Istrian scale refers both to a distinct musical scale and the Istrian and Kvarnerian folk music genres which use the scale. Named for the Istrian peninsula; genres include kanat and tarankanje; techniques include nasal tone, variation and improvisation, and resolution to the unison or octave; and instruments include sopele shawms, bagpipes, flutes, and tambura lutes. It was first studied or conceived by Ivan Matetić Ronjgov.
Non-equal-tempered, the scale could approximately be notated as: E-F-G-A♭-B♭-C♭ (see: enharmonic). It may be thought of in various ways, such as the Gregorian Phrygian mode (on E: E-F-G-A-B-C-D) with lowered 4th, 5th, and 6th degrees. Performances feature diaphony and the Phrygian cadence (in E: F and D moving to E).
Something like the Istrian mode, but without its top note, is found in Haydn's String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20 No. 5. Uroš Krek's Inventiones ferales (1962) uses the scale, "in a disguised manner". Karol Pahor's cycle of 15 pieces, Istrijanka (1950), was the result of study of the Istrian mode, as was Danilo Švara's Sinfonia da camera in modo istriano (1957).
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