"Modality" is a musical concept that encompasses various scales and tonalities beyond the traditional major and minor scales used in Western classical music. These alternative scales and tonalities are often associated with different cultures, historical periods, and musical traditions. Modality provides composers and musicians with a diverse range of melodic and harmonic possibilities, allowing for the creation of distinctive and evocative musical atmospheres.
One of the most well-known modal systems is the church modes, which were used extensively in medieval and Renaissance music.
Modality is not limited to Western music; it is also a fundamental aspect of many non-Western musical traditions. For example, Indian classical music employs ragas, which are intricate modal frameworks that guide melodic improvisation. Similarly, various traditional music forms from around the world utilize their own modal systems to convey specific cultural and emotional nuances.