Messiaen’s 6th Mode of Limited Transposition. Analysis Improv/Composition

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Messiaen’s 6th mode of limited transposition as used for the presentation in this webpage.

Messiaen mode 6 notation and guitar tab
Messiaen mode 6 with six transpositions

Messiaen mode 6 is brilliant for exploiting “Diminished” and “Augmented” intervals and renewing tired diatonic cliches.

Messiaen mode 6 notation and guitar tab

Messiaen’s 6th mode allows for the above idea to be sequenced easily

Messiaen mode 6 Diminished and Augmented Sequences

Below we have a descending Augmented sequence

Messiaen mode 6 Augmented descending sequence

A useful point to remember: The Augmented sequences move in tones whilst the Diminished sequences move in minor 3rds.

Although, Diminished intervals can move in semitones and tones. For Example:

Messiaen Mode 6 Diminished intervals in Semitones

Messiaen 6th mode

Getting back to our common sequences we can see below the brilliance of diminished intervals moving in minor 3rds with the employment of the simple triplet figure.

Messiaen mode 6 Diminished sequence

More examples of mixing up the Augmented and Diminished ideas to avoid the cliches and develop something fresh sounding

Messiaen mode 6 diminished and augmented mix
Messiaen mode 6 diminished and augmented mix

We can also make interesting intervallic motifs from the notes of the Messiaen mode 6

Messiaen mode 6 intervallic sounds
Messiaen mode 6 intervallic sounds
Messiaen mode 6 intervallic sounds
Messiaen mode 6 intervallic sounds
Messiaen mode 6 intervallic sounds

Finally, we can employ a contrapuntal counterpoint “Mirror” compositional device to really manipulate this brilliant 6th mode of Messiaen.

Messiaen mode 6 Contrapuntal Mirror Compositional device

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