Mixed Up In Mixolydian

by Karl Hitzemann

Here is another great song in our popular Musical Concepts category. This time, we are singing about musical modes. Well, one in particular – Mixolydian. There are seven modes in all (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian), each with its own unique sound. Some modes are used more than others, of course. The easiest way to think of a mode is to start with a C major scale (Ionian mode). Each subsequent mode starts on the next note of the C scale. So, Dorian starts on the D and has the same key signature as C major. Then, Phrygian starts on E, Lydian on F, Mixolydian on G, and so on. These modes can be transposed into any other key.

The Mixolydian mode has found many interesting uses in classical and modern music. Several recognizable songs have featured it, including: "Clocks" by Coldplay, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by the Verve, "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, "Hey Jude" by the Beatles just to name a few. The traditional folk song, "Old Joe Clark" uses the Mixolydian mode. And you can hear a classical music example in the third movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto In A Minor.

This song features a cool ethereal accompaniment with rhythm section and synths. There is an optional second vocal part that enters the second time at measure 9 and stays in for the rest of the song. To help your singers learn this part, there is an isolated part 2 track available on our web site.

"Mixed Up In Mixolydian" would work great in the classroom as a learning tool, but it would also be wonderful in just about any performance setting. By the way, you'll find another mode song called "Dorian Blue" in Music K-8, Vol. 30, No. 1.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.