Greek Scales

An introduction to the many lovely scales are heard in traditional Greek music. The most important are highlighted in bold.

I am indebted to Georgios Leftheriotis for introducing me to these scales. For more, see Greek Scales and Accompaniment.

Major Scales

NameNotes of the scaleHijaz

1  2  .  .  3  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8  2  .  .  3  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8
G  Ab .  .  B  C  .  D  Eb .  F  .  G

Hijazskiar

1  2  .  .  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8  2  .  .  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8
G  Ab .  .  B  C  .  D  Eb .  .  F# G

Houzam

1  .  .  2  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8  .  .  2  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8

— (for bouzouki)

1  2  .  .  3  .  4  5  6  .  .  7  8  2  .  .  3  .  4  5  6  .  .  7  8

Major

1  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  .  7  8  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  .  7  8
C     D     E  F     G     A     B  C
D     E     F# G     A     B     C# D
Bb    C     D  Eb    F     G     A  Bb

Sengah

1  .  .  2  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8  .  .  2  3  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8

Rahst (up)

1  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  .  7  8  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  .  7  8

Rahst (dn)

1  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  7  .  8  .  2  .  3  4  .  5  .  6  7  .  8

Minor Scales

NameNotes of the scaleDiatonic Minor

1  .  2  3  .  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8
C     D  Eb    F     G  Ab    Bb    C
F     G  Ab    Bb    C  Db    Eb    F

Harmonic Minor

1  .  2  3  .  4  .  5  6  .  .  7  8

Melodic Minor (up)

1  .  2  3  .  4  .  5  .  6  .  7  8

Melodic Minor (down)

1  .  2  3  .  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8

Souzinak

1  .  2  3  .  .  4  5  .  6  7  .  8

Niaventi (difficult, beautiful, good to know.)

1  .  2  3  .  .  4  5  6  .  .  7  8

Kiourdi (up)

1  .  2  3  .  4  5  .  .  6  7  .  8

Kiourdi (down)

1  .  2  3  .  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8

Sabach

1  .  2  3  4  .  .  5  6  .  7  .  8

Ousak

1  2  .  3  .  4  .  5  6  .  7  .  8
C  Db    Eb    F     G  Ab    Bb    C
G  Ab    Bb    C     D  Eb    F     G

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