I have created a short melody that uses these notes:

enter image description here

What mode contains these notes?

I have tried Dorian, Aeolian, Lydian, Phrygian and Mixolydian by starting at the scale in each mode that contains all naturals and working up via 5ths. But I can't find a scale that incorporates these notes

e.f. for Dorian, I started on D, then A, then E, etc. etc.


A B C D E F# G

E F# G A B C# D

B C# D E F# G# A

F# G# A B C# D# E

C# D# E F# C# A# B


It is not any of the modes built on the Ionian scale but if B is your tonal center it is a part of the B harmonic or melodic minor scale.


The modes you've tried — the "diatonic" modes — do not fit the notes you've composed. However, there are scales that incorporate them.

In particular both the B harmonic and melodic minor scales includes those pitches.

X: 1
T: B Harmonic Minor
M: none
K: none
L: 1/4
"_↑"B, "_↑"^C "_↑"D E "_↑"^F G "_↑"^A B ||
X: 1
T: B Melodic Minor
M: none
K: none
L: 1/4
"_↑"B, "_↑"^C "_↑"D E "_↑"^F ^G "_↑"^A B ||

The Musical Scale Search Tool lists a number of other scales that also include those pitches.

For example:

F♯ Double Harmonic

X: 1
T: F# Double Harmonic
M: none
K: none
L: 1/4
"_↑"^F G "_↑"^A "_↑"B "_↑"^c "_↑"d ^^e ^f ||

For starters, you have used the notes A♯, B, C♯, D and F♯. The problem is that they won't belong to a diatonic major scale. The reason for that is that any key with an A♯ in it, will already have a D♯. And your tune has D♮.

We could look at those sharps as flats: B♭, C♭... - no, that's not going to help!

So, we look at minors, and that A♯ to B is a clue.It features in both the harmonic and melodic (rising) minors, where those two are the leading and tonic notes. Of B minor. The B minor scale goes B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G, A♯, B - or B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, B for the melodic. So, the key signature will be simply two sharps, as in B minor, and each subsequent A note will need a sharp before it. And B will most likely feel like 'home'. I hope there will be more of the tune than just five notes!

EDIT: just a thought, but if the A# was the anacrucis, putting more emphasis on the B at the start of the next bar, that would make it sound like it is in B minor. What do you think?

  • In the melody, B feels like the tonic and F# the fifth
    – timbo
    Apr 4 at 22:06
  • So it's pointing more to being in key Bm. Unusual to start a melody on its leading note, on beat one.. Move the barline one beat to the right, and it seems to fit.
    – Tim
    Apr 5 at 7:27

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