A tritonic scale
is a musical scale
with three note
s per octave
. This is in contrast to a heptatonic
(seven-note) scale such as the major scale
and minor scale
, or a dodecatonic
(chromatic 12-note) scale, both common in modern Western music. Tritonic scales are not common in modern art music, and are generally associated with savage and primitive music
, in both the descriptive and the derogatory senses.
Early Indian Rig Vedic
hymns were tri-tonic, sung in three pitches with no octave: Udatta, Anudatta, and Swarita.
In a 1969 study, Mervyn McLean
noted that tritonic scales were the most common among the Maori
tribes he surveyed, comprising 47% of the scales used.
The pre-Hispanic herranza
ritual music of the Andes is generally tritonic, based on a major triad
, and played on the waqra phuku
trumpet, violin, and singer with a tinya
drum. The tritonic scale is largely limited to this ritual and to some southern Peruvian Carnival