, H, W.
Phrygian: H, W, W, W, H, W, W.
Lydian: W, W, W, H, W, W, H.
Mixolydian: W, W, H, W, W, H, W.
Aeolian (the minor scale): W, H, W, W, H, W, W.
Locrian: H, W, W, H, W, W, W.

A DRONE is a continuously held or repeated note.

The CHORDS used in folk music are often open fifths. For example, A + E.

An OSTINATO is a persistant phrase or motif repeated over several bars or more.

Rhythm and meter

Most folk music uses a range of interesting rhythms.

Triplets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sextuplets:

Syncopation

Scarborough Fair (in the dorian mode)

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