Byzantine scale

5

The Byzantine scale is a heptatonic scale that can be built using the following steps between notes: ½, 1½, ½, 1, ½, 1½, ½.

An example of the scale is E, F, G#, A, B, C, D#. This example is shown below in traditional notation and in guitar tablature notation.

Byzantine scale in traditional notation

Byzantine scale in guitar tablature notation

The Byzantine scale is the fifth mode of the Hungarian scale. It is essentially the Phrygian mode of the primary heptatonic scale, but with a raised third and seventh (G# and D# in the example above). It can also be obtained as the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale (the Spanish gypsy scale), but with a raised seventh (D# in the example above).

Modes of the Byzantine scale

The fourth mode of the Byzantine scale has the steps 1, ½, 1½, ½, ½, 1½, ½ and is called the Hungarian, Egyptian, gypsy, or double harmonic major scale (A, B, C, D#, E, F, G# in the example above).

Three-note chords on the Byzantine scale

The following are common triads built on the notes of the Byzantine scale.

  • On the root of the scale (on the tonic): major chord (e.g., E composed of E, G#, B), augmented chord (Eaug = E, G#, C) or suspended chord (Esus4 = E, A, B).
  • On the second note (on the supertonic): major chord (F = F, A, C), minor chord (Fm = F, G#, C), or diminished chord (Fdim = F, G#, B).
  • On the third note (on the mediant): major chord (G# = G#, C, D#), minor chord (G#m = G#, B, D#), or augmented chord (G#aug = G#, C, E).
  • On the fourth note (on the subdominant): minor chord (Am = A, C, E), diminished chord (Adim = A, C, D#), or suspended chord (Asus2 = A, B, E).
  • On the fifth note (on the dominant): there are no common chords.
  • On the sixth note (on the submediant): augmented chord (Caug = C, E, G#).
  • On the seventh note (on the leading tone: there are no common chords.

Four-note chords on the Byzanitine scale

The following are seventh chords built on the notes of the Byzantine scale.

  • On the first note: major seventh chord (e.g. Emaj7 composed of E, G#, B, D#) or augmented major seventh chords (Emaj7#5 = E, G#, C, D#).
  • On the second note: dominant seventh chord (F = F, A, C, D#), major seventh chord (Fmaj7 = F, A, C, E), minor seventh chord (Fmin7 = F, G#, C, D#), half-diminished seventh chord (Fm7b5 = F, G#, B, D#), or minor-major seventh chord (Fmmaj7 = F, G#, C, E).
  • On the third note: there are no common chords.
  • On the fourth note: minor-major seventh chord (Ammaj7 = A, C, E, G#).
  • On the fifth note: there are no common chords.
  • On the sixth note: augmented major seventh chord (Cmaj7#5 = C, E, G#, B).
  • On the seventh note: there are no common chords.

Intervals on the Byzantine scale

The Byzantine scale is composed of the following intervals.

  • A minor second, e.g., the interval between E and F is equal to one semitones.
  • A major third, e.g., the interval between E and G# is equal to four semitones.
  • A perfect fourth, e.g., the interval between E and A is equal to five semitones.
  • A perfect fifth, e.g., the interval between E and B is equal to seven semitones.
  • A minor sixth, e.g., the interval between E and C is equal to eight semitones.
  • A major seventh, e.g., the interval between E and D# is equal to eleven semitones.

See also:
Scale, Scale (index)



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