In music a melodic mode or modal frame is one of, "a number of types permeating and unifying African, European, and Americansong" and melody. "Mode" and "frame" are used in this context interchangeably. Melodic modes allow melodies which are not chord-based or determined by the harmony but instead by melodic features. A note frame is a melodic mode that is atonic (without a tonic) or has an unstable tonic.
Examples and aspects of modal frames include:
the bottom of the frame, felt to be the lowest note though isolated notes may go lower
the top of the frame
the center of mode, around which other notes cluster or gravitate
portion of the mode on which the melody temporarily dwells
the quality of a note which is modally unstable and attracted to other more important tones in a non-harmonic way
arpeggiated triads which appear in a melody but not in the harmony. A non-harmonic arpeggio is an arpeggio whose notes or chord does not appear in the harmony of the accompaniment. The most common example is the melodic triad.
According to Middleton, the song, "at first glance major-key-with-modal-touches", reveals through its "Line of Latent Mode" "a deep kinship with typical blues melodic structures: it is centred on three of the notes of the minor-pentatonic mode [on C: C, E-flat, F, G, B-flat] (E♭-G-B♭), with the contradictory major seventh (B♮) set against that. Moreover, the shape assumed by these notes - the modal frame - as well as the abstract scale they represent, is revealed, too; and this - an initial, repeated circling round the dominant (G), with an excursion to its minor third (B♭), 'answered' by a fall to the 'symmetrical' minor third of the tonic (E♭) - is a common pattern in blues."