Modes are the arrangement of tones and semitones in
a scale that gave tonal character to melodies in the
middle ages and renaissance.
The most suitable modes for transverse flutes in the
renaissance were the Dorian (a scale on D with a minor
third, a major sixth, and a natural seventh) and the
Aeolian transposed a tone lower. Each mode has no more
than two semitones, so it is possible to transpose almost
any melody to lie well on the flute even without using
sharped or flatted notes.
Semitones lie between pairs of notes in red.
Mixolydian, like the major scale with natural 7th GABCDEFG
Ionian, like the major scale CDEFGABC
Lydian, with a sharp 4th FGABCDEF
Dorian, like the ascending melodic minor scale with
a natural 7th DEFGABCD
Aeolian, like the natural minor scale ABCDEFGA
Phrygian, not like any modern scale
Major modes with Ionian and Lydian transposed to start
Minor modes with Aeolian and Phrygian transposed to
start on D: