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I love the sound of this scale it's |root|1/2step| minor 3rd| 1/2 step| whole step| 1/2 step| minor 3rd| octave. Sounds arabic is this or a variation used in some jazz? Thank you, MooganDavid

Last edited by MooganDavid; 11/06/21 11:39 PM.

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I've heard it called the "Gypsy scale". I can't think of a jazz tune that uses it. It's common in klezmer music, and I'll bet the klezmorim (Jewish, Eastern European musicians) picked it up from the gypsies. Or maybe it went the other way?<g>


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Is this not the phyrgian mode?

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No I don’t believe any of the modes have a 3 half step (minor third) gap between successive notes

Last edited by Purdy; 11/07/21 08:54 AM.

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Thanks MarkL


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Barry Harris says "On G7, play down from the 7th of the Bb7 scale to B." ( Ab, G, F, Eb, D, C, B ... (Bb)

Now, this is perhaps the 5th mode of C harmonic minor but with an added Bb. I prefer to think and play it the way Barry Harris recommends. His way is the most ideal melodic layout in the bebop jazz tradition.
I know a lot of things to play from Bb7 over G7! However, the theoretical 5th mode of harmonic minor with an added note, not so much.


Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.
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Late posting but yes double harmonic minor as mentioned. If you might notice, it's two harmonic minor scale fragments grouped together, both starting on the fifth degree.

F harmonic minor- C Db E F and C harmonic minor - G Ab B C. If the B were flatted obviously it would be an F harmonic minor. Not having it flatted gives the scale/note combinations like you said, more of an Arabic or middle east flavor.

Functions well on a vamp, or like on a C7 alt. on something like Caravan, just as one tune example that comes to mind immediately.

Or simply over a tune with a |Gm7b5 C7 alt. | Fm |. There are multiple ways to use it.

I'd recommend being able to start the scale on any degree and play it up and down two octaves in all keys to get it solid. And then experiment with different chord changes to see how it could possibly fit. And don't be married to that exact scale- in Jazz, extraneous notes - maybe Bb, Eb in this particular instance - outside the scale are always used. Ears are just as important, if not more, then theory.



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This scale is frequently used in Greek Music. We call it Hitzaskar.
It is the scale of the song Misirlou that inspired the main theme music of Pulp Fiction:


It's a major scale.

There is also a variation with Bb instead of B. That's the Hitzaz.

Last edited by stamkorg; 11/08/21 04:19 PM.

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