Enigmatic scale on guitar


The following are examples of the enigmatic scale in C at selected positions on the guitar neck. These examples use standard guitar tuning (E, A, D, G, B, E open guitar strings lowest to highest). These scale patterns can be transposed to other positions on the neck to produce other enigmatic scales.

The horizontal lines in each example are the guitar strings, where the lowest guitar string is at the bottom. The vertical lines are the guitar frets. The fret numbers are at the top of each pattern. The white notes are the tonic of the scale (the first note). The gray notes are the dominant of the scale (the fifth note).

It should be noted that the dominant in the enigmatic scale is not a perfect fifth of the tonic (i.e., in this example, the perfect fifth of the tonic C is G, but the note used in the enigmatic scale is G#). The fifth on the enigmatic scale is an augmented fifth, as there are eight semitones between it and the tonic, instead of the seven semitones in a perfect fifth. Similarly, the fourth note of the enigmatic scale (the subdominant) is an augmented fourth and not a perfect fourth. There are six semitones between the C and the F# in the example below, instead of the five semitones in a perfect fourth. The perfect fourth (F in the example below) is sometimes used in the descending enigmatic scale. This note is also shown below.

The enigmatic scale is such that there are very few patterns that are comfortable on the guitar neck and do not require too much movement of the guitar neck hand. The scale consists essentially of two sets of notes: (1) four notes that are a semitone from each other (A#, B, C, and Db in the example) and (2) three notes that are two semitones from each other and two and three semitones from the set of four notes (E, F#, and G# in this example). The patterns selected below recognize this and place the set of four notes on one string and the set of three notes on the next string. Other patterns are possible, but this is the most comfortable construction for playing the scale on the guitar, with the exception of the construction around the beginning of the neck, where free strings can be used.

Example pattern for playing the enigmatic scale on guitar (pattern one)

Example pattern for playing the enigmatic scale on guitar (pattern two)

Example pattern for playing the enigmatic scale on guitar (pattern three)

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