The Architecture of Music

Organizing All The Scales

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The Greater Organization of All Scales

The scales in the (in progress) chart below represents over 99% the scales used throughout the history of Western (12 tone) music as documented in the List of Musical Modes created by Manuel Op De Coul. Most of the scales have names and some scales have multiple names that can be found on the List of Musical Modes. However, some of the scales are new and have yet to be named. There is an unknown number of scales in the chart representing an unknown total number of modes. Some of the scales are modes of each other and further complicating things, some scales like the Van Der Horst Octatonic and Genus Chromaticum have multiple mirror lines and modes that are identical to each other. Further analysis of each of these scales would need to be done to figure out how many scales and 2,048 possible modes the chart represents. As can be see on the bottom of the chart there is a small completed section that represents all the possible variations of the Dorian scale through the Chromatic.

The chart below can also be used to figure out what scale you are playing. To do so, first figure out the scale's unique linear circle of fifths diagram by writing down all the notes of all the chords or progression you are playing. Then write down all the notes in order of the the linear circle of fifths diagram that can be found on the bottom of the circle of fifths poster. Circle the notes of the scale you are playing and then compare its unique linear circle of fifths diagram to the scales on the chart below. Remember, the scales below are organized as variations of the perfect/symmetrical and perfect/semi-symmetrical scales so you may have to shift the linear circle of fifths diagram of the scale you are looking for to the mode that is a variation of those scales.

Click The Greater Organization of All Scales link to open a high res version version of the chart. Zoom in an out of the chart by holding the Ctrl key down while using the scroll wheel on your mouse.

Greater Organization of All Scales