Exotic Scales


The Eight Winds

Back when I was putting together the scales book (a good 10 years ago now) I had trouble finding names for all the exotic scales I wanted to put in. When I couldn't find one I just had to make something up. Sometimes I think I made a good choice -- Superaugmented and Ultra Locrian, for example, do what they say on the tin -- and sometimes not. But for one set of scales I was completely stumped.

Melodic Minor with a b5 or b4?

In my last post the Melodic Minor b5 scale cropped up unexpectedly; I wasn't expecting this so I dug into it a little bit. On paper I found quite a few interesting properties, but when I sat down with the guitar it became obvious that this was something very familiar. And then a little more experimentation revealed something more interesting.

The Sucharitra Coscale

A while ago I posted about some chords from the Sucharitra scale and then I mentioned them again in connection with using the coscale idea. This post expands a bit on what I've been doing with this approach.

Neetimati and Gayakapriya: A Secret Connection?

Neetimati and Gayakapriya are Carnatic scales that have come up a few times on this blog, but that I've never really dug into. In my last post I discovered they share a slightly obscure property; on closer inspection it turns out they have a close and musically useful bond.

Messiaen's Mode 6 and the Neapolitan Scale

Messiaen's Mode 6 is a symmetrical scale that can be made by adding two notes to the Whole Tone scale. Adding one of these gives us Neapolitan, so I thought it was probably time to look at the other one.

The Half-Hole Hypermode

There are only three octatonic ("half-whole") diminished scales, and two have reasonably well-known applications over everyday chords. What about the third?

Trichord and Tetrachord Subsets of the Diminished Scale

Yesterday I posted some initial thoughts on the "whole tone dominants" -- those altered dominant chords that are subsets of the whole tone scale. The obvious other thing to do, particularly with my current obsession with Scriabin, is to look at the "octatonic dominants" that come out of the half-whole (or whole-half) diminished scale. Caveat: this post is a bit of "primary research" -- not very exciting as at stands, but with potentially useful applications.

Karnatic Etudes

Two big twentieth century studies of Carnatic scales by Western composers are now available in full on YouTube. If nothing else, I think we Western musicians can benefit from hearing these scales "in our own accent" rather than solely in the context of South Indian music. They also prove that these "exotic" scales can make excellent music in a Western style, in case that still needs to be proved to anyone.

Some Pentatonic Major 7 Vocabulary

I've been playing with Common b6 Pentatonic from my previous post over the past view days and thought it would be worth noting some applications of this and the Hungarian Minor Pentatonic to major 7 chords.

Common Pentatonic b6 Combinations

Last night in the practice room I revisited this post about a mildly altered pentatonic so this morning I decided to pull out some more possibilities for combining it with familiar things.