Intervals (relative to previous note):

Root, +2, +1, +3, +1, +2, +1, +2 (Root again)


A, B, C, D#, E, F#, G

I happened to come across this scale pattern while playing scales on guitar and it somehow feels familiar to me although not sure if it has a name in Western music. Does it?


It's the 4th mode of the harmonic minor scale. Specifically A Dorian ♯4 in your example. For the notes given if you start on E, you'll see the E harmonic minor scale:

X: 1
M: C
K: Cmaj
L: 1/8
E^FGA Bc^de||
  • Also called 'Romanian minor, Ukranian Dorian or minor', I believe. – Tim Jun 4 '17 at 10:07
  • It's also known as Mi Sheberakh (lots of variation in the spelling if you're googling it!), one of the three characteristic scales used in klezmer music. – Bob Jun 4 '17 at 14:29

Adding to Dom's answer, the clue to working it out as a mode is the tone and a half gap. This only occurs in standard scales in the harmonic minor. So, the gap's between C and D# in your sample, making D# the leading note - of E harmonic minor. You have a series of notes which make up the basic scale, and have started your cycle on the 4th note, A. Making this the mode called Dorian #4', so called as it is the same as a normal Dorian mode, with the exception of the sharpened 4th note.

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