Altered Scales

Modes morph into something new

The moment you take a mode and change at least one note, it sounds very different. In some cases changing a mode gives you another mode. Other times changing modes gives you new scales. In this section you will find various altered scales and short pieces illustrating the sounds.


This is Gypsy major. Other names: Bhairav Raag, Byzantine scale, Arabic, and Gypsy major. Two major scale notes are altered. The formula:

1 b2 3 4 5 b6 maj7 8.

Hava Nagila

This is sometimes called the Phrygian dominant scale. The formula for Phrygian:

1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 (b)7 8.

Phrygian dominant changes one note:

1 b2 3 4 5 b6 (b)7 8


The most common name is Hungarian minor. It is harmonic minor with #4. Harmonic minor formula:

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 maj7 8.

Hungarian minor formula:

1 2 b3 #4 5 b6 maj7 8.