A couple of posts ago i was writing about gothic choirs and the use of the phrygian mode to achieve what we were looking for, this time we're going to be looking at the mixolydian mode!
I've seen this the most in Hollywood Celtic type music, think brave/how to train your dragon etc.
Essentially the device is just understanding what the Mixolydian mode is and how to stay within it comfortably,
the keyset we're going to be using looks like this -> C D E F G A B.
Yep a C major scale, the only difference is the bass note is going to be a pounding G right from the start,
this is because in reality when we hear this G in the bass we're expecting a F# above it to put us happily in the G major scale, you'll see when you're messing around with melodic notes above the G that F natural is a very flavorsome note in this Mixolydian we've created.
In short a simple way to remember Mixolydian is this,
Take the major key.
Flatten the 7th.
and that's it you're done.
so the above example was using G Mixolydian, what would this look like in C Mixolydian?
C D E F G A Bb
Major scale with the flattened 7th, and in this case have a C pounding in the bass.
I make a point to mention the bass because it's very important that it's dealt with delicately, if you start moving it around too much, or have it sitting on another chord for too long it's going to break the illusion of the Mixolydian Mode you've set up.
For example, if you are playing in C Mixolydian then you're going to be using Bb in the melody, however moving to an F in the bass and sitting on it is a complete disaster for Mixolydian because you've just settled into F major.
If you're playing a G in the bass and using F naturals above it, moving to an F in the bass and sitting there gives us the feeling of Lydian because we're still using a B natural!
An easy way of getting around this is modulating to a new key and also making that mixolydian,
so from C in the bass (with the Bb)
modulate to G in the bass (with everything nat)
either that or surprise modulation and get out of it completely and go somewhere else, it's up to you!
Anyway here is a small piece i wrote to demonstrate how it might sound!
You might have noticed that the score isn't exact, i played around with it a bit in the mock up!