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Hungarian minor scale

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The Hungarian minor scale, double harmonic minor scale, or Gypsy minor scale, is a type of combined musical scale. It is the fourth mode of the double harmonic scale. It is the same as the harmonic minor scale, except that it has a raised fourth scale degree to introduce an additional gap, or augmented second.It's a symmetrical scale which tonal center is slightly ambiguous, due to the large number of half steps.

Its step pattern is W, H, +, H, H, +, H, where W indicates a whole step, H indicates a half step, and + indicates an augmented second (the latter of which is enharmonically equivalent to a minor third but is notionally distinct). The scale contains two augmented seconds, one in each tetrachord. It also contains an augmented fourth (which is enharmonically identical to a tritone) between the first and fourth degree. Intriguingly, this scale (and its modes like the double harmonic scale) is the one of the seven-note subsets of the equally tempered chromatic scale that is perfectly balanced; this means that when its pitches are represented as points in a circle (whose full circumference represents an octave), their average position (or "centre of mass") is the centre of the circle. Other examples include Dorian mode of major and fifth mode of Melodic Minor. The axis of balance for the gypsy minor passes through the fifth and the flat nine, which is not included in the pitch set.

The scale may be used with minor or m+7 chords. See: chord-scale system. Chords that may be derived from the B Hungarian minor scale are Bm, C#75, Daug, F#, G7 and A#m6.

This scale is obtainable from the Arabic scale by starting from the fourth of that scale. Said another way, the C Hungarian minor scale is equivalent to the G Arabic scale.

In Indian classical Carnatic music, it is known as the ragam Simhendramadhyamam.An alternative (and less common) version is the asymmetric Aeolian ♯4 scale, the only difference with the Hungarian minor scale being that the 7th degree of the scale is not raised. This form of the scale can also be used in the 4th mode and would then be referred to as the Neapolitan scale.

Instances of Use

mm. 5-6 of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

The Pink Panther Theme, originally played in the key of E minor, is noted for its quirky, unusual use of chromaticism which is derived from the scale.

Joe Satriani has composed several songs using the Hungarian minor scale ("Musterion").

Oli Herbert of the American Melodic Metalcore band All That Remains uses the Hungarian minor scale in his playing ("Become the Catalyst").

Cannibal Corpse's song Rabid off of their Torture album is written in the Hungarian minor scale.

The second section of Klaus Schulze's long composition "Ludwig II" from the album X has a theme built on an ascending Hungarian minor scale.