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WORLD MUSIC SCALES

Reference material for musicians: list of traditional music scales used around the world with folding test instrument included.

In western music, the notes of a scale are often separated by equally tempered tones or semitones, which creates twelve pitches (or equidistant semitones) per octave in a chromatic scale. The interval between natural notes (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) is not equidistant; for example, while the interval between D and E is a tone the interval between E and F is just a semitone. This is because while the interval between a natural note and its flat or sharp is always a semitone (lower or higher, respectively), the flat or sharp of a natural note can be another natural note; for example, E is the flat of F and at the same time F is the sharp of E. For example, a semitone higher than F is F# and a semitone lower than G is Gb; F# and Gb represent the same note or pitch and they divide the tone between F and G in two semitones.

Piano keyboard: octave in the chromatic scale

Many other musical traditions use scales which include other different intervals or a different number of notes. These scales originate within the derivation of the harmonic series. Musical intervals are complementary values of the harmonic overtones series. Many musical scales in the world are based on this system, except the largest part of the musical scales from Indonesia and Indochina, which are based on inharmonic resonance of the dominant metalophone and xylophone instruments.

A common scale in eastern music is the pentatonic scale, which consists of five tones. In the Hejaz scale from Middle East there are some intervals of three semitones. Gamelan music uses a small variety of scales including Pélog and Sléndro, of which none includes equally tempered or harmonic intervals. Indian classical music uses a movable seven-note scale. Indian Raga music often use intervals smaller than a semitone. Arabic Maqamat music may use quarter-tone intervals. In both Raga and Maqamat the interval between a certain note and an inflection of that note may be lesser than a semitone.

Ditonic Scales

Honchoshi (Japan)
1, 4
Niagari (Japan)
1, 5
Warao (South America)
1, b7

Tritonic Scales

Peruvian 1
1, 3, 5
Peruvian 2
1, b3, 5
Raga Malasri (India)
1, 3, 5
Raga Ongkari (India)
1, #4, 5
Raga Sarvasri (India)
1, 4, 5
Sansagari (Japan)
1, 4, b7
Tritonic
1, 4, 5
Ute (North America)
1, b3, b7
Warao (South America)
1, 4, 5

Tetratonic Scales

Bi Yu (China)
1, b3, 5, b7
Eskimo
1, 2, 3, 5
Genus Primum
1, 2, 4, 5
Raga Bhavani (India)
1, 2, 4, 6
Raga Lavangi (India)
1, b2, 5, b7
Raga Mahathi (India)
1, 3, 5, b7
Raga Sumukam (India)
1, 2, #4, 7
Tetratonic
1, 4, b5, 7
Warao (South America)
1, 2, b3, b7

Pentatonic Scales

Akebono (Japan)
1, 2, b3, 5, 6
Balinese 1
1, b2, b3, 4, b6
Balinese 2
1, b2, b3, 5, b6
Chad Gadyo (Israel)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5
Chaio (China)
1, 2, 4, #5, b7
Chin (China)
1, b3, b5, b6, b7
Chinese 1
1, 3, #4, 5, 7
Chinese 2
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Korean
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Egyptian
1, 2, 4, 5, b7
Enigmatic
1, b2, b3, 4, b6
Ghana 1
1, 2, b3, 4, 5
Ghana 2
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Han-Kumoi (Japan)
1, 2, 4, 5, b6
Hira-Joshi (Japan)
1, 2, b3, 5, b6
Hon-Kumoi-Joshi (Japan)
1, b2, 4, 5, b6
Iwato (Japan)
1, b2, 4, b5, b7
Javanese 1
1, b2, b3, 4, b6
Javanese 2
1, b2, b3, 5, b6
Jin Yu (China)
1, 2, 4, 5, b7
Kokin-Joshi (Japan)
1, b2, 4, 5, b7
Kumoi (Japan)
1, 3, 4, 6, 7
Kung (China)
1, 2, 3, b5, 6
Kyemyonjo (Korea)
1, b3, 4, 5, 6
Minyo (Japan)
1, b3, 4, 5, b7
Mongolian
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Pelog (Bali, Java)
1, b2, b3, 5, b7
Pentatonic Alt. b5
1, 2, 3, b5, 6
Pentatonic Alt. b6
1, 2, 3, 5, b6
Pentatonic Alt. b2
1, b2, 3, 5, 6
Pentatonic Alt. b3/b6
1, 2, b3, 5, b6
Pentatonic Dominant 1
1, 2, 3, 5, b7
Pentatonic Dominant 2
1, 3, 4, 5, b7
Pentatonic Major 1
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Pentatonic Major 2
1, 2, 3, 5, 7
Pentatonic Minor 1
1, b3, 4, 5, b7
Pentatonic Minor 2
1, 2, b3, 5, 6
Pentatonic Minor 3
1, b3, 4, b5, b7
Pentatonic Minor 4
1, 2, b3, 5, b7
Pentatonic Neutral 1
1, 2, 4 ,5, b7
Pentatonic Neutral 2
1, b2, 4, 5, 6
Ritusen (Japan)
1, 2, 4, 5, 6
Ryosen (Japan)
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Ryukyu (Japan)
1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Shang (China)
1, 2, 3, 5, b7
Syrian
1, b2, 3, 4, b6
Skriabin (Scotland)
1, b2, 3, 5, 6
Ujo (Korea)
1, 2, 4, 5, 6
Yi Ze (China)
1, b3, 4, 5, b7
Yo (Japan)
1, 2, 4, 5, b7
Yu (China)
1, b3, 4, 5, b7
Zhi (China)
1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Hexatonic Scales

Augmented 1
1, b3, 3, 5, #5, 7
Augmented 2
1, #2, 3, 5, #5, b7
Augmented 3
1, 2, 3, #4, #5, b7
Blues 1
1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7
Korean
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, b7
Dominant #4
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, b7
Enigmatic
1, b2, 3, #4, #5, 7
Spanish
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b7
Skimo 1
1, 2, 3, b5, b6, 7
Skimo 2
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b7
Phrygian
1, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Phrygian Double
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, 6
Genus Secundum
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Genus Tertium
1, b3, 3, 5, b6, 7
Hawaiian
1, 2, b3, 5, 6, 7
Pyramidal
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 6
Honchoshi Plagal (Japan)
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b7
Lydian
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7
Minor
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b7
Messianic
1, b2, 2, #4, 5, b6
Mixolydian
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, b7
Napolitan
1, b2, 3, #4, 6, b7
Niagari (Japan)
1, b2, 4, 5, b6, b7
Prometheus
1, 2, 3, b5, 6, b7
Prometheus Neopolitan
1, b2, 3, b5, 6, b7
Pyongjo (Korea)
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, b7
Ritsu (Japan)
1, b2, b3, 4, b6, b7
Symmetric
1, b2, 3, 4, #5, 6
Skriabin (Scotland)
1, 2, 3, #4, 6, b7
Tonal
1, 2, 3, #4, #5, #6
Chinese Ancient
1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6
Yosen (Japan)
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, b7

Heptatonic Scales

Ahavoh Rabboh (Israel)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Alhijaz (Saudi Arabia)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Altered
1, b2, b3, 3, b5, b6, b7
Arabian 1
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Arabian 2
1, 2, b3, 4, #4, #5, 6, 7
Arabian 3
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 6, b7
Byzantine 1
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Byzantine 2
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Blues 1
1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7, 7
Blues 2
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7
Blues 3
1, b3, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Chiao (China)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Diminished
1, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Doric
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Doric Altered
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Doric b2
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Doric Chromatic
1, b2, 2, 4, 5, b6, 6
Enigmatic 1
1, b2, 3, 4, #5, #6, 7
Enigmatic 2
1, b2, 3, #4, #5, #6, 7
Skimo
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Ethiopian 1
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Ethiopian 2
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Ethiopian 3
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Aeolian
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Phrygian
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Phrygian #6
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Phrygian b4
1, b2, b3, b4, 5, b6, b7
Phrygian Chromatic
1, #2, 3, 4, #5, 6, b7
Phrygian Major
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Harmonic Major
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Hawaiian
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Hedjaz (Iran)
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Hypodoric Chromatic
1, 2, b3, 3, 5, b6, 6
Hypophrygian Chromatic
1, b3, 4, b5, 5, #6, 7
Hypolydian Chromatic
1, b2, 3, #4, 5, b6, 7
Hispano-Arabian
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Hitzazkiar (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Hitzaz (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Houzam (Greece)
1, b3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Hungarian Major 1
1, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Hungarian Major 2
1, b2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Hungarian Minor 1
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, b6, b7
Hungarian Minor 2
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, b6, 7
In (Japan)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Israelite
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Javanese
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Jazz Minor
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Jewish
1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, 7
Ionic
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Ionic Augmented
1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, 7
Leading Whole Tone
1, 2, 3, #4, #5, #6, 7
Lydian
1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7
Lydian Augmented
1, 2, 3, #4, #5, 6, 7
Lydian b7
1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Lydian Chromatic
1, b2, 3, 4, b5, 6, 7
Lydian Diminished
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, 7
Locrian
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Locrian Major
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Mohammedan
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Major
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Major Inverted
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Maqam Bayat-e-Esfahan (Iran)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Maqam Hicaz (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Maqam Humayun (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Maqam Huzzam (Iran)
1, b2, b3, 3, 5, b6, b7
Maqam Karcigar (Iran)
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 6, b7
Maqam Kurd (Iran)
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Maqam Nakriz (Iran)
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Maqam Shahnaz Kurdi (Iran)
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Maqam Shuzdil (Iran)
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, b6, b7
Maqam Zengule (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Minor
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Minor Harmonic
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Minor Melodic
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Mischung 1 (Germany)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Mischung 2 (Germany)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Mischung 3 (Germany)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Mischung 4 (Germany)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Mischung 5 (Germany)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Mischung 6 (Germany)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Mixolydian
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Mixolydian Augmented
1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, b7
Mixolydian Chromatic
1, b2, 2, 4, b5, 5, b7
Napolitan 1
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Napolitan 2
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Niavent
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, b6, 7
Nohkan (Japan)
1, 2, 4, b5, #5, 6, 7
Oriental 1
1, b2, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Oriental 2
1, b2, 3, 4, b5, 6, b7
Ousak (Greece)
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Overtone
1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Peiraiotikos (Greece)
1, b2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7
Persian 1
1, b2, 3, 4, b5, b6, 7
Persian 2
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Peruvian Major
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Peruvian Minor
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Pien Chih (China)
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Romanian
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Sambah
1, 2, b3, b4, 5, b6, b7
Half-Diminished
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Sengah (Greece)
1, b3, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Souzinak (Greece)
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Super Locrian
1, b2, #2, 3, b5, b6, b7
Todi That (Japan)
1, b2, b3, #4, 5, b6, 7
Ultra Locrian
1, b2, b3, 3, b5, b6, 6
Yu (China)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7

Octatonic Scales

Adonai Malakh (Israel)
1, b2, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Algerian
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 5, b6, 7
Arabian
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Be-Bop Dominant
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Be-Bop Major
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 6, 7
Be-Bop Minor
1, 2, b3, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Be-Bop Half-Diminished
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, 5, b6, 7
Blues 1
1, b2, b3, 3, b5, 5, 6, b7
Blues 2
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7
Blues 3
1, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, b7, 7
Diminished 1
1, 2, b3, 4, #4, #5, 6, 7
Diminished 2
1, b2, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Double Harmonic
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7
Enigmatic
1, b2, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7, 7
Spanish
1, b2, b3, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Espla
1, b2, #2, 3, 4, b5, b6, b7
Phrygian Spanish
1, b2, #2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Genus Diatonicum
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Genus Diatonicum Veterum
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, 7
Gregorian
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 6, b7
Ichikosucho (Japan)
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, 7
Hindustan
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, 7
Ishikotsucho (Japan)
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, 7
Israelite
1, #1, #2, 3, #4, #5, 6, 7
Magen Abot (Israel)
1, b2, #2, 3, #4, #5, 6, 7
Maqam Hijaz (Iran)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 7
Maqam Nahawand (Iran)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 7
Maqam Shadd'araban (Iran)
1, b2, #2, 3, 4, b5, 6, b7
Maqam Shawq (Iran)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Messianic 1
1, b2, 2, b3, #4, 5, #5, 6
Messianic 2
1, b2, 2, 3, #4, 5, b6, b7
Octatonic
1, b2, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Rast (Iran)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Half-Tone Tone
1, b2, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Symmetric 1
1, 2, #2, 4, #4, #5, 6, 7
Symmetric 2
1, #1, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7
Tone Half-Tone
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, b6, 6, 7
Chinese
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Zirafkend (Saudi Arabia)
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 6, 7

Nonatonic Scales

Arabian
1, b2, #2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 7
Blues 1
1, 2, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7
Blues 2
1, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7, 7
Phrygian Arabian
1, b2, #2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 7
Genus Chromaticum
1, b2, b3, 3, 4, 5, b6, 6, 7
Messianic
1, b2, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7
Nonatonic
1, 2, b3, 3, b5, 5, #5, 6, 7
Taishikicho (Japan)
1, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7, 7
Tcherepnin (Russia)
1, #1, #2, 3, 4, 5, #5, 6, 7
Youlan (China)
1, b2, 2, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7

Decatonic Scales

Blues
1, 2, b3, 3, 4, #4, 5, 6, b7, 7
Messianic
1, b2, 2, b3, 3, #4, 5, #5, 6, b7
Symmetric
1, #1, 2, 3, 4, #4, 5, b6, b7, 7

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