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 Post subject: Greek scales
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:24 am 
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Some time back a few of us were discussing scales and modes. Last week when I was in Bulgaria I played an improvised line to a folk tune being played on a gaida (kind of bagpipe). On my D whistle I discovered we were playing in Lydian E with a sharpened 7th E,F,G,A,B,C#,D (it probably has a name but i really am NOT an expert). It is a kind of minor but the minor second interval between the root and second note gives it a slightly exotic feel. Anyway the point is that while playing I was reminded about the interest in exotic scales on one of the PWA threads some time ago and thought I'd collect a few scales used in Greek folk music together for those interested. I'll write them out in D so you can try improvising with them on your whistle.


Hitzaz scale D,Eb,F#,G,A,Bb,C,D

Hitzazkiar scale D,Eb,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D

Piretikos scale D,Eb,F#,G,G#,A,Bb,C#,D (note this is an 8 note scale)

Rast scale (a major scale but it differs when desending) ascending D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D desending D,E,F#,G,A,B,C,D

Houzam scale D,F,F#,G,A,B,C#,D

Sengiah scale D,F,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D

Kioudi scale (the same as the Dorian mode) D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D

Nisiotiko Minor D,E,F,G,A,Bb,C,D (the natural minor)

Ousak scale D,Eb,F,G,A,Bb,C,D

Sabah scale D,E,F,F#,A,Bb,C,D

Kartzigar scale D,E,F,G#,A,B,C,D

Pimeniko scale D,E,F,G#,A,B,C,D

Niavent scale D,E,F,G#,A,Bb,C#,D


The following scales are used mainly for improvisation in Greek folk music.

Houseni scale (ascending it is major D,E,F#,G,A,B,C,D but turns to minor when desending D.E,F,G,A,Bb,C,D)

Neveseri scale D,Eb,F,G#,A,Bb,C,Db Note that the ascending Neveseri scale does not lead to the root but to Db which is a diminished 8th from the root.

Tsiganikos scale (Gypsy) ascending D,Eb,F#,G,G#,B,C,D descending D,E,F#,G,A,Bb,C,D

Tabahaniotikos scale D,E,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D


Where I have written out descending scales they obviously need to be played right to left.

Hope this is of interest to one or two praise whistlers that like to push the musical boundaries.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:37 pm 
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OOOOOH!!!!!! THANKS, Adrian!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 1:10 am 
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I thought I'd add the numerical scale form for the theorists like Kristos. Scales are easier to understand and compare as numbers.

Hitzaz scale D,Eb,F#,G,A,Bb,C,D
1,b2,3,4,5,b6,b7

Hitzazkiar scale D,Eb,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D
1,b2,3,4,5,b6,7

Piretikos scale D,Eb,F#,G,G#,A,Bb,C#,D (note this is an 8 note scale)
1,b2,3,4,#4,5,b6,7

Rast scale (a major scale but it differs when desending) ascending D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D desending D,E,F#,G,A,B,C,D
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7,

Houzam scale D,F,F#,G,A,B,C#,D
1,b3,3,4,5,6,7

Sengiah scale D,F,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D
1,b3,3,4,5,b6,7,

Kioudi scale (the same as the Dorian mode) D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D
1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7

Nisiotiko Minor D,E,F,G,A,Bb,C,D (the natural minor)
1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

Ousak scale D,Eb,F,G,A,Bb,C,D (same as Phyrigian mode)
1,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

Sabah scale D,E,F,F#,A,Bb,C,D
1,2,b3,3,5,b6,b7

Kartzigar scale D,E,F,G,G#,,B,C,D
1,2,b3,4,#4,6,b7

Pimeniko scale D,E,F,G#,A,B,C,D
1,2,b3,#4,5,6,b7

Niavent scale D,E,F,G#,A,Bb,C#,D
1,2,b3,#4,5,b6,7

The following scales are used mainly for improvisation in Greek folk music.

Houseni scale (ascending it is major D,E,F#,G,A,B,C,D but turns to minor when desending D.E,F,G,A,Bb,C,D)
1,2,3,4,5,6,b7 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7


Neveseri scale D,Eb,F,G#,A,Bb,C,Db Note that the ascending Neveseri scale does not lead to the root but to Db which is a diminished 8th from the root.
1,b2,b3,#4,5,b6,b7,b8

Tsiganikos scale (Gypsy) ascending D,Eb,F#,G,G#,B,C,D descending D,E,F#,G,A,Bb,C,D
1,b2,3,4,#4,5,6,b7 1,2,3,4,5,b6,b7
Tabahaniotikos scale D,E,F#,G,A,Bb,C#,D
1,2,3,4,5,b6,7



Edited to correct the Kartzigar scale. Thank you Kristos.


Last edited by Adrian on Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 8:31 am 
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Location: kanawha county, wv
i've never had music theory education. this kind of stuff just confounds me.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 9:16 am 
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mutepointe wrote:
this kind of stuff just confounds me.


And me!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:32 pm 
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Cool! Thanks, I'll be printing this out for sure. :D
Glad I caught this post- with all this college stuff and all, I have to skip a lot.
I wouldn't call myself a 'Music Theorist', but I study it when I can, and more scales is always a delight!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:55 pm 
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Bumping this in case anybody else wants to see the Greek scales after housecleaning. :D

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