I was noodling around on a piano (I'm not a real pianist) and I came up with this scale, which I liked:

C-Db-E-F-G-Ab-Bb enter image description here

What is the name of this scale? Does it have a common name such as we find with "the Hungarian Minor Scale" or "the Fraigish Scale" etc., or would we just name it based on its characteristics and alterations?

It is actually C Phrygian:

C-Db-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb enter image description here

Except it has M3 - E, instead of a m3 - Eb.

Maybe it should be called Phrygian Major?


1 Answer 1


It's called phrygian dominant. It's the 5th mode of Harmonic Minor.

  • Yes - I realized after I wrote the question that M3 with b7 would make it dominant, not major.
    – Stinkfoot
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 20:58
  • Yet more "phrygian" complicated names for simple things! It's just F harmonic minor, in my money - I don't care what note it happens to start on!!!
    – user19146
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 21:21
  • 2
    @alephzero - Your money isn't worth much. In spite of your protestations, it is not F harmonic minor: it does not begin with F, has a b2 and no leading tone. I don't care what note it happens to start on - nor do I care what you do or don't care about. :) There's nothing complicated about "phrygian". There is something "complicated" about giving a scale the wrong name. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Albert Einstein. That means you don't simplify when the simplication leads to error, which is exactly what your "simplification" does.
    – Stinkfoot
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 11:08
  • 3
    @alephzero - I don't care what note it happens to start on - When the bank counts out your money, do you care which number they start on? If they were counting out 7 $100 bills for you, would you be OK with them starting on 4 instead of 1: 400... 500...600...700 - there you are sir - $700. ...
    – Stinkfoot
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 11:24
  • 2
    Also known as Phrygian major and Spanish Phrygian. So Stinkfoot was right all along!
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 13:11

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