Phrygian dominant scale

D Phrygian dominant scale.  Play 

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, harmonic minor perfect fifth below, 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 b9 b13 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

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 known as Hijaz-Nahawand or Bayati 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. It is the scale used in the North Indian classical raga Vasant Mukhari and the 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  Play .

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


  1. 1 2 Dave Hunter (2005). Play Acoustic, San Francisco: Backbeat, p. 226. ISBN 978-0-87930-853-7.
  2. 1 2 3 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.
  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

External links

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