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mode Classified scheme developed during the 4th to 16th centuries ad to systematize music. In the 4th century, from the scale worked out scientifically by Pythagoras, St Ambrose is thought to have devised four ‘authentic’ modes: the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian. All the modes comprised eight notes within the compass of an octave. Pope Gregory (6th century) added four ‘plagal’ modes, which were essentially new forms of the Ambrosian modes (Hypodorian, Hypophrygian etc.). Glareanus (16th century) added the Aeolian and Ionian modes, the basis of the minor and major scales respectively.