Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Mode (from Lat. modus: ‘measure’, ‘standard’; ‘manner’, ‘way’)locked

  • Harold S. Powers,
  • Frans Wiering,
  • James Porter,
  • James Cowdery,
  • Richard Widdess,
  • Ruth Davis,
  • Marc Perlman,
  • Stephen Jones
  •  and Allan Marett


A term in Western music theory with three main applications, all connected with the above meanings of modus: the relationship between the note values longa and brevis in late medieval notation; interval, in early medieval theory; and, most significantly, a concept involving scale type and melody type. The term ‘mode’ has always been used to designate classes of melodies, and since the 20th century to designate certain kinds of norm or model for composition or improvisation as well. Certain phenomena in folksong and in non-Western music are related to this last meaning, and are discussed below in §§IV and V. The word is also used in acoustical parlance to denote a particular pattern of vibrations in which a system can oscillate in a stable way; ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

C.-E.-H. de Coussemaker: Scriptorum de musica medii aevi nova series (Paris, 1864-76/R, 2/1908, ed. U. Moser)
Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
Musical Quarterly
Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er/Koninlijke Bibliotheek Albert I, Section de la Musique
A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie, eds.: Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire
W.H. Frere, ed.: Antiphonale sarisburiense (London, 1901-25/R)
Studia musicologica Academiae scientiarum hungaricae
Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council
Lugo, Biblioteca Comunale Fabrizio Trisi
M. Gerbert: Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum (St Blasien, 1784/R, 3/1931)
Perspectives of New Music
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie
Current Musicology
Etudes grégoriennes
Musica disciplina
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Asian Music
Music & Letters
Papers of the American Musicological Society
Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Journal of the International Folk Music Council
Kassel, Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek, Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek, Musiksammlung
Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse muziekgeschiedenis [and earlier variants]
Die Musikforschung
Kirchenmusikalisches Jahrbuch
Early Music History
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Journal of Music Theory
Journal of Musicology
Acta musicologica
The New Oxford History of Music (Oxford, 1954-90)
Regensburg, Bischöfliche Zentralbibliothek, Proske-Musikbibliothek
Berkeley, University of California at Berkeley, Music Library
Corpus mensurabilis musicae
Early Music
Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Universität, Universitätsbibliothek, Bibliotheca Albertina
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Music Review
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Le choeur des muses
Revue de musicologie
Gesellschaft für Musikforschung: Kongress-Bericht [1950-]
International Musicological Society: Congress Report [1930-]
Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek
Corpus scriptorum de musica (Rome, later Stuttgart, 1950-)
Journal of Musicological Research
Porto, Biblioteca Pública Municipal