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HEPTATONIC SCALES

Reference material for musicians: list of heptatonic scales with descriptions of their character and folding test instrument included.

The ancient Greek adjudged a certain personality to each of the musical keys which back then existed. To a trained ear each key was clearly distinct and could be recognized because of the different intervals. After the Baroque only two keys had survived: the Ionian (major key) and the Aeolian (minor key). These two modes have easily distinguishable personalities that are popularly acknowledged as happy and sad, bright and dark or positive and negative, respectively. However, due to the type of tuning called equal temperament, it is impossible for the average listener to distinguish through which musical scale a particular music piece has been written.

Formerly, when using other tuning systems, such as Kimberger, Pythagorean and others, the very specific relationships between each note could be responsible for different personalities of the scales, so the average listener could differentiate them. These differences, based on the type of tuning, allowed to set different personalities for the scales, from a subjective point of view which is shared by the largest part of people. From the Romanticism to the end of the 19th century, when the equal temperament for all the scales was set, it was widely applied a convention, which in practice is impossible to prove, to associate each of the twelve heptatonic scales with a certain personality.

C major

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C

Cheerful, bellicose, totally pure. Innocence and simplicity...

C# major / Db major

C# - D# - F - F# - G# - A# - C - C#

Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb - C - Db

Lascivious gazes. Sorrow and extasis. Cannot laugh, but can smile. Cannot howl, only can make a grin of crying...

D major

D - E - F# - G - A - B - C# - D

Happy and very bellicose. Thriumph and joy...

D# major / Eb major

D# - F - G - G# - A# - C - D - D#

Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C - D - Eb

Cruelty, hardness, love, devotion, intimate conversation with the divinity...

E major

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E

Complainant, screaming, bright. Loudness cheerful, laughing pleasure...

F major

F - G - A - Bb - C - D - E - F

Furious and rash...

F# major / Gb major

F# - G# - A# - B - C# - D# - F - F#

Gb - Ab - Bb - B - Db - Eb - F - Gb

Triumph over difficulty, freedom, relief, overcoming obstacles, the echo of a soul that fiercely fought and finally conquered...

G major

G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G

Sweetly cheerful, rustic, idilic, lyrical, calm, satisfied passion, gratitude for the true friendship and the hopeful love, gentile and pacific emotions...

G# major / Ab major

G# - A# - C - C# - D# - F - G - G#

Ab - Bb - C - Db - Eb - F - G - Ab

Gravity, death and putrefaction...

A major

A - B - C# - D - E - F# - G# - A

Cheerful, country. Declaration of innocent love, satisfaction, youthfulness, applauses...

A# major - Bb major

A# - C - D - D# - F - G - A - A#

Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G - A - Bb

Magnificency, joy, cheerful love, clean conscience, wishes for a better world...

B major

B - C# - D# - E - F# - G# - A# - B

Hard, suffering, dazzling, heavily colored, announcing wild passions, anger, hatred and resentment...

D minor

D - E - F - G - A - Bb - C - D

Serious and devot. Feminine melancholy. Rancor...

D# minor / Eb minor

D# - F - F# - G# - A# - B - C# - D#

Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb - B - Db - Eb

Horrible, frightening...

E minor

E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E

Womanish, loving, melancholic...

F minor

F - G - Ab - Bb - C - Db - Eb - F

Dark, suffering, depressive, funeral lament, groans of misery, solemn nostalgia...

F# minor / Gb minor

F# - G# - A - B - C# - D - E - F#

Gb - Ab - A - B - Db - D - E - Gb

Pessimistic, sad, somber, dark, stubborn to the passion, resentments, dissatisfaction...

G minor

G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G

Serious, magnificent, discontent, bad tempered, squeaky, disgusted...

G# minor / Ab minor

G# - A# - B - C# - D# - E - F# - G#

Ab - Bb - B - Db - Eb - E - Gb - Ab

Complainant, unwilling, unsatisfied, stifled hearth, laments, difficulties...

A minor

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A

Tender, tearful. Female piety...

A# minor / Bb minor

A# - C - C# - D# - F - F# - G# - A#

Bb - C - Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb

Dark, terrible, picturesque and curious creature, nightwear, crude, rude, burlesque, self-discontent, sounds of suicide...

B minor

B - C# - D - E - F# - G - A - B

Solitary, melancholic, hermit, patience, faith, submission waiting a divine forgiveness...

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