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


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.


beautiful flute song using this scale

greetings Erik


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.

  • 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

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.


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).


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

  • 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

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