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Synthetic Scales - Part VII

This week we continue to look at more Synthetic Scales. As before they are mainly Russian, although we will start to add some ‘Lydian’ feel to some of the scales. Check out last week's article to catch up on the other scales developed by Russian composers that we discussed.


The Prometheus Scale is a six note scale developed by Alexander Scriabin. It was used extensively during his piece ‘Prometheus: The Poem Of Fire’. This is where the name of the scale comes from. The scale is based on Scriabin’s ‘Mystic’ chord (or Prometheus Chord) which is made up of these notes.


The Neapolitan Prometheus Scale is an alternative form that Scriabin also used, the difference being that it has b2. The term Neapolitan generally refers to a b2, named after the Neapolitan Chord from classical harmony. The Neapolitan Chord is a major chord built on the b2 scale degree.


The Leading Whole Tone Scale takes the Lydian Scale and sharpens the 5th and 6th. Each note of this scale appears to want to lead up to the root note. It allows us to use the Whole Tone Scale (which can be quite vague) in a much stronger context.


The Lydian Diminished Scale is a Lydian Scale with a b3. It sounds like a minor scale because of the b3, but still holds the Lydian feel. It seems to originate from Kamchatka in Russia, and is commonly used in folk songs from that region.

As always, have a go at playing the scales yourself, it always helps to get the sounds of each in your head and your fingers!!

Until next week, have fun!!



-Duncan Richardson - MU Columnist


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