Chord Roots in Dorian Tonality

posted Apr 25, 2014, 8:02 AM by Erika Novoselich   [ updated Apr 25, 2014, 8:02 AM ]
We understand what something is by comparing it to what it is not. To learn to audiate
major tonality, for example, one must also have experience with other tonalities such as minor,
dorian, and mixolydian, etc. Music Learning Theory methods help children learn to discriminate
among diverse tonal patterns, rhythm patterns, tonalities, meters, tonal functions, and rhythm
functions. This discrimination learning develops in students the foundational tonal and rhythm
vocabulary necessary to generalize, improvise, and create in inference learning.

The term tonality traditionally refers to major and minor tonal systems, and the term modality
refers to the other tonal systems that have evolved from the church modes (dorian, phrygian,
lydian, mixolydian, aeolian, and locrian). In Music Learning Theory, all these systems are
referred to as tonalities to provide a common term for all tonal systems sharing the
characteristic of being audiated in relation to a resting tone. A resting tone is a tonal solfege
syllable associated with a particular tonality. Do is the resting tone in major tonality, re in
dorian tonality, mi in phrygian tonality, and so on.

This is a video of all four 1st Grade classes singing chord roots in dorian tonality (re and do) while I
sing the dorian song on top of it. You'll see them first just singing and moving their hands, but then
they add boomwhackers the second time. It is important to note that these young students have not
learned to label this tonality "dorian" yet, rather, they are simply experiencing and being immersed in it.