I have discovered a song that doesn't let me sleep at nights.

I am trying to figure out how they came up with this piece.

First thing was to find the right notes that appear there and as I can see they are:

C# D F F# G A# B

I have no idea what scale it might be, does it look like anything common?

Reminds me of harmonic minor a little bit

I have even no idea what the key is... how do you find this?

Internet claims it is B minor. I clearly see lots of notes that are misleading me.

Thank you for helping and best wishes.

Polyphia's guitarist playing the main riff:

The actual song:


Well, one could look at this as kind of a B minor ♯4 scale (spell the F as E♯). The sharp 4 is quite common in minor keys, having a sort of subjectively evil and unstable sound.

As for why it sounds like harmonic minor, this scale is actually enharmonic to the 4th mode of F♯ double harmonic minor (F♯-G-A♯-B-C♯-D-E♯)! Double harmonic minor is just good old harmonic minor, but with a ♭2. Another explanation is that this scale has that same "color tone" that harmonic minor has, the leading tone juxtaposed against the ♭6 degree to create that juicy Augmented Second.

  • 1
    Wow, I will have to read this answer like 20 more times to understand it but sounds interesting. Thank you for a big dose of knowledge. Best wishes – divHelper11 Nov 19 '18 at 13:11

@user45266 provided the answer, but it's hard to read the spelling of this unusual scale.

Original scale...

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

4th mode of that scale is a double harmonic scale. Which combines two harmonic tetrachords.

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

Transposed to C to make it a little easier to read...

C Db E F G Ab B C

Breakdown into the two harmonic tetrachords...

 harmonic        harmonic
tetrachord      tetrachord
 m2 A2 m2   M2   m2 A2 m2
 /\ /\ /\   /\   /\ /\ /\
C  Db E  F      G  Ab B  C

I made an edit regarding major/minor quality.

...Reminds me of harmonic minor a little bit...

Of course the two harmonic tetrachords are what make this sound like harmonic minor. But, the interesting thing is the "double harmonic" seems to be classified as a major scale. Surely this is because of the ^3 above the tonic being a major third.

I suppose a major key signature should be used if it is notated.

So the original would be F sharp major with natural ^2 and ^6 scale degrees.

Or, if transposed to C major, with flat ^2 and ^6.

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