International Scales

Generic Scales


                              Major Scale   Semitone Structures
NAME                          Degrees       Original  Family
====                          =======       ========  ====== 
Aeolian                       12b345b6b7    2122122   1122222
Algerian                      12b34#45b67   21211131  11111223
Arabian (a)                   12b34#4#567   21212121  11112222
Arabian (b)                   1234#4#5b7    2211222   1122222
Theta, Asavari                12b345b6b7    2122122   1122222
Balinese                      1b2b35b6      12414     11244
Theta, Bilaval                1234567       2212221   1122222
Theta, Bhairav                1b2345b67     1312131*  1111233
Theta, Bhairavi               1b2b345b6b7   1222122   1122222
Byzantine                     1b2345b67     1312131*  1111233
Chinese                       13#457        42141     11244
Chinese Mongolian             12356         22323     22233
Diminished                    12b34#4#567   21212121  11112222
Dorian                        12b3456b7     2122212*  1122222
Egyptian                      1245b7        23232*    22233
Ethiopian (A raray)           1234567       2212221   1122222
Ethiopian (Geez & Ezel)       12b345b6b7    2122122   1122222
Harmonic Minor                12b345b67     21222131  1112223
Hawiian                       12b34567      2122221   1122222
Hindustan                     12345b6b7     2212122*  1122222
Hungarian Major               1#23#456b7    3121212   1112223
Hungarian Gypsy               12b3#45b67    2131131   1111233
Hungarian Gypsy Persian       1b2345b67     1312131*  1111233
Hungarian Minor               12b3#45b67    2131131   1111233
Ionian                        1234567       2212221   1122222
Japanese (A)                  1b245b6       14214     11244
Japanese (B)                  1245b6        23214     12234
Japanese (Ichikosucho)        1234#4567     22111221  11112222
Japanese (Taishikicho)        1234#456#67   221112111 111111222
Javaneese                     1b2b3456b7    1222212   1122222
Jewish (Adonai Malakh)        1b22b3456b7   11122212  11112222
Jewish (Ahaba Rabba)          1b2345b6b7    1312122   1112223
Jewish (Magen Abot)           1b2#23#4#5#67 12122211  11112222
Theta, Kafi                   12b3456b7     2122212*  1122222
Theta, Kalyan                 123#4567      2221221   1122222
Theta, Khamaj                 123456b7      2212212   1122222
Locrian                       1b2b34#4#5b7  1221222   1122222
Lydian                        123#4567      2221221   1122222
Major                         1234567       2212221   1122222
Theta, Marva                  1b23#4567     1321221   1112223
Mela Bhavapriya (44)          1b2245#56     1132113   1111233
Mela Chakravakam (16)         1b23456b7     1312212   1112223
Mela Chalanata (36)           1#2345#67     3112311   1111233
Mela Charukesi (26)           12345b6b7     2212122*  1122222
Mela Chitrambari (66)         123#45#67     2221311   1112223
Mela Dharmavati (59)          12b3#4567     2131221   1112223
Mela Dhatuvardhani (69)       1#23#45b67    3121131   1111233
Mela Dhavalambari (49)        1b23#45#56    1321113   1111233
Mela Dhenuka (9)              1b2b345b67    1222131   1112223
Mela Dhirasankarabharana (29) 1234567       2212221   1122222
Mela Divyamani (48)           1b2b3#45#67   1231311   1111233
Mela Gamanasrama (53)         1b23#4567     1321221   1112223
Mela Ganamurti (3)            1b2245b67     1132131   1111233
Mela Gangeyabhusani (33)      1#2345b67     3112131   1111233
Mela Gaurimanohari (23)       12b34567      2122221   1122222
Mela Gavambodhi (43)          1b2b3#45#56   1231113   1111233
Mela Gayakapriya (13)         1b2345#56     1312113   1111233
Mela Hanumattodi (8)          1b2b345b6b7   1222122   1122222
Mela Harikambhoji (28)        123456b7      2212212   1122222
Mela Hatakambari (18)         1b2345#67     1312311   1111233
Mela Hemavati (58)            12b3#456b7    2131212   1112223
Mela Jalarnavam (38)          1b22#45b6b7   1141122   1111224
Mela Jhalavarali (39)         1b22#456b7    1141131   1111134
Mela Jhankaradhvani (19)      12b345#656    2122113   1112223
Mela Jyotisvarupini (68)      1#23#45b6b7   3121122   1112223
Mela Kamavardhani (51)        1b23#45b67    1321131   1111233
Mela Kanakangi (1)            1b2245#56     1132113   1111233
Mela Kantamani (61)           123#45#56     2221113   1112223
Mela Kharaharapriya (22)      12b3456b7     2122212*  1122222
Mela Kiravani (21)            12b345b67     2122131   1112223
Mela Kokilapriya (11)         1b2b34567     1222221*  1122222
Mela Kosalam (71)             1#23#4567     3121221   1112223
Mela Latangi (63)             123#45b67     2221131   1112223
Mela Manavati (5)             1b224567      1132221   1112223
Mela Mararanjani (25)         12345#56      2212113   1112223
Mela Mayamalavagaula (15)     1b2345#56     1312113   1111233
Mela Mechakalyani (65)        123#4567      2221221   1122222
Mela Naganandini (30)         12345#67      2212311   1112223
Mela Namanarayani (50)        1b23#45b6b7   1321122   1112223
Mela Nasikabhusani (70)       1#23#456b7    3121212   1112223
Mela Natabhairavi (20)        12b345b6b7    2122122   1122222
Mela Natakapriya (10)         1b2b3456b7    1222212   1122222
Mela Navanitam (40)           1b22#456b7    1141212   1111224
Mela Nitimati (60)            12b3#45#67    2131311   1111233
Mela Pavani (41)              1b22#4567     1141221   1111224
Mela Ragavardhani (32)        1#2345b6b7    3112122   1112223
Mela Raghupriya (42)          1b22#45#67    1141311   1111134
Mela Ramapriya (52)           1b23#456b7    1321212   1112223
Mela Rasikapriya (72)         1#23#45#67    3121311   1111233
Mela Ratnangi (2)             1b2245b6b7    1132122   1112223

* = indicates symmetry, i.e. structure is the same used forward or backwards

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Thanks go to composer/producer Ivan Bertolla for providing this information. Check out his website where you can see a lot of his published work used in music, film and TV. He runs a music school and production business, based in Melbourne.

You might also be interested in the guitar scales section at GuitarOrb.com. They discuss the 6 most common guitar scales, their use and a bit of the surrounding theory. They also provide a guitar scales chart that provides a nice summary of the info.

Scales Theory

These are information compiled from Alt.Guitar newsgroup.

Major Scale

Here we show how the modes from the major scale are split up. There are seven modes based on the major scale. Each mode is comprised of the same notes as the major scale, but it begins and ends on a different root. The following shows the all seven modes that can be made from the C major scale.

      1. C-Ionian  c-d-e-f-g-a-b-c (C-Major)
      2. D-Dorian    d-e-f-g-a-b-c-d 
      3. E-Phrygian    e-f-g-a-b-c-d-e 
      4. F-Lydian        f-g-a-b-c-d-e-f   
      5. G-Mixolydian      g-a-b-c-d-e-f-g 
      6. A-Aeolian           a-b-c-d-e-f-g-a 
      7. B-Locrian             b-c-d-e-f-g-a-b 

Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale is very similar to the major scale, and it's also made of seven modes.

      1. C-Melodic Minor          C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B
      2. D-Dorian  Flatted 2nd      D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C
      3. Eb-Lydian Augmented          Eb-F-G-A-B-C-D
      4. F-Lydian Dominant               F-G-A-B-C-D-Eb
      5. G-Hindu                           G-A-B-C-D-Eb-F
      6. A-Locrian Natural 2nd               A-B-C-D-Eb-F-G
      7. B-Super Locrian                       B-C-D-Eb-F-G-A      

Tetrachords Concept

There is a way to help remember scales, that I find more useful than memorizing boxes or shapes. This method focuses on the number of half steps between notes in the scale, and can be used to find the scale anywhere on the fretboard.

First, the major scale is made up of a certain number of half steps between notes:

      C Major Scale:
      Position:     1st  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th  7th 
      Note:          C    D    E    F    G    A    B   
      Half Steps:    2    2    1    2    2    2    1

The 4 types of tetrachords, counted out in numbers of half-steps. The example is shown in in the C Major Scale:

      Major tetrachord:    2-2-1  ex: C-D-E-F. or  G-A-B-C
      Minor tetrachord:    2-1-2  ex: A-B-C-D  or  D-E-F-G
      Phrygian tetrachord: 1-2-2  ex: E-F-G-A  or  B-C-D-E
      Lydian tetrachord:   2-2-2  ex: F-G-A-B

Each mode of the major scale is a combiantion of 2 tetrachords. If both the top and bottom tetrachords are the same type, it's called a symmetrical mode. Ionian, for example, is symmetrical with 2 major tetrachords. You can see how this would work, as there are several positions most of the tetrachords will fit.

5 Note Scales - The Pentatonic

Minor Pentatonic (Key of A)
Notice that this is part of the A Aeolian scale. (A-B-C-D-E-F-G) You just remove the 2nd and 6th.

      1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7 
      A   C    D   E   G

Major Pentatonic (Key of C)
This is a portion of the C Ionian (C Major)... omitting the 4th and 7th.

      1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6 
      C   D   E   G   A 

C Major Pentatonic and A Minor Pentatonic are modes of each other -- the notes are the same, only shifted to a different root. This scale is based on a series of 5ths. (C->G->D->A->E).

Since the Pentatonic Major is taken from the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6th notes in the major scale, and if you're playing in a particular mode (scale), there are three pentatonic scales you can play over the root mode. They correspond to the 1st, 4th, and 5th of the Ionian mode.

For example, to play Pentatonic scales over a D Dorian mode, find the equivalent Ionian mode (in this case C). The 1st, 4th, and 5th of C are C, F, and G, so you can play C, F, and G Pentatonic scales over your D Dorian and still sound good.

There is a direct relation between the Major and Minor Pentatonic scales. The pentatonic major is the same fingering as the minor 3 frets lower. Ex: E pentatonic major = C# pentatonic minor. Changing from the E pentatonic major over the I in an E blues progression, to the E minor pentatonic over the IV grabs attention with the b3rd. Over the the V (B) you could play the F# pentatonic minor.

Using the typical I-IV-V blues progression in E, it's possible to use the E major and minor pentatonics over the entire progression. You can also add the 7th to the E chord, and play in the E Mixolydian scale. (This has a D, which is the 7th of E.) When the progression changes to the IV or A, you can again play in A Mixolydian, suggesting the A7, or play in E Dorian which shares the same notes. When you reach the V (B) you can play B mixolydian (same as F# Dorian) or the F# pentatonic, both of which contain a b7th (A).

The Pentatonic Major works very well over the common I-IV and I-V progressions. In each case, only one note must be changed to transistion between the chords. An example is the I-IV change from Bmaj to Emaj. If you raise the D# in the B Pentatonic Major to an E, you get the E Pentatonic Major. Likewise, with the I-V change from Fmaj to Cmaj, dropping the F's in the F Pentatonic Major to E's will give you the C Pentatonic Major.

Kumoi (Key of D)

       1 - 2 - b3 - 5 - 6
       D   E   F#   A   C

A western derivation of a traditional Japanese scale.

       1 - b2 - 4 - 5 - b6  
       D   Eb   G   A   Bb

A modern Japanese scale.

       1 - b2 - 4 - b5 - b6  
       D   Eb   G   Ab   Bb

6 Note Scales

Blues Scale
This follows the same interval as the minor pentatonic, but with an added b5th. The b5th is called a "blue" note.

      1 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7
      A   C    D   Eb   E   G

DomSus

      1 - 2 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7
      A   B   D   E   F#  G

Persian

      1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - b5 - 7
      A   Bb   C   D   Eb   Ab

Whole Tone Scale
Comprised entirely of whole steps. Works well over augmented chords. Shown beginning on F.

      1 - 2 - 3 - b5 - #5 - b7
      C   D   E   Gb   G#   Bb

7 Note Scales:

The various scales that have 7 notes are shown here in alphabetical order.

Aeolian
The 6th mode of the major scale. Works best over a minor (because of flatted 3rd). A is the 6th of C, so A aeolian is C major scale, played A to A. Constructed of a minor and a phrygian tetrachord.

      1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
      A   B   C    D   E   F    G

Chinese Scale of the Chow Dynasty
This scale was used in 1122 BC. Shown here in the key of F.

      1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - #7
      F   G   A    B   C   D    E

Chinese Scale of the Yuan Dynasty
Shown here in the key of F.

      1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - #7
      F   G   A   Bb  C   D    E

Dorian
The 2nd mode of the major scale. Works best over a minor chord. Formed from 2 minor tetrachords. D dorian is the same as a C major played from D to D. Bluesy sounding due to the b3rd and b7th.

      1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7
      D   E   F   G   A   B   C

Dorian-b2
Same as a Dorian, although the 2nd is flatted. I beleive this would be formed by phrygian and minor tetrachords. This is the second mode of the melodic minor scale.

      1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7
      D   Eb   F   G   A   B   C

Enigmatic

      1 - b2 - 3 - b5 - #5 - b7 - 7
      D   Eb   F   Ab   A#   Bb   B

Harmonic Minor
It's a two minor tetrachords joined together. It's the same as the Melodic Minor, with a flatted 6th. Shown below in the key of G.

      1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - 7
      G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F#

Hindu
5th mode of the melodic minor scale. Key of C.

      1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
      C - D - E - F - G - Ab - Bb

Ionian (Major)
The first mode of the major scale. C Ionian is the C major scale. Ionian is constructed from 2 major tetrachords. Works best over a major scale. This scale, also called the Heptatonic (means 7-tones) is comprised of a series of fifths.

      1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 
      C - D - E - F - G - A - B

Locrian
The 7th mode. B locrian is a C major played from B to B. It's built from phrygian and lydian tetrachords, and plays best over a minor chord.

      1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - b6 - b7 
      C - Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb

Locrian Natural 2
Locrian with the 2nd left natural rather than flatted. The 6th mode of the melodic minor scale.

      1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - b6 - b7 
      C - D - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb

Lydian
4th mode of the major scale. F Lydian is the same as a C major scale played F to F. This is because C is the 4th of G. Works best over a Major chord, and is formed from lydian and major tetrachords. Key of C.

      1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - 7 
      C - D - E - F# - G - A - B

Lydian Augmented
Lydian mode modified with a #5. The 3rd mode of the melodic minor scale. Key of C.

      1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - #5 - 6 - 7 
      C - D - E - F# - G# - A - B

Lydian Dominant
lydian with a b7. It's a combination of a lydian and mixolydian. This is the 4th mode of the melodic minor scale. Considered a "dominant" scale because of the formula for a dominant chord is 1,3,5,b7. Key of C.

      1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - b7 
      C - D - E - F# - G - A - Bb

Mixolydian
5th mode of the major scale. G Mixolydian is a C major played from G to G. It is built from a major and minor tetrachord, and works best over a major scale. the b7th adds a bluesy feel. Key of C.

      1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7 
      C - D - E - F - G - A - Bb

Nohkan Flute Scale
A Japanese scale, shown in D. Key of D.

      1 - 2 - 4 - b5 - b6 - 6 - 7 
      D - E - G - Ab - Bb - B - C#

Phrygian
The 3rd mode of the Major scale. Works best over a minor chord. E is the 3rd of C, so E phrygian is the same as a C major scale played from E to E. Phrygian is built from 2 phrygian tetrachords. Key of C

      1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7 
      C - Db - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb

Phrygian Dominant
Has an Egyptian or Arabic sound. Used in bridge of Megadeth's "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due". Shown in Key of E. Since E Phrygian is the 3rd mode of C Major, It would normally have no sharps or flats, but the Phrygian Dominant has a G#. Notice the notes for the E dominant 7th chord are in the scale. 1,3,5,b7

      1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
      E   F    G#  A   B   C    D

Spanish

      1 - b2 - b3 - 3 - 4 - b5 - b6 
      C - Db - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb

Super Locrian
7th mode of the melodic minor scale. Key of C

      1 - b2 - b3 - b4 - b5 - b6 - b7
      C   Db   Eb   E    Gb   Ab   Bb

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