The Architecture of Music

Scales

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Classifying Scales

Classifying Scales

 

Scales can be classified in a few different ways as can be seen on this page and the next. Perfect scales have all the notes connected around the COF. Imperfect Scales have at least one disconnected note around the COF. If a scale is symmetrical, its formula, interval and COF diagrams are all symmetrical. Because of the rarity of symmetrical scales their interval diagrams have been mirrored to show their symmetry. Asymmetrical Scales have notes asymmetrical around the COF. In asymmetrical scales, the formula, interval and COF diagrams are all asymmetrical. Most scales are imperfect/asymmetrical (next page).

Just like chords, all scales have negative or inverse counterparts that mirrors their scale formula. The exception to this again is symmetrical scales whose inverse would be itself. Most of the time they are separate scales and are not modes of each other. However, all the modes of one scale will inverse with all the modes of that scale’s inverse exactly. With symmetrical and semi-symmetrical scales, the modes inverse within them just like the sus4 chord inversions. Symmetrical scales are centered about the central note of the circle of fifths and have no inverse. Semi-symmetrical scales are semi-symmetrical about the circle of fifths and will have an inverse mode within them. With symmetrical and semi-symmetrical scales, there will be at least two mirror lines about which the modes inverse.