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Modal Mixture in a Minor Key

Dear Colleagues,

I just uploaded a short youtube video presenting a harmonization devised in my theory III class at Texas State. We harmonized a melody with modal mixture in D minor. Interestingly, the "raised" mediant triads borrowed from D major worked very smoothly and did not change the style drastically - simply moved it a little towards the boundaries of Late Romanticism and the beginning 20th century; it still sounds romantic.

Of course, the false claim that still circulates in some books, "The only common element borrowed from major into minor is the Picardy third" has always been irrelevant. Those who repeat this cliché are unaware of the fact that the harmonic and melodic scales of minor and major illustrate the influence of the opposite mode, that is - they are a conspicuous result of Modal interaction. Yes. Modal mixture is older than tonality. It begins with Musica ficta.

Please do not forget that saying "major V in a  minor key is obtained in harmonic or melodic major" is the same as saying "major V in a minor key is borrowed from the opposite mode" It would be nonsensical to claim that, for example, "major IV in a minor key is not borrowed" but "minor IV in major key is borrowed." I hope not many colleagues teach students that way...

I hope you will enjoy the video. Here is the link:

Dr. Ninov-Theory III-Modal Mixture-minor key-27 Feb 2018

Your video will be live at:


Best regards,

Dimitar Ninov

Texas State University

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