Gregorian Chant: The MI Modes

Mode 3 is one of the most enigmatic of all modes!  It’s range is full, and it encompasses BOTH half step relationships at either end of the spectrum.  It recites on TI – an unstable pitch, which is constantly “pulling” to resolve up to DO.  The home tone, MI is a half step away from FA, so its endings always have a mysterious somber sense to them.


Non invenientes Jesum, is a beautiful example of this complex mode.  Taken from the Feast of St. Joseph, the text reads:  “Not finding Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him:  and after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:45-46.)

First to note is the opening phrase, which starts with the home tone and the MI-FA relationship, not once, but twice; then ascends right up to the TI-DO  on the word “Jesum”.  This small phrase encapsulates the essence of Mode 3!  Listen for these key relationships throughout this whole antiphon, and sing along.

non invenientes

Non Invenientes

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