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Ancient Greek Greater Perfect System

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Musings: A selection of thoughts to summarise and pull together research for the FLCM qualification. Musings are written in a format of notes in non academic language. These are works in progress or musings.


Ancient Greek Greater Perfect System
Ancient Greek Greater Perfect System

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Researching a chapter for my next paper I was surprised to find out that the Greeks used different starting notes for the sets of notes they called Harmoniai, not modes. Four of the same names were used, however they referred to different sets of notes than those recognised today.


Article Mode

Author Mieczyslaw Kolinski


Mode - Vocabulary of a melody; specifies which notes can be used in the melody and indicates those with special importance.


Two principal notes Final: End and Dominant: Secondary centre.


Modes of Greek Antiquity

  • Part of a larger context.

  • 7 note diatonic scales

    • 5 whole tones

    • 2 semitones

Nucleus was a tetrachord. This is the interval of a 4th.


Mode/ scale = two tetrachords separated by a tone which is called a dazengisis


Descending: E, D, C, B <tone> A, G, F, E


Extend this with two more tetrachords. Not linked but via a shared note which is called a synafe shown in bold below.


A, G, F, E/E, D, C, B <tone> A, G, F, E/E, D, C, B which is called a










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