Scale of the Day #5: A Mystery Scale

Before you read another word try playing this week’s scale-of-the-day through on your instrument: Written on C it’s clear that this is the major scale with a single note adjusted a semitone higher.  It’s that it’s the 5th degree that has been adjusted that leads to the tonic chord having an augmented quality. I’m not sure how I would go about composing with this scale, or how I would create a sense of genuine C tonality. Our western ears are attuned to the perfect 5th defining harmonic spaces, so this scale is challenging simply because that 5th degree does not create that expected consonance. But even more challenging is the fact that the 5th is augmented. When we hear these two pitches out of context we assume (and believe deeply) that we are hearing a minor 6th, and we further project into this harmonic outline either a 2nd inversion of a minor chord or a 1st inversion of a major one.

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