The Architecture of Music


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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 LCOF. Imperfect Scales have at least one disconnected note around the LCOF. If a scale is symmetrical, its formula, interval, and LCOF 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 LCOF. In asymmetrical scales, the formula, interval and LCOF diagrams are all asymmetrical. Most scales are imperfect and asymmetrical (following page).

Just like chords, every scale has a negative (aka. inverse) counterpart which mirrors its scale formula, interval and LCOF diagrams. The exception to this is, again, found in symmetrical scales, whose inverse is themselves. Most of the time, inverse scales 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. Symmetrical scales are centered about the central note of the LCOF and have no inverse. Semi-symmetrical scales are semi-symmetrical about the central note of the LCOF and have an inverse mode as can be seen with the Dorian/Aeolian Mixed and Mixolydian/Dorian Mixed modes below.