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Nusach Ashkenaz has these separate laining modes:

  • Regular weekly Torah reading (Shabbat, weekday, Yom Tov, etc.)
  • Special Torah reading mode for Yamim Nora'im (High Holidays)
  • Haftarah
  • 3 Megillot - Kohellet, Shir Hashirim, Ruth
  • Esther
  • Eicha

Each tune is supposed to create a "mood" / nuance appropriate for that holiday. E.g. - Eicha and Esther are in major (mainly), though Esther is for Purim which is a happy occasion and Eicha is on Tish'a B'Av which is a sad occasion. Both tropes are similar to each other, yet different from the rest. There's probably a reason or "setting" for the tune / note scales chosen for each holiday.

Is there a resource that explains the nature of the different trope moods?

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Like the Mixolydian Mode? –  Double AA Jun 3 at 5:59
    
@DoubleAA - I never heard of this mode. Can you further explain? –  DanF Jun 3 at 15:14
    
@DoubleAA refers to this, according to everybody's favorite non-authoritative source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixolydian_mode –  Codes with Hammer Jun 3 at 15:47
1  
The 3 megillot used during the regalim are used in the liturgy of the chagim brought down in the Torah, Eicha and Ester are read on non-Torah holidays (if 9 b'Av is even a holiday). Qohelet and Shir HaShirim are significantly more philosophical than the rest, while Rut and Ester tell stories. Eicha is the odd one out, being a kinah, rather than a story or philosophical text. Thus, as Ester and Eicha are not read on Shalosh Regalim, they do not use the same mode, and Eicha as a kinah also uses a different trope. This is just my speculation though. –  Noach mi Frankfurt Jun 3 at 19:41
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@NoachmiFrankfurt - Your explanation of the Kinnah on 9 Av is credible. Still, of course looking for the mood created by the tunes for the other items. Tough to "judge" these, because Yemenite and Parsi customs are different, so there is no universal setting. I'll have to hunt the web a bit more on this. If I locate something, I'll post IY"H after Yom Tov. You're obviously not in Frankfurt, now, otherwise you wouldn't be posting. –  DanF Jun 3 at 19:58

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