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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I was given these 10 'Jewish' scales:

jewish_scales_jzorn.jpg

They were written out by a prominent composer as the foundations for a book of Jewish jazz tunes. Now obviously I can simply read them but I'm unclear as to what some of the peripheral information means exactly.

For example above the top two scales is "E" when both start on the root of C#. Transposition?
Beneath the same scales is "T:C#" which makes more sense however.

But mostly I don't understand the columns of accidentals above each scales.

Is it all obvious and I'm just dense? :baby:

Thanks! :)
 

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I'm fairly sure the "T" is for transposition and the E would be concert pitch. I'm not too sure about the accidentals above the scales though...Perhaps they are like harmonic and natural minor scales in that they have effect on the way up the scale but not down or vice versa?

Edit: It seems the accidentals above the note correspond with each other going across the page. For example in the first scale it reads B# and the adjacent reads Cb

ReEdit: never mind about the corresponding thing. The adjacent scales seem to differ in other ways as well such as the second scale degree and the 7th degrees do not correspond in the second scales from the top as they do in the first from the top

ReReEdit: It seems that if the adjacent scales are lowered a half step in the seventh and raised a half step in the second. Very strange. Also, how do they sound?

ReReReEdit: the adjacent scale follows the same concept as modes (as in same intervals just starting on another scale degree) Reading the accidentals above the scale seems to be correct and the pattern for the left hand scales is min2 min3 min2 Maj2 min2 Maj2 Maj2 and for the right hand scales Maj2 min2 min3 min2 Maj2 min2 Maj2 making the right hand scales start on the 7th scale degree of the left hand scales.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm fairly sure the "T" is for transposition and the E would be concert pitch.
That makes sense and seems so obvious now :)

Also, how do they sound?
Lovely! Here's a midi file of them.

ReReReEdit: the adjacent scale follows the same concept as modes (as in same intervals just starting on another scale degree) Reading the accidentals above the scale seems to be correct and the pattern for the left hand scales is min2 min3 min2 Maj2 min2 Maj2 Maj2 and for the right hand scales Maj2 min2 min3 min2 Maj2 min2 Maj2 making the right hand scales start on the 7th scale degree of the left hand scales.
Wow, I think you got it - that's a lot to digest but I think I get it.

Thanks for your help! :mrgreen:
 

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The scales on the left without the added accidental are what I would call the Jewish scale aka Phrygian Dominant.

The scales on the left with the added accidental are Gypsy Minor scales aka Double Harmonic scales, Arabic scales, Byzantine scales.

The scales on the right without the added accidental are the 4th mode of the harmonic major scale.

The scales on the right with the added accidental are Mischeberak scales.

At least in the case of these last 2, I believe that in certain types of music, the 7th (and sometimes 6th) scale degrees can be variable which may account for the extra accidentals.
 

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Thanks for posting those scales! I'm right now working on to find out what is happening on Zorn's Masada records.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AntPea and Agent27 thank you both for your help analysing these scales. I am very interested in Eastern scales.

MattiL - I'm glad you like the Zorn scales. I've spent the past 5 months transcribing the heck outta Masada. If you get a chance to really dig into the melodies and/or see his original charts these scales are very much the skeleton for the whole 1st book.

Thanks again everyone! :)
 

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I am wondering, why these scales are written there together. Is the reason just that those are scales that are used by the composer, or are there some interesting relationships between the scales, that are realized within a piece of music.

This relates to one of my interest with Zorn's Masada stuff: those scales seem essential to give the distinctive klezmerish sound, but what methods are used when going outside the klezmer sound. At least sometimes I feel that basic blues stuff with the #4 works.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess the composer felt the not uncommon need to place a self imposed guideline/boundary for these pieces to not only unify them but also test the limits: how many tunes can I write using only these basic modal structures?
Apparently 205 tunes! Or 208 or 211 - depending on who you believe.
His 2nd book numbers around 315 tunes! That uses different scales as its basis. I don't have a copy of them but they trend towards the minors.
I prefer the 1st book personally.
 
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