Ukrainian Dorian scale

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Ukrainian Dorian mode on C. Play

In music, the Romanian minor scale or Ukrainian Dorian scale or altered Dorian scale[1] is a musical scale or the fourth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It is "similar to the dorian mode, but with a tritone and variable sixth and seventh degrees".[2] It is related to both the Freygish and Mi Shebeirach scales and is used in Jewish music, "predominant in klezmer bulgarish and doina (doyne)."[1] "When the Ukrainian Dorian scale functions in the synagogue, it is a mode known as the Mi sheberach (May He Who Blessed) or Av horachamon (Compassionate Father). Arab and Greek scholars give other names to the scale: Nikriz (نكريز) and Aulos, respectively."[3]

"The pitches of the Mi Shebeyrekh [cantorial] mode correspond roughly to a Dorian mode with a raised fourth (for example, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, or if Katythian Enharmonic mode of Harmonic Minor 4:D, E, F, G, A, B, C); alternately, it could be described as a variant of the Lydian mode, deriving instead from the harmonic minor scale, rather than from the major scale. Beregovski calls this pitch collection 'Ukrainian Dorian'."[4]

The Ukrainian Dorian scale is used particularly extensively within Julian Cochran's music including the Romanian Dances and Mazurkas.[5] It has also been used by George Gershwin.[2] Another example is the Bert Kaempfert tune "Sweet Maria".[6]

Also called the Ukrainian minor scale, it is a combined type of musical scale.[citation needed] It figures prominently in Eastern European music, particularly Klezmer music, and melodies based on this scale have an exotic, romantic flavor for listeners accustomed to more typical Western scales.

A Ukrainian minor scale in the key of C would proceed as follows: C D E F G A B.
A Ukrainian minor scale in the key of B would proceed as follows: B C D E F G A.
Its step pattern is w - h - + - h - w - h - w, where w indicates a whole step, h indicates a half step, and + indicates an augmented second, which looks like a minor third on a keyboard but is notationally distinct.

Chords that may be derived from the scale based on B are Bm, C#7, D, E#dim7, F#m, G#m7b5 and Aaug. This scale is obtainable from the harmonic minor scale by starting from the fourth of that scale. Said another way, the B Ukrainian minor scale is the fourth mode of the F# harmonic minor scale. When its tonic is lowered a semitone, we obtain the Katythian Enharmonic scale, the 4th mode of the Harmonic Minor 4 scale:B C D E F G A/C D E F G A B/C D E Fdouble sharp G A B. Chords that may be derived from the Katythian Enharmonic scale based on B are Bbaug, C#6, D, Bb7, F#m, F#, Bbm, G#7sus2b5 and Aaug. Likewise, Chords that may be derived from the Katythian Enharmonic scale based on C are Cbaug, D6, Eb, Cb7, Gm, G, Cbm, A7sus2b5, and Bbaug, and for the one based on C:Caug, D#6, E, C7, G#m, G#, Cm, A#7sus2b5, and Baug.

Use in Jewish and Roman music[edit]

Ukrainian Dorian (also known as Misheberak scale) mode on D. Play

In Jewish and Roman music[7] the altered Dorian scale may be called the Misheberak scale. It may also be called Av horachamin (Compassionate Father),[8] Mi Shebeyrekh, and Misheberach. This scale was used extensively by Erik Satie, especially noticeable in his Gnossienne No 3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Idelsohn (1929). Jewish Music in Its Historical Development and Beregovski (Russian- and Yiddish-language articles) cited in Slobin, Mark (2002). American Klezmer, p.123, n.56. ISBN 978-0-520-22718-7.
  2. ^ a b Pollack, Howard (2006). George Gershwin: His Life and Work p.46. ISBN 978-0-520-24864-9.
  3. ^ Gottlieb, Jack (2004). Funny, it doesn't sound Jewish, p.221, n.65. ISBN 978-0-8444-1130-9.
  4. ^ Slobin (2002), p.23, n.6 and [17]. [sic]: On p.101 Slobin incorrectly describes raising the scale degree of the minor scale, though correctly lists G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
  5. ^ Melisa Burkitt (2011). Julian Cochran: Fünf Mazurken für Klavier, Calaméo.
  6. ^ Gottlieb (2004), p.135-36.
  7. ^ Play acoustic. Hunter, Dave, 1962- (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Backbeat. 2005. ISBN 9780879308537. OCLC 518214260.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Gottlieb, Jack (2004). Funny, it doesn't sound Jewish, p.65. ISBN 978-0-8444-1130-9.

Further reading[edit]