Phrygian dominant scale

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D Phrygian dominant scale. About this soundPlay 

In music, the Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant.[1] Also called the altered Phrygian scale, dominant flat 2 flat 6 (in jazz), the Freygish scale (also spelled Fraigish[2]), or simply the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It resembles the scale of the Phrygian mode but has a major third. In the Berklee method, it is known as the Mixolydian 9 13 chord scale, a Mixolydian scale with a lowered 9th (2nd) and lowered 13th (6th), used in secondary dominant chord scales for V7/III and V7/VI.

Traditional use[edit]

This scale occurs in Indian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Central Asian, and Flamenco music. It is common in Arabic and Egyptian music, in which it is called Hijaz-Nahawand or Hijaz maqam,[3] and used in Hebrew prayers and Klezmer music, where it is known as Ahava Rabbah, Freygish or just the "Jewish scale", and is called Dastgāh-e Homāyoun in Iran.[citation needed] It is the most common scale in North Indian classical raga Hijaz Bhairav (Basant Mukhari) and South Indian raga Vakulabharanam.[4]

It is sometimes called the Spanish Phrygian scale, Spanish Gypsy scale (see: gypsy scale) or Phrygian major scale (see: phrygian mode and major scale) and is common in Flamenco music.[5] The flatted second and the augmented step between the second and third degrees of the scale create its distinctive sound. Examples include some versions of "Hava Nagila"[1] and "Misirlou", while other versions of those melodies use the closely related "double harmonic scale".[2] The main chords derived from this scale are I, II, iv, and vii.[2]


The sequence of steps forming the Phrygian dominant scale is:

When related to the scale degrees of the major scale, it reads:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 1

Written in semitones, the sequence is:


Beginning on C, the scale is:

C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
C Phrygian dominant scale, the fifth mode of F harmonic minor About this soundPlay .

When the Freygish scale is used in Klezmer music, the sixth degree may be left unflatted if it is melodically approached and left from above,[6] or the seventh degree may be raised as well.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dave Hunter (2005). Play Acoustic, San Francisco: Backbeat, p. 226. ISBN 978-0-87930-853-7.
  2. ^ a b c Dick Weissman, Dan Fox (2009). A Guide to Non-Jazz Improvisation, guitar edition, Pacific, MO: Mel Bay, p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7866-0751-8.
  3. ^ Peter Manuel (2006). Michael Tenzer, ed. Analytical Studies in World Music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 96.
  4. ^ Magazine, Sruti (2 September 2013). "Sruti Magazine: RAGA BASANT MUKHARI". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. ^ Scott Jarrett, Holly Day (2008). Music Composition for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. p. 61. ISBN 0-470-22421-5.
  6. ^ Ilana Cravitz (January 2004) Klezmer – Modes and Scales", at (Accessed 23 November 2014).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]