*Scales: Arabian Scales

If you are a composer, then you deserve to learn Arabian scales! Arabian scales differ from the common, too often played, major and minor scales, and can help to surprise your listeners with an exotic Arabian sound.

Scales are the foundation that compositions are built upon. Generally when a composition is one key, it remains in that key for the duration of the compositions. However, there are some exceptions where the composition has a key change in the middle of the piece resulting in an emotional change for the listeners. The type of scale you base your composition is important and can change the overall ambiance your composition exudes. Arabian scales exude an exotic ambiance to Western listeners.

If someone complains that your musical compositions are all similar in style, then you can create a very different composition by changing the underlying scale. Particularly, if you have been composing western style music, then you can create unique compositions by utilizing a scale from the east. For instance, you could use the Arabian scale.

The Arabian scale is also known by the name of double harmonic scale and has that exotic Eastern sound. An example of the C Arabian scale is below.

arabian scales

(C Arabian scale)

The Arabian scale is popular in the East in places such as India; however, it is rarely used in Western music because it is difficult to harmonize with popular chord progressions. The difficulty arises because there are two minor thirds incorporated into the scale, which is also why the scale is referred to as the double harmonic scale.

When I heard that it was difficult to harmonize the Arabian scale with popular chord progressions, I took this as a challenge, and decided to create a composition with a popular chord progression utilizing a mixture of the Arabian scales and the minor scales. I titled it Almost Arabian. Be sure to give it a listen and try to pick out the eastern sounds. I also included some Hungarian minor scales in the song.

An easy way to arrive at the Arabian scale is to simply lower the second and sixth tone of a major scale. This works for any major scale.

Arabian scales are another great scale to mix with the common major and minor scales to create interest for the audience. Their ears pick up the difference, the innovation, and they pay attention, which causes your composition to be memorable.