Ritsu and ryo scales

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Ritsu scale. About this sound Play  Malm and Asai give D, E, (F,) G, A, B, (C,) D.[1][2] Gillan gives C, D, F, G, A, C.[3]
Ryo scale. About this sound Play  Malm and Asai give D, E, F, (G,) A, B, (C,) D.[1][2]

The ritsu and ryo scales are scales in Japanese music, specifically shōmyō. Ryo is only transposable to D and G and ritsu is only transposable to E and B, the mixed scale on A.[4] The essential difference between this scale and the ritsu scale is the placement of the kaku note, which is a half-step lower in the ryo scale.[4] The ritsu scale is the voice of the male phoenix, yang, being, the voice that ascends from above and is inhaled breath, emerging from the ki while the ryo scale is the voice of the female phoenix, yin, nothingness, the voice that ascends from below and is exhaled breath, emerging from the breath; probably indicating that ritsu is vertical and ryo is horizontal.[5]

Hanryo hanritsu is a scale created from combining the ritsu and ryo scales. There is disagreement over its composition.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Malm, William P. (2000). Traditional Japanese Music and Musical Instruments, p.68. ISBN 9784770023957.
  2. ^ a b Asai, Susan Miyo (1999). Nōmai Dance Drama, p.159. ISBN 9780313306983.
  3. ^ Gillan, Matt (2012). Songs from the Edge of Japan, p.40. ISBN 9781409424048.
  4. ^ a b Malm (2000), p.69.
  5. ^ Zeami, Motoyiko (2011). Zeami, p.121. ISBN 9780231139595.