Yet More Scales from Hungarian Altered Pentatonic

In this final instalment, I'll list out some applications of the Hungarian Altered Pentatonic -- see Part I and Part II for similar stuff, and this post for an explanation of what's going on, or just dive in.

As a reminder, here's the scale I'm calling Hungarian Altered Pentatonic:

As before, here are the heptatonic scales that contain this pentatonic:

With no minor thirds:

  • Melodic Minor
  • Neapolitan

With one minor third:

  • Harmonic Major [MiP]
  • Senavati [MaP]
  • Suvarnangi [MiP]
  • Varunapriya
  • Jyoti Swarupini
  • Mararanjani

With two minor thirds:

  • Gayakapriya [MiP, MaP]
  • Kamavardani [MiP, MaP]
  • Shubhapantuvarali [MiP]

With a major third:

  • Jalarnavam [MiP]
  • 1maj + b2maj + 2 [MiP, MaP]
  • 1maj + b6d [MiP, MaP]

There are only three heptatonics made up of only tones and semitones: the Major Scale, which contains Hungarian Major Pentatonic, and the two that arise here, Melodic Minor and Neapolitan. So that's at least somewhat interesting.

Observations Across All Three Pentatonics

We've now mapped out the 7-spectra of all three pentatonics we're considering. One thing that jumps out, for me, is the four scales that contain all three of them:

  • Gayakapriya
  • Kamavardani
  • 1maj + b2maj + 2
  • 1maj + b6d

Maybe these scales capture especially well whatever it was that attracted me to these three pentatonics in the first place.

It's also worth noting the scales that contain only one of them, and so in a sense perhaps capture their unique flavours:

MiP only:

  • Namanarayani
  • Yagapriya
  • Shubhapantuvarali
  • Neetimati
  • Navaneetam

MaP only:

  • Sulini
  • Senavati
  • Superaugmented

AlP only:

  • Melodic Minor
  • Neapolitan
  • Varunapriya
  • Jyoti Swarupini
  • Mararanjani

Using only AlP, as with the others we can only produce one heptatonic scale (and, of course, its modes). Latangi is 1 AlP + b6 Alp, while Superaugmented Nat 3 is 1 AlP + 3 AlP, so these have the same "Giant Steps" relationship that we saw with the Hungarian Minor scale. On paper these look like solid Maj 7 choices to me; I would try them as subs for a straight Lydian or Lydian Augmented sound.

There are two more "Giant Steps" pairs. One is based on b2 AlP, to which you can add 4 Alp (giving Suryakantam) or 6 AlP (giving Senavati). Suryakantam contains a Maj 7 arpeggio whereas Senavati is much more cyrptic, so these might make a nice inside / outside pairing. Maybe take these together with the previous two for a good range of Maj 7 effects.

The other pair is based on b5 AlP, to which you can add 2 AlP (giving Locrian bb3) or b7 AlP (giving Mixolydian b5). Mildly altered, ambiguous dominant 7 sounds to be had here, perhaps; certainly not something I'd expect to work in a traditional Alt Dom situation though.

The odd one out is 3 AlP + b6 AlP, which is Aeolian b4. I don't have much to say about this scale, except I'd probably try it wherever I'd try Mixolydian b6, so it might make sense to think of a larger grouping of this with the previous two.

That brings this series of posts to an end. They aren't supposed to revolutionize anyone's life and don't make any claims about music theory (especially not Hungarian music). They're just a way of exploring some resources in a structured way to see what turns up. I'll probably be working on these, on and off, for a good while, looking for interesting sounds and unexpected combinations of notes.

NB It occurs to me that when looking at these three pentatonics together, one is obviously "missing" -- what I might call the Hungarian Altered Minor Pentatonic, AmP:

By my reckoning MiP, AlP and MaP already generate all the scales you can get by altering Major, Harmonic Minor or Melodic Minor by one note except three: Ionian #6, Harmonic Minor b5 and Melodic Minor b5. Adding AmP would generate these, completing the collection. Of course, I expect AmP would give us some more exotic scales too, but the idea that these four scales together might provide a way to organise what I call the altered-note heptatonics is very tempting. That's an idea for another day...