Talk:Locrian mode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Music theory (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Music theory, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of music theory, theory terminology, music theorists, and musical analysis on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Enter Sandman, in E minor[edit]

Enter Sandman is not based in a locrian mode as the page states. It is in E minor. The bass pedals a low E for the intro before going to the main riff, which is built on an E blues scale. There are numerous occasions of A# used as a tri-tone in relation to the root, which would be E. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:25, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

The Strokes' "Juicebox" In E-Locrian[edit]

I did some research on tonality in The Strokes and found that Juicebox is locrian mode. I thought this might be noteworthy because the song has been rather well-received and is actually pretty rocking. Its squarely in Locrian, IMO, due to the main riff: e-e-g-e-bflat-a-g-f-e and so on. There is a slight "tonicization" (for lack of a better term) of the B-flat in the middle of the song, which feels a bit more major, but if anything this seems to strengthen, rather than weaken, the inherent tritone that makes up the backbone of the main riff.

Within You Without You[edit]

I have deleted the reference to Within You Without You, partly as I think it is unnecessary to be so specific, and also as I have found no specific evidence for this claim on the net. Remember, wikipedia should not be for original research, only proven fact! If anybody can find some more research on this then please leave it on this talk page. Richardbates2002

A major locrian scale?[edit]

"It may be considered the major scale with a flatted or lowered second, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh. The Locrian mode can also be thought of as the major scale but starting on the seventh scale degree."

I changed that to "It may be considered a minor scale with the second and fifth scale degrees lowered a semi-tone. The Locrian mode may also be considered as a scale beginning on the seventh scale degree of any Ionian, or major scale" because it does not seem accurate to consider the locrian mode as a major scale since it contains the interval of a minor third from tonic to mediant (and also because it is listed as a minor scale at the bottom of the page). I also made other similiar changes in wording because it seemed unclear. The way the article was worded before put too much emphasis on relating the locrian mode to a major scale (for example "Locrian mode of C major, (B, D, F) create the diminished chord using notes 1,3,5 of the Locrian scale"). Thoughts from anyone?--Wikidan81 04:05, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It's much more similar to the natural minor scale than to the major scale, so that comparison is more fitting. Good work. —Keenan Pepper 04:30, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

creating tension?[edit]

The Locrian mode is the only modern diatonic mode in which the tonic chord is a diminished chord, creating tension in music while still staying in key.

The way this is written implies that "creating tension" is a property of leaving the key. Thats not right is it? You can create tension while still staying in key in any diatonic scale can't you? If so this needs to be cleared up. --Brentt05:37, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

The Locrian mode is the only modern diatonic mode in which the tonic chord is a diminished chord, resulting in a tonic chord that is considered dissonant.
I changed it to the previous if that helps. --Wikidan81 18:31, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Project for Mode Articles: Standardization and Consolidation[edit]

The mode articles are a mess when taken together. The articles need to be standardized and some of the general information consolidated into the Musical mode article and removed from all the articles about specific modes.

a few specific propositions:

corresponding information

I think all the mode articles should have corresponding information in corresponding sections. For example, the intervals that define the mode should be given at say, somewhere near the top of the article in a section called "intervals" or something (whatever, as long as its standard for all articles and maximally descriptive). Also things like if the scale is "symmetric" or "asymmetiric" or whether its a "minor" or "major" scale should be all in one place (perhaps a table would be best for these things).

Information about modes in general

All information that is about modes in general (i.e. applies to all modes) should be moved to the Musical mode article, and not mentioned in the articles about specific modes (all articles should of course be linked to the general Musical mode article). Information about idiosyncratic properties of the modes then will be easier to find that way, and there will be no confused and redundant info (sorta like this paragraph).

Greek vs. modern terminology confusion'

Information about the confusion between the greek and modern terminology should stay in the Musical mode article, with a note at the top of each article--out of the main body--highlighting the terminology confusion (to eschew obfuscation). Perhaps there should be serperate disambiguable articles for the greek modes e.g. a article for Ionian (Greek Mode) and Ionian (Gregorian Mode).

avoiding articl style divergence with later editors not privy to the standardization project

As time passes, people who don't know about the effort to standardize the article no doubt will add information to the article in their own style, perhaps causing the articles to diverge in style over time. To avoid this, we can make a template to go at the top of each talk page that tells editors to keep in mind the style standardization (perhaps a project page--"metawiki pages" I think they are called--with a template and style explanation). Although this may not be that much of a problem, if the style is obvious and is suffieciently elegant to begin with.

Am I getting across the idea here? What do you guys think about such a project? I know there is a way to set up a wikiproject for this sort of thing, but I've never done it before. I'll look into how to do it. Any other ideas on how to make the articles fit better together? Any objections or improvements to the above suggestions? Brentt 09:25, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

PS please respond and discuss at the Musical mode talk page

Enter Sandman[edit]

How is enter sandman in the locrian mode,there are B naturals in the E5 chords(E locrain is EFGABflatCD)

Enter Sandman is does NOT utilize the Locrian mode... rather the Aeolian mode, with a flattened fifth addition to the scale...

Enter Sandman is no longer listed as using the Locrian mode. It does, indeed, use the Aeolian mode, and the flattened fifth is present more as an auxiliary ornamentation than as part of the scale.

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks! Hyacinth 15:53, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Just as songs that have a major or minor tonality often contain chromatic harmony, songs that have modality often include the chromatic inflection of their corresponding altered tones (in Locrian mode the lowered second and lowered fifth) therefore Enter the sandman is in the Locrian mode... just with chromaticism . — Preceding unsigned comment added by Barnesron1996 (talkcontribs) 15:35, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Mode of the devil[edit]

Does common knowledge really need citations? Other information on this page (as posted by others) was also left uncited. Why wasn't that removed, too?

The editor who removed the information was claiming that it is not common knowledge. If it is true it should be easy enough to find a citation, as you did. Now the article has been improved, which is good all around. Hyacinth 15:53, 1 October 2006 (UTC)


Would the Japanese tune "Sakura" be considered a good example of the use of the Locrian mode in a tune? I've seen references to this, but it appears to assume that the first note of the tune is the 3rd note of the mode. 01:55, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun[edit]

Apparently, this Pink Floyd tune is Locrian (near the end). Someone with more knowledge may care to add this to the article proper. 04:22, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure its in aeolian. I just looked at the first page here [1] and its use of a flat VII chord (C major) and then a i ( a minor) chord it might suggest be aeolian. But because there is no tritone anywhere in the piece It can't be locrian. Niall Ransford (talk) 23:26, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Well-known music in this key[edit]

I plan on deleting any unsourced entries from this in a few weeks. (Listening to a piece and trying to figure out the key is not a source, and is also WP:OR.) Torc2 (talk) 08:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm unfamiliar with how editing here works, but I want to note that Set The Controls...(pink floyd) sounds Phrygian.. I don't hear Locrian's diminished 5. YYZ by Rush does use the Tri-tone, but that's it. Locrian, along with the diminished fifth, also has phrygian's signature lowered 2. YYZ's intro is inconclusive.

I will assert that Our Truth's chorus is Locrian. When she sings "truth" for the first time, it's a diminished fifth from the tonic.

I apologize for my ignorance regarding article editing, but hopefully my insight is helpful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Theory is difficult to source because it's that: theory. No scholar is going to write a thesis on the modes of a pop song. However, a note is a note, and is never up for debate. It just requires a trained ear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


Heavy metal musicians also use Locrian mode. An example, more from the progressive hard rock genre, is the first section of the instrumental "YYZ" by Rush: the synthesizer melody is in C Locrian, over a guitar riff based on the C-G tritone. Another example of appearance in heavy metal is the main riff of Painkiller by Judas Priest. Vernon Reid's famous guitar riff in Living Colour's Cult of Personality is based in E Locrian. The fast riff in Metallica's song "Blackened" is in E Locrian. Another example is Tenacious D (band) Tenacious D's Beezleboss (song) Beezleboss. It is inC Locrian. A commercially successful pop song built around the Locrian mode was the song "Army of Me" by Björk in the 90s. The melody of the song is basically in the very similar Phrygian mode, but the main bass line emphasizes the diminished fifth which is characteristically for the Locrian mode. In the chorus there is a chromatic harmony change that features the major second, besides the minor second which is found in the Locrian mode.

This all needs to be sourced. —Torc. (Talk.) 08:34, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Cult of Personality - G Mixolydian afaik —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Here's a source for "Painkiller" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:12, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

And this verifies that "Painkiller" is in the Locrian mode … how, exactly? This is a score, in which the opening is clearly anchored on E, with notes above it including F, G, B, B, C, C, and D. There is no legend saying "this is in the Locrian mode" and, if there were, it would clearly be wrong. The B5 chord is plainly incidental (that is, a local phenomenon, reinforcing the Phrygian second degree), in an obviously E-minor context (vide the leading tone D and accompanying raised sixth degree, C), with a Phrygian (or "Neapolitan") second degree instead of the usual F. Having said that, even this much requires interpretation of the score, and is therefore Original Research.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:03, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Hindu music?[edit]

The article states that the Locrian Mode is commonly used in Hindu music. As far as I know however, the diminished 5th makes the Locrian mode an invalid ragam - rendering it completely useless in Indian music theory. (talk) 17:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing this point to general attention. It is interesting that this statement (found in a list of "Examples")) is referenced, but that the citation has a note on it questioning its reliability. Checking that reference (Al McFarland's "Guitar Nut" page), I see that the claim itself is ambiguously stated: "Japanese and Hindu music, considered by many to be a theoretical and experimental mode." Does this mean that many musicians in these traditions consider the Locrian mode to be merely theoretical and experimental? It certainly does not support the present article's claim that Hindu music "makes extensive use" of this mode. I shall alter it accordingly, and leave it up to other editors to find a better source, if they can.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:27, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, I saw it as two different points, such as "used in Japanese and Hindu music" and "considered by many to be a theoretical and experimental mode". However, doesn't Japanese music use mainly pentatonic scales? (talk) 15:37, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
It is ambiguously written in the cited source, as I pointed out. As for Japanese music, yes, traditional Japanese music generally uses pentatonic scales, but there are two types, the yo scale and the in scale. The former is the anheminotic pentatonic scale familiar from Chinese music (and also common in many European folk traditions), but the latter is a scale with two semitones, each with a major third above it. This is the distinctive scale heard most characteristically in music for shamisen, koto, and shakuhachi, and in one modal arrangement has one semitone above the final, followed by a major third and the second semitone. This makes the interval of a fifth above the final diminished, and this is no doubt the quality of sound that can be associated with the modern Western Locrian mode. The big difference, of course, is that this mode of the in scale lacks the third and sixth degrees of the Locrian scale.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:46, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Shostakovich march is not locrian[edit]

The article mentions the March (nr 1) from the 3 fantastic Dances. This piece is not entirely written in C locrian. In ms 4 there is a G natural. I think this example should be removed, or at least a reference mentioned.Jrcramer (talk) 10:43, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps that is what was meant by "in mainly Locrian mode"? I have tagged that claim both for a source and for clarification. Thanks for calling attention to this.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:20, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Additional references[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 21:33, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article contain original research and how should it be cleaned up? Hyacinth (talk) 21:33, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

The section somewhat lamely titled "Overview" contains quite a bit of unreferenced material, much of which appears to be original research. To cite just one flagrant example, the analysis of Scriabin's Fifth Sonata claims that it is "often questionably referred to as being in F-sharp major" (both weasel language and an unsubstantiated criticism), while the further claim that it "actually both begins and ends in the Locrian mode on D" is disputable, and needs a reliable source.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:24, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Update: since no reliable source has been produced, I have removed the Scriabin claim, as well as another unsourced and long-challenged claim about Britten's Death in Venice. I have also flagged some other unsourced and dubious claims.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:01, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Further update: All remaining OR and other challenged claims have now been removed, rendering the banner unnecessary.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:07, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

The Strokes' "Juicebox" In E-Locrian[edit]

I did some research on tonality in The Strokes and found that Juicebox is locrian mode. I thought this might be noteworthy because the song has been rather well-received and is actually pretty rocking. Its squarely in Locrian, IMO, due to the main riff: e-e-g-e-bflat-a-g-f-e and so on. There is a slight "tonicization" (for lack of a better term) of the B-flat in the middle of the song, which feels a bit more major, but if anything this seems to strengthen, rather than weaken, the inherent tritone that makes up the backbone of the main riff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Is the B-natural strictly avoided, even in the harmonies, and do you have a reliable source?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:25, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails[edit]

(Verses only.) The song sounds like a possible Locrian song; it has a B - F dyad that comes after each line -- It's like B - D - B - B - F. And it seems to resolve to B. It sounds disturbing; seems to be about suicide. What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by CPGACoast (talkcontribs) 03:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I think that "sounds like" is a clear example of Original Research. What is needed is a reliable source that says, "'Hurt' by Nine-Inch Nails is in Locrian mode".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:13, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
True; I only verified by looking up the sheet music. It is only in the verses that it has the progression. The chorus is A minor. It seems to fit the criteria. Try out this link to Scribd (a sheet music site): -- Nine Inch Nails (piano)CPGACoast (talk) 04:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
All looks like ordinary B-minor stuff to me. Key signatures mean nothing at all, you still need an interpretation from a reliable source.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Artificial Mode[edit]

My understanding is that workers in music theory commonly regard the Locrian as an artificial or "theoretical" mode (because of the tritone issue) rather than one in practice. Actually, I seem to recall that Gradus ad Parnassum has something to that effect, even if the scale is not called Locrian. If anyone else agrees that this is the case, maybe it should be mentioned in the article.--♦♦♦Vlmastra♦♦♦ (talk) 00:18, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Speaking as a card-carrying member of the Union of Industrial Music Theorists ;-), I might explain that the expression "artificial mode" refers to an arbitrary, non-diatonic selection of pitch classes, taken usually from the twelve members of the chromatic scale. The Locrian, being one rotation of the diatonic set, does not fall under that rubric. As far as being a "theoretical" mode, this is true within the realm of plainchant theory, and by extension within modal polyphonic theory up through the 16th century or even later. This is not currently explained in the article, but should be. Thank you for pointing out this shortcoming. In other areas, however, it is not merely a theoretical mode. It is found in practice in certain repertories of Icelandic folk music, for example, and one common mode of the Japanese in or hirajōshi scale has the essential structural intervals of the Locrian (the minor second and diminished fifth degrees, in particular). Further, as the Usage section indicates, it is found occasionally in 20th-century art music and even in certain popular music genres (though there are music-theory problems associated with this, which has inhibited adding more examples).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:49, 24 December 2012 (UTC)


If I might be so bold, I suggest that Blackstar by Bowie on the album of the same name, is written in Locrian, F# I believe but perhaps a Locrian in a different fundamental key. I do not have "sourcing" on the matter, but it is intuitively and naturally obvious that the song by David Bowie is written in this mode. I welcome any disagreement or correction. To raise a question, how does one evaluate a situation where there is clear and indisputable truth in a certain observation, and reference it? Must one reference the observation that the sun is brighter than the moon? (talk) 15:38, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

No, and this sort of thing is usually referred to a s a "Sky is blue" statement. However, mode is by no means as obvious as you suggest. Even experts in the field may dispute some cases, and less-than-expert listeners are frequently mistaken. Citing "obvious evidence" that requires expertise to interpret is regarded as original research on Wikipedia. Sorry, what you say may be perfectly true, but respect to reliable sources, the old wording, "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth", may have been changed, but the essence remains policy.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:43, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

"Sinner", Ursa Major (Dick Wagner)[edit]

I believe Dick Wagner's song "Sinner" on his 1972 Ursa Major album is in large part done in E minor locrian. Most of the rest is in E minor. There are parts that seem to be a confluence of the two, such as a bridge just before the vocals start, with four consecutive descending and ascending steps. But the majority remains as potentially an example of some significant locrian construction. Please feel free to listen to it on Youtube and decide for yourselves. If it is, then there is the problem of how to mention it with no apparent references. I've published in scientific journals with references of "unpublished results" and "personal communication with", but these seems unacceptable here. I've written of this assertion online previously, and if it turns out to be accurate, is it proper to reference one's self? Listen to it, and if I'm correct, someone else can feel free to add it into the examples section and reference my earlier writings in some guitarist forums, easily available with a search term of "ursa major sinner locrian". Drmcclainphd (talk) 13:16, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

The main issue is, as you say, that a citation is needed to a reliable source. Going beyond that, a piece largely in E minor can easily incorporate chromatic alterations in certain passages, which may be interpreted in a variety of ways. A scale degree 5 (in this case a B could simply mean a temporary move to an F tonal center). Whether this actually constitutes a Locrian modal area depends not only on the larger context but, to a great degree, on the analyst's opinion, and how well this opinion is argued. This is why reliable sources are required on Wikipedia. Along these lines, you may be interested in taking a look at this discussion.

Rachmaninoff's B Minor prelude[edit]

although it has been claimed that parts are in the locrian mode I am unsure. It seems that there are two possible ways you could consider this in the locrian. First by the fact that the peice does regularly have a flat second and sometimes even a flat fifth with b remaining as the tonic. However the flat fifth is very infrequent and is best explained as a chromatic non-chord tone. while the flat second is best explained as a Neapolitan chord although an argument for this piece being in phrygian would be understandable. The other way you could argue that this piece dips into locrian is by tonicizing the ii diminished chord. It does do this a sum total of three times in theexact same manner. It goess from VI chord (or V/iidim) to a ii first inversion diminished 7th chord. But this is incredibly weak and I do not think could pass for a tonicization, much less a change of mode.

We lucky Wikipedia editors are spared suffering such doubts by the principle of citing reliable sources. The article on Phrygian mode includes a case in point, where an allegedly reliable source gives a melodic example which, if seen in context, cannot possibly be regarded as Phrygian. So far, no one has been able to come up with a competing authority that says otherwise, and so the allegation stands. By all means do try to find a better source than the one cited here for Rachmaninoff. At the same time, keep in mind that the claim for the several examples includes the expression "may be regarded", not "definitively are".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:23, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

there is one other section that could be considered locrian its in the lst system of the 2nd page, 3rd measure. There is a c in the bass and some dissonant chords that highlight a c locrian scale. This is much in the likes of something debussy would do who, this composition clearly take after. But, there is no cadence in the locrian however, this whole composition avoids strong cadences (much like debussy).

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Locrian mode. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 03:27, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

  1. ^ Retrieved 7/20/2017.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)