Ancient Mode

Ancient Mode is an artificial scale constructed and used by Djuro Zivkovic in his compositions since 2004 (the first example in Sophisticated Preludes for piano solo). Because of its vibrating sound, Djuro Zivkovic named it “ancient”.


The mode is constructed around the central tone, thus creating a “mirror” scale:

Ancient mode

The mode is similar to Messiaen’s second mode, but this one has nine tones and dense half steps around the central tone. The central tone is not ‘finalis’, neither the tonic. It is just constructed in that particular way.

The mode can be transposed 12 times. It is possible to use the tonal harmonic principles for modulation, such as diatonic, chromatic or enharmonic modulation.


The ancient mode has an extremely flexible chordal possibilities. It includes a multitude of tonal associations and can create clusters, minor and major chords, pentatonic scale, diminished and augmented chords, and almost complete the major and minor scale. Comparing to all modes that can be made using by combining 7, 8 and 9 tones in the frame of octave, the ancient mode has the lowest difference-tone integrity.

This means that the ancient mode produces many difference-tones outside itself – one could also say that this is phenomenolgical richness in reference! The highest difference-tone integrity has Messiaen’s third mode, which is the opposite attitude: it refers strongly to itself. Within 8 tone scales Messiaen second also has low the difference-tone integrity.

Investigating scale classes with 7 tones shows that major and related has the highest difference-tone integrity.

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