Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In a purely theoretical space, I noticed some interesting properties of a scale which I determined to be the Magen Avot Scale.

The scale I am interested in is:

C Db D# E F# G# A B

or

1 b2 #2 3 #4 #5 6 7

My question is, does anyone know of specific recordings using this scale? It has a strange sound and I would love to hear how it is used. I don't think I would be able to verify on my own, by listening, if a recording is using this scale or not.

share|improve this question

more of a comment, but a little long for comment box

I think the ♯2 is more likely to be perceived as a ♭3 unless the two 2s are really used as alternate paths from 1 to 3.

This looks to me like two scales superimposed, a C major and a A melodic minor. You've got lots of dominant diminished chords that can resolve to C-E-B (omitting the altered ♯G) and lots of dominant chords that can resolve to A-C-E. So this scale might arise during a modulation from C to A-minor or vice-versa.

share|improve this answer
    
I agree b3 seems more intuitive but was told #2 is the more common notation for this scale so I went with #2. It is cited as a Jewish scale, but I'm not sure how it is used or what it sounds like therein. – Matthew James Briggs Oct 11 '13 at 13:48

beautiful flute song using this scale

greetings Erik

share|improve this answer

I may be well off mark here, but it is a 9 note scale, looking like a mode of C# harmonic minor, with the addition of a major 6th note. The mode being based around C. Sadly, can't find any tunes that seem specifically to use it.

Or - could be, using Db and Eb as C# and D# respectively, construed as the Aeolian of E (C# natural minor) with an added C (b6 or #5).

share|improve this answer

I figured out why I was having trouble finding examples. It seems Magen Avot is a more typical spelling.

share|improve this answer
    
Hmm. Both these examples uses the harmonic minor scale a lot (or mainly) with some variations (such as b7). I didn't hear any minor seconds (b2) or major thirds (3) (with one exception), but a lot of perfect fifths (5) and natural seconds (2). So to my ears these examples don't use the scale formula you listed. I only had a quick low focus listen though. (As a side note different modes of the harmonic minor scale are at the core of jewish klezmer music.) – Ulf Åkerstedt Nov 9 '13 at 20:54
    
I couldn't tell from listening what scale was being used but was going off of the titles. Thank you for checking. – Matthew James Briggs Nov 10 '13 at 4:20

Just a side note (too long for a comment), in Jazz there are the so called Symmetrical Diminished scales. These are octatonic scales that play well over diminished chords, and that are built from two groups of 4 notes, each group with a similar shape. There are two of these scales:

  • half-whole mode -- 1st group = [1 b2 #2 3] - 2nd group = [#4 5 6 b7]
  • whole-half mode -- 1st group = [1 2 b3 4] - 2nd group = [ b5 b6 6 7]

You will notice that for each mode, the whole-tone/half-tone relationship in the notes in each group is the same, hence the name "symmetrical" scales.

This Magen Avot scale, as I understand from the Jewish tradition, is equivalent to the 1st half of the half-whole mode together with the 2nd half of the whole-half mode.

I'm not saying there's a Jewish tradition influence in Jazz (as far as I know, there isn't), but I find quite interesting how these related structures appear in different independent cultural fields, perhaps showing an underlying universal structural relationship.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.