Phrygian dominant scale

In music, the Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant. Also called the altered Phrygian scale, dominant flat 2 flat 6 (in jazz), the Freygish scale (also spelled Fraigish), or simply the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It resembles the scale of the Phrygian mode but has a major third. In the Berklee method, it is known as the Mixolydian 9 13 chord scale, a Mixolydian scale with a lowered 9th (2nd) and lowered 13th (6th), used in secondary dominant chord scales for V/III and V/VI.

: { override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f elative c' { clef treble ime 7/4 c4^markup { Phrygian dominant scale on C } des e f g aes bes c2 } }

Traditional use

This scale occurs in Indian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Central Asian, and Flamenco music. It is common in Arabic and Egyptian music, in which it is called Hijaz-Nahawand or Hijaz maqam, and used in Hebrew prayers and Klezmer music, where it is known as Ahava Rabbah, Freygish or just the "Jewish scale", and is called Dastgāh-e Homāyoun in Iran. It is the most common scale in North Indian classical raga Hijaz Bhairav (Basant Mukhari) and South Indian raga Vakulabharanam.

It is sometimes called the Spanish Phrygian scale, Spanish Gypsy scale (see: gypsy scale) or Phrygian major scale (see: phrygian mode and major scale) and is common in Flamenco music. It can also be found in traditional Spanish songs outside Flamenco, everywhere in Spain to varying amounts, but especially in southern and central areas of the country, often being also known as escala andaluza (Andalusian scale) in Spanish. Related scales in Spanish traditional music with chromatic notes in the second degree, varying between a semitone and a tone, are also known as "gama española" ("Spanish gamut") or "gama de Castilla y León" (gamut of Castile and Leon) and, though found all over Spain, are particularly common in Castilian and Leonese traditional songs.

The flatted second and the augmented step between the second and third degrees of the scale create its distinctive sound. Examples include some versions of "Hava Nagila" and "Misirlou", while other versions of those melodies use the closely related "double harmonic scale". The main chords derived from this scale are I, bII, iv, and vii.


The sequence of steps forming the Phrygian dominant scale is:
  • halfaugmented second – half – whole – half – whole – whole

    When related to the scale degrees of the major scale, it reads:

    :1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 1

    Written in semitones, the sequence is:


    Beginning on C, the scale is: :C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C

    When the Freygish scale is used in Klezmer music, the sixth degree may be left unflatted if it is melodically approached and left from above, or the seventh degree may be raised as well.