Modal music is a term that refers to a type of musical composition that uses one of several scales, known as modes. The use of modal scales has been present in music for centuries, with examples found in traditional folk music from various cultures around the world.

In music theory, a mode is defined as a system of notes used as the basis for composing melodies and harmonies. The most commonly used modes in Western music are the major and minor scales. However, there are seven other modes that can be used to create different tonalities and moods within a composition.

One of these modes is the Dorian mode. This mode is similar to the natural minor scale but with a raised sixth degree. It has a melancholic sound and is often used in jazz, blues, and rock music.

Another popular mode is the Mixolydian mode which has a dominant sound due to its flattened seventh degree. It can be found in many genres including blues, rock, and country music.

The Phrygian mode has a distinctive Spanish or Middle Eastern sound due to its flattened second degree. It is often used in flamenco guitar playing and heavy metal music.

In addition to these three modes, there are also the Ionian (major), Aeolian (natural minor), Locrian (diminished), and Lydian modes which each have their own unique characteristics.

Modal music compositions often focus on creating a specific mood or atmosphere through the use of particular scales or modes. This can be achieved through the use of specific chord progressions or melodic motifs that emphasize certain notes within the chosen mode.

One common technique used in modal music is modal interchange which involves borrowing chords from another mode that shares similar notes or intervals. For example, borrowing chords from the Mixolydian mode while playing in Dorian can create interesting harmonic tensions and resolutions.

In conclusion, understanding modal theory can greatly enhance your ability to compose and analyze musical compositions. By incorporating different modes and scales, you can create unique tonalities and moods that add depth and complexity to your music.