I have seen this scale on a handpan and now I'm asking the name of the scale/mode that consists of the notes C# / G#, Bb, B C#, D#, F, F#, G# B ?

  • The large gap between C# and G# at the start of that sequence doesn't look like a scale to me, I'm afraid. Also you have a B-flat (or probably A#) before the B in one octave and not in the next. If you're asking which key this instrument plays in, it's probably C# major (in which the B is a flattened seventh and the A# the major sixth). Apr 3 '17 at 11:32

This the F# Major Scale with incorrect harmonic spelling.

The correct form is:


The clues are in the two places where in a major scale, there are no gaps, but consecutive semitones. These are between Bb and B, and F and F#.

Since in a correctly spelled scale, there can only be one of each letter name,the Bb becomes known as A#, and the F needs to be called E#. Thus the notes are F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E#. This puts the scale as F# major

You ask about modes : F# Ionian, G# Dorian, A# Phrygian, B Lydian, C# Mixolydian, D# Aeolian, E# (or F) Locrian covers those.

  • But if the OP is using "handpan" to mean "a Caribbean steel pan drum played with the hands", correct musical spelling was not necessarily the most important thing in the drum maker's mind... ;)
    – user19146
    Apr 3 '17 at 12:29
  • @alephzero - true enough - but how much more difficult is it to get something right - and why make it in F#? I've usually met them in D, from memory, and they're usually diatonic. Sort of one letter name for each note... 'cos it's easier to read, if nothing else.
    – Tim
    Apr 3 '17 at 17:35
  • There are chromatic handpans, usually tuned across in 5ths, so depending on the central note, you get tunings like Ab up to G# up by 5ths which is why the notes would be called that way. Apr 3 '17 at 21:20

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