Mode Three

In his book The Technique of My Musical Language, Olivier Messiaen identifies seven modes of limited transposition. Within the chromatic system of twelve sounds, Messiaen has identified groups of pitches which after a certain number of transpositions are no longer transposable. These modes may be used both melodically and harmonically and give the impression of several tonalities without polytonality. The first of these modes is the whole tone scale. The second mode is probably the best known of the modes Messiaen identifies as it is also known as the octatonic scale.

The third mode is transposable four times just like an augmented triad. The mode is constructed in tetrachords (groups of four notes) following the interval pattern whole step-half step-half step. The four transpositions are shown below.
Mode3
With nine pitches in Messiaen’s mode three, the possibilities for harmonic complexity advance dramatically.

For the ecclesiastical mode three, see the Phrygian mode.

Second Mode

In his book The Technique of My Musical Language, Olivier Messiaen identifies seven modes of limited transposition. Within the chromatic system of twelve sounds, Messiaen has identified groups of pitches which after a certain number of transpositions are no longer transposable. These modes may be used both melodically and harmonically and give the impression of several tonalities without polytonality. The first of these modes is the whole tone scale. The second mode is probably the best known of the modes Messiaen identifies as it is also known as the octatonic scale.

Mode 2 is transposable three times. It is constructed by alternating half and whole steps. The three transpositions are:
Mode2
It is the symmetry of these modes that limits the number of times they may be transposed. Even by beginning the scale with a whole step, the same limited set of transpositions is generated. The example below uses the same transposition number scheme as the one above so that you may easily see the relation:
Mode2Whole
In his book Breaking Free, Jeffrey Brillhart offers an entire chapter on the Second Mode with several characteristic harmonic progressions and many suggested ways to use the mode.

Whole Tone Scale

WholeToneScale
The whole tone scale is a scale of six notes where each tone is separated from the next by the distance of a whole step. Olivier Messiaen called the whole tone scale his first mode of limited transposition because there are only two possible transpositions of the scale. Because each note is equidistant from the next, there is no leading tone that would help establish a tonic note. Instead, the scale creates a more fuzzy, dreamlike environment, in part because it was used often by impressionistic composers like Claude Debussy.

Chant

Having served as the music of the Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years, chant has been the subject of improvisations throughout many different stylistic periods and in many different forms.
Some popular chant themes include:

Videos:
Gerre Hancock – Improvised versets on the Magnificat Solemn Tone – April 4, 2004 – St. Thomas
Otto Maria Krämer – Improvisation in Memoriam Marcel Dupré on “Ave maris stella”
Loïc Mallié Improvisation sur deux thèmes grégoriens
Olivier Messiaen – Puer Natus Est – La Trinité
Pierre Pincemaille – Conditor Alme Siderum – St. Denis
William Porter – Improvisation: Four Modal Variations on Salve Regina: I (Theme and Plein jeu)
William Porter – Improvisation: Four Modal Variations on Salve Regina: II (Scherzo)
William Porter – Improvisation: Four Modal Variations on Salve Regina: III (Meditation)
William Porter – Improvisation: Four Modal Variations on Salve Regina: IV (Introduction and Passacaglia)

Naji Hakim

naji_hakimOfficial website:
http://www.najihakim.com/

Naji Hakim studied with Jean Langlais and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in the classes of R. Boutry, Jean-Claude Henry, M. Bitsch, Rolande Falcinelli, J. Castérède and S. Nigg, where he was awarded seven first prizes. He is professor of musical analysis at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt, and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London. At first organist of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris from 1985 until 1993, he then became organist of l’église de la Trinité, in succession to Olivier Messiaen, from 1993 until 2008.


Book:
HakimCompanionThe Improvisation Companion
United Music Publishers Ltd.
The Improvisation Companion is intended as a reference book for all musicians looking for a form of personal artistic expression on their instrument. The guide uses an educational process of synthesis and is divided into four main parts that deal with the theory of improvisation and of its different components (theme, development and forms). The two appendices cover the basic principles of harmonisation and give a repertoire of themes.

Articles:
Principles of Improvisation. In: Church Music Quarterly, magazine of the Royal School of Church Music, July 2001.
Une entrevue avec Naji Hakim
by Béatrice Piertot in : “La Revue l’Orgue” 2003 (in French)

Audio:
Naji Hakim – Entry in the 33rd Haarlem Improvisation Competition

Videos:
Documentary – On the Edge featuring a Sortie by Hakim
Naji Hakim – Improvisation “Segne du Maria” – Wallfahrtskirche – Klausen

On the music of Hakim:

Selected Chant-Based Organ Works of Naji Hakim: The Influence of Improvisation
by Heather Hernandez