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    I was excited to hear of the incorporation of this unique scale in the new Synchron library, a scale I thought I invented when I was eleven.  I spontaneously began playing the piano using this scale and composing little motifs, and it seemed very natural to me. It was in the transposition b-c-d-e flat-f-g flat-a flat-a natural.    I later discovered to my shock it was very old - not only used in the 20th century as mentioned on the Synchron thread, but long before with Spanish guitar music, etc.  But the scale has unique and interesting harmonic and melodic aspects.  For example, there are parallel tritones all the way up the scale on every degree. If you create a major triad and then go down stepwise on each note you will get alternating major-minor-major-minor chords in different inversions.  There are parallel sevenths on every degree but they alterante minor-major-minor- likewise.  Also parallel diminished chords and minor thirds .  There is no V-I cadence possible, and yet melodically the feel of it can be created by leaving out the tritone instead of the fifth.  Anyway a huge number of interesting differences from the twelve tone or diatonic scales.  Psychologically also, the scale does not seem dissonant and yet is very different from diatonic harmony.  There is a tendency to continue using it to the exclusion of "wrong notes" and yet when they are used they become like accidentals in diatonism.

    In my score for the film I am working on I am using the scale almost exclusively with a few exceptions.  It is often rather eerie sounding (or can be)  and fits the mystery/horror elements of the film!   

  • This is really interesting, William. After reading your post I was playing around with this scale on the piano and yes it has so much potential.

    I can relate to this especially given my background in Indian classical music. As you may know there are hundreds of scales in Indian music. And in south indian music there are 72 'foundational' scales upon which thousands of scales are built. (you can easily see how its 72 for a 7 tone scale: 3 notes below the fifth and 2 above the fifth gives you 36 possibilities each with perfect fourth and augmented fourth.)

    The scale you mention is a derivative of scale number 70 on this list, called "Nasikabhushani"  (now try pronouncing that!)...but the extra minor second adds a lot of mystery.

    Now of course in Indian music there is no concept of harmony so the analysis you present is quite interesting. 

    On a difft note Ive found often while improvising on Jazz chords that use of non-harmonic tones invariably leads you through some crazy sounding scales.


  • That is interesting abouot the Indian scales - I've heard about some of them and they are very fascinating.  You are right about this 8 tone scale having a lot of potential.  There is a mood to a lot of the motifs that arise simply while playing parts of the scale or harmonizing them.  Also, for some reason I can't explain there seems to be a desire to create short motifs that repeat using it.  

  • If you gentlemen are interested in new scales, you might find this illuminating. Have you heard of Diatessaron progressions (equal division of 5 octaves into 12 parts) or perhaps Conjugate pandiatonic progressions?

    It is a great resource for exploring new harmony and melody.
  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on