I was playing random scales . I came to a strange nice sounding mode,but could not find out what it's name theoretically. (Even I could not find a tonic sounding in it)

The scale/mode notes are :

G A Bb C Db E F G

Does anybody know what is this mode ? And in what category we can put it ? Persian,greek,turkish,jazz, ...?

  • I'm not going to post links here, but do a google search for "scale finder". This tool will allow you tofind the scale that matches the notes you are playing, you can change options to allow the tool to find you scales that are not only western scales, but exotic scales and modes aswell. – Scott Aug 6 '15 at 1:46
  • For me the tonic-sounding as you call it is definitely DOMINANT because of the 7th C-Bb being the strongest interval. The also very strong three-half-tones between Db-E are rather for coloring but not for defining a tonic structure as seen by western eyes/ears. See my post below... – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 14:41

You could consider as a scale derived from the F harmonic major scale as the F harmonic major scale contains the notes:

F G A Bb C Db E F

You can view this scales as just a major scale with a lowered 6th and this type of scale comes up in the Lydian Chromatic Concept.

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  • I have a similar approach like @Dom above but there is one thing I do feel differently. See my post above/below... – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 14:33

As pointed out by Dom, it is indeed the second mode of the (F) harmonic major scale. I would just like to add that this scale is often referred to as Dorian b5. Viewing this scale as a Dorian scale with one altered note makes it easy to remember its structure and to come up with appropriate fingerings.

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  • For me the scales with b5th are a little problematic. LOCRIAN can be used over a half-diminished chord but that makes it worse because these chords do not define a clear tonality either (for us westerners). So the fact that such a precise and clear sounding, memorable scale like DORIAN that dominates a whole music culture (celtic/irish) should be polluted by a flat 5th really makes me feel uncomfortable. See my approach in my answer above/below... – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 14:26
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    @mramosch: Like it or not, but it is a dorian b5 scale. Note that the OP clearly indicated that G is the root. Of course you can discuss all 7 modes (and there are indeed names for them), but I referred to the original question with the root G, and that's a dorian b5 scale. You can give it another name, but the great advantage of the name "dorian b5" is that everybody (who knows what dorian is) immediately knows what you're talking about. – Matt L. Aug 24 '15 at 19:12
  • To @Matt: You are definitely right, I didn't contradict or argue about that. And I do like it... ;-) But if it had been so obvious to Was.Francis about DORIAN and DORIAN b5 he wouldn't have asked for help - so he definitely didn't know what you were talking about. And about clearly having indicated the root - I quote: "Even I could not find a tonic sounding in it"! This tells me he couldn't just figure what the root/base note/key of the scale was - he just randomly chose starting from G. – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 19:39
  • To @Matt: You are right - all traditional modes do have the same tonal material to their disposal, just different places of the half-tone-steps and thus a different characteristic interval. Like the dorian 6th that distinguishes it from a plain minor scale. That's why it is so important to take the root note under consideration to get a correct FUNCTIONAL structure. You assumed G to be the root, I assumed that the OP had no special root in mind. So no bad feelings... ;-))) – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 19:42
  • @mramosch: OK, but the root is in the ear of the listener, nowhere else. As you know, any of the 7 notes can be the root; so the question "what is the root" doesn't make much sense. What makes sense, and that's also how I understood the question, is what scale it is (if started on the G), or what mode of which basic scale it is (a mode of the harmonic major scale), and this has been answered appropriately, at least in my understanding. – Matt L. Aug 24 '15 at 19:44

I have a similar approach like @Dom but there is one thing I do feel very differently.

If it were a major scale in F - the pattern of the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th that has way more the taste of a minor scale wouldn't be so molesting to my western ears. In german this is also called 'harmonic major' because it resembles both - the major scale and the harmonic minor scale.

For me a far better approach is to honor the presence of this flat 7th (Bb) as it is under the aspect of having a C7 scale (DOMINANT function).

The Db gives an additional eastern flavor to it but it is still DOMINANT. A perfect scale to play over a dominant-7th-chord with the additional tension b9 -> C7/b9. Some kind of gipsy-dominant-7th scale - or if you want GIPSY-MINOR :-) for the big picture.

And on top of everything the sound of this scale, because of being so DOMINANT, asks loudly for a resolution to a TONICA, that being C7/b9 -> F/Fm.

But I guess at the end of the day it is a matter of musical culture and what we are used to listen to. There are peoples that can harp over a dominant-7th chord all day long without having the urgent feeling of:

Where for Christ's sake is the TONICA (root) ???

This is almost like listening to Richard Wagner ;-)

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  • I've reread this a few times and I still can't figure out what scale/mode you are saying the notes belong to which is what the user who asked the question wanted to know about. – Dom Aug 24 '15 at 15:26
  • Oh I think now you made it clearer for us,maybe it is tied with what musical culture you are more comfortable with. I have to tell you that I came from an eastern culture that has even quarter tones in it's scale but, trained my ear for western music and jazz , so I can feel comfortable with both claims about the tonic. – Was.Francis Aug 24 '15 at 15:39
  • @tom I think he talk about why the tonic is hard to be felt – Was.Francis Aug 24 '15 at 15:47
  • @mramosch in another approach for feeling the tonic : someone here has posted about tonal gravity, so here the claim says that the tonic changes while you are playing this scale which sounds interesting to research why this tonic gravity changes ! . – Was.Francis Aug 24 '15 at 15:49
  • @Was.Francis: Lucky you, coming from a different culture and having the nerve and guts to go for something completely new. Respect! – mramosch Aug 24 '15 at 15:52

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