Link to Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian and Aeolian: Samples and Examples of the 4 Main Musical Scales in Celtic, Anglo-American and English Folk Songs []
The Aeolian scale is similar to the modern minor scales in their melodic and harmonic forms but without the accidentals that sharpen, naturalise or flatten some of the notes of those scales. The notes of the Aeolian mode in tonic solfa are sung as “la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, so, la”. The A Aeolian notes are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A’, and you get this scale on a piano when you play upwards from A to A’ on the white keys. Note the distribution of the tone and semitone intervals in this scale:
The Aeolian scale is the same as the Dorian scale except that the sixth note is flattened by a semitone. To convert a Dorian to an Aeolian key signature, add a flat to, or remove a sharp from, it. Likewise, to convert an Aeolian to a Dorian key signature, remove a flat from, or add a sharp to, it.
To convert an Aeolian to a Mixolydian key signature add 2 sharps to, or remove 2 flats from, it. Likewise, to convert a Mixolydian to an Aeolian key signature, add 2 flats to, or remove 2 sharps from, it.
To convert an Aeolian to an Ionian key signature add 3 sharps to, or remove 3 flats from, it. Likewise, to convert an Ionian key signature to an Aeolian key signature, add 3 flats to, or remove 3 sharps from, it.
Below you will find a sample of tunes in the Aeolian scale.
05 The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, O! (From Cecil J. Sharp, 1916, One Hundred English Folk Songs)
Tune Analysis: D Aeolian, Heptatonic, Authentic.
10 Lady Maisrie (From Cecil J. Sharp, 1916, One Hundred English Folk Songs)
Tune Analysis: E Aeolian, Heptatonic, Mainly Authentic but the pick up note (anacrusis) and several Ds dip below the keynote.
35 The Cuckoo (From Cecil J. Sharp, 1916, One Hundred English Folk Songs)
Tune Analysis: C# Aeolian, Heptatonic, Mainly Authentic but 4 of the Bs are immediately below the keynote.
As I Roamed Out (GB/6a/5)
Tune Analysis: G Aeolian except in variant (a) where 2 of the Bbs are naturalised (Dorian influence), Heptatonic, Plagal
Cupid the Ploughboy, Version 3 of 3 (GB/6a/61)
Tune Analysis: G Aeolian, Heptatonic, Plagal.