You walk into a fashion shop or bar with a boom box beating and your unconsciously nodding your head, feeling good about yourself and about to confidently spend a lot of money – why?
Certain sequences of notes named modes (minor and major), have been studied since the middle ages and are well understood by songwriters and industries to influence their audience. Some modes are uplifting, for example the Lydian mode evokes feelings of excitement, urgency, and heightened energy that can easily capture the listener’s attention.
- The Simpsons and Jetson Themes - Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight Tonight - Fleatwood Mac – Dreams - Jane’s Addiction – Jane Say’s - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Here Comes My Girl
On the other end of the scale the Locrian mode was deemed so disturbing it was suppressed by the church and deemed 'diabolus in musica' - the devil in music. While seldom used, Metallica made use of its unsettling and unresolved tones in their hit single - Wherever I May Roam.
The most harmonious of the seven main modes is the Ionian mode, it’s also the most common being set in the basic C scale and promotes health and friendship.
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Free Fallin’ - The Beatles - Let it Be - Paul Simon - Call me Al
So it is the particular order and rhythm of notes played that shape our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual reactions. Used carefully, music may facilitate healing, intuition, enlightenment and communication wherever we may wander.