Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I noticed recently that quite a few Jewish songs (e.g. Havah Nagila) tended to use certain scales. I thought they were normal minor scales, but then I played them on the piano and noticed that the step patterns were different.

The first scale has this step pattern (numbers represent semitones)

1312122 (C C# E F G G# A# C)

and the second has

1312131 (C C# E F G G# B C)

They differ only in the seventh tone.

What are these scales called?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Matthew Read Jan 14 '13 at 19:25

Questions on Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange are expected to relate to music practice, performance, composition, technique, theory, or history within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer 1

Well first of all, it's certainly not "C C#..." but

C D♭ E F G A♭ B♭ C

which happen to be exactly the same notes as F harmonic-minor. But this scale beginning from C is called Phrygian dominant scale or in fact Jewish scale.

The other scale

C D♭ E F G A♭ B C

coincides with a "minor Gypsy scale" on F, but probably also has another name that fits in this context.

share|improve this answer
    
Another name for Gypsy minor is Flamenco mode or Major-Phrygian. –  horsh Dec 1 '11 at 3:21
    
@leftaroundabout If you like, edit your answer and add this information to improve it. Scales or modes can be known with different names in different cultures. As the answerer said, in western music they derive from the Phrygian mode but can have other names in ancient oriental music. In jewish music it's "Ahava Rabbah". In Indian Classical Music they are from the Bhairav family: 1) Basant Mukhari (or Basant Bhairav) and 2) Bhairav respectively. In central Asia they are from the Hijaz (or Hiçaz) family: 1) Hijaz-Nahawand (or Hijaz-Nihavend) and 2) Hijaz respectively. goo.gl/j7VQg –  Alejandro Iglesias Jun 2 '12 at 4:29

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