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The Comprehensive Scale Catalog - XML Version

The primary purpose of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog (the “CSC”) on Flutopedia is to provide a set of scales for Native American flute players. However, the database behind the CSC is substantial. It is a concordance of information from many sources that I have been developing since 2001.

This page give access to single XML file that has all of the generally useful information from the current version of the CSC database. Although most of the data in the XML file should be reasonably self-evident, this page does provide some cursory documentation on the semantics of some of the fields.

Note that the XML file replaces a “Text/Unicode” format that was available for download from this page prior to November 2018. The XML version is far superior and complete. Apologies to those who may have used the Text/Unicode version, but it was vastly inferior to the XML and not maintainable ...

XML Version of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog

The XML version of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog is a single (large) text file that has information on all the scales and temperaments in the CSC. If you are downloading and saving the XML version for future use, you should probably also save this page of documentation.

The entries in the XML file are listed based on the same ordering I maintain in my database – an order that has some logic (at least to me). See the Order attribute below for a more details.

Revision History

Click on the version number to access the XML file directly. The first entry is the most recent version:

Version 4.11 — released November 26, 2012

This version includes all the intervals, chords, and ajnas, in the catalog as well as the scales and temperaments. Some improvements in node names, which will require adjustments from previous versions. Also, substantial expansion of the documentation.

Currently 2,102 scales, 38 intervals, 60 chords, 50 jins, and 292 temperaments.

Version 4.10 — released November 21, 2012

First release of the XML version (rather than the quirky TXT format used in previous versions). This coincides with a major expansion of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog, including the addition of over 1,300 scales (including the William Zeitler scales). Thanks to Denis Begaud for suggestion the upgrade to XML. The catalog now includes 2,146 scales, intervals, chords, and jins, as well as 293 temperaments.


Here are the primary sources (other than Flutopedia itself) that I have used for the content of the CSC. The XML file contains information on the date and version from which the source was last imported:

File Format

The XML file conforms to the XML 1.0 standard. The file contains Unicode characters encoded in UTF-8 and carries the header:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

Note that the XML element content (field values) have five encoded characters:

  • &” → “&amp;
  • '” → “&apos;
  • "” → “&quot;
  • <” → “&lt;
  • >” → “&gt;


The CSC contains a set of tone sequences and temperaments. The tone sequences are used to represent intervals, chords, ajans (singular: jins – entries that provide the scale fragments used to build up Arabic maqamat (singular: maqam)), and scales.

Some general guidelines to keep in mind about the CSC:

  • All tone sequences (scales, intervals, chords, ajnas) describe pitch releationships, not fixed pitches. There is no "C Major Diatonic" scale.
  • Enharmonic equivalents (eg. C# and Db) are considered identical and interchangable.
  • Ascending and Descending scales are treated independently. The machinery for correctly handling scales where the root is not the first degree and the terminus is not the last degree is not yet in place ... sometime soon, I hope.

Tone Sequences

The primary data for each tone sequence comprises:

  • a sequence of increasing musical intervals,
  • an optional root,
  • an optional terminus, and
  • an indication of how the scale repeats.

The musical intervals all have ratios greater than 1:1. The terminus may be specified only if a root is specified, and the terminus must be distinct from the root.

The sequence of musical intervals define relative pitch relationships between the degrees of the scale. By convention, the musical intervals are listed so that the resulting degrees of the scale are in strictly ascending order. The musical intervals may be given as a ratios from the root (e.g. “5:4 4:3 3:2 5:3 2:1” for Minor Pentatonic using a Just Intoation Temperament) or ratios from the each of the prior scale degrees (1:12 root of two for the Chromatic scale in 12-tone Equal Temperament). The musical intervals may be given as degrees selected from an underlying musical temperament (e.g. “{0,3,5,7,10,12} from 12-tone Equal Temperament”) or steps between the degrees of an underlying musical temperament (e.g. “3-2-2-3-2 from 12-tone Equal Temperament”).

The root and terminus are designated degrees of the scale, and are often thought of a the “starting point” and “ending point” of the scale, respectively. The root is most often the first degree of the scale and the terminus is often the last degree of the scale. The interval relationship between the root and the terminus is the “extent” of the scale. The extent is most often an octave (a ratio of 2:1), but may be a tritave (a 3:1 ratio), or any other ratio. The interval relationship between the lowest and highest degrees of the scale define the “range” of the scale.

A scale may have a root and a terminus, just a root, or neither. If the scale has no terminus, it has no extent. However, all scales have a range.

If the root and the terminus are both specified, they imply a direction to the scale. The direction is either ascending (if the terminus is above the root) or descending (the terminus is below the root).

A scale may be Repeating or Non-Repeating. To be Repeating, the scale must have an extent (i.e. both a root and a terminus). If the extent is an octave, the scale is said to be Octave-Repeating (Periodicity = OctRep). If the extent is some other interval, the scale is said to be Non-Octave-Repeating (Periodicity = NonOctRep). Most scales are Octave-Repeating. Non-Repeating scales (Periodicity = NonRep) are used for intervals, chords, scale fragments (e.g. a Jins (pl. Ajnas) in Arabic Maqam music theory), and a few scales.

Specifying a pitch for a given scale degree (typically the root) fixes a scale to a given sequence of pitches. For example, “Minor Pentatonic (12TET) rooted at C4 (A4=440)” indicates a particular sequence of tones (3-2-2-3-2) based 12-Tone Equal Temperament starting a C4, using a pitch standard of A4 = 440 Hz. In practice, the temperament and pitch standard are often omitted and assumed based on context. Some contexts consider the Minor Pentatonic scale to be the same regardless of the pitch used for the root, and other contexts (eg. East Indian) would consider them different scales.

Note and Interval Names

The interval of each scale step is provided in several formats. Note names are also provided for convenience, typically based on C.

For tone sequences based on 12-Tone Equal Temperament, this mapping is common and familiar. However, for other temperaments, I provide note names that are rounded to the nearest quarter-tone rather than semitone. Here is an example of the mapping I use for the degree and note names:

Note and Interval Names
Interval Pitches
based on C
Interval (Long) Comments
1 C Root  
a1 C+ Quarter-sharp Root  
m2 C# Minor 2nd  
n2 D- Neutral 2nd

“Neutral” is between a Major and a Minor.

2 D Major 2nd  
a2 D+ Quarter 2nd-3rd  
m3 D# Minor 3rd  
n3 E- Neutral 3rd  
3 E Major 3rd  
b4 E+ Quarter 3rd-4th Quarter-tone between Diatonic steps
4 F Perfect 4th  
a4 F+ Quarter-sharp 4th  
d5 F# Diminished 5th  
b5 G- Quarter-flat 5th  
5 G Perfect 5th  
a5 G+ Quarter-sharp 5th  
m6 Ab Minor 6th  
n6 A- Neutral 6th  
6 A Major 6th  
a6 A+ Quarter 6th-7th  
m7 Bb Minor 7th  
n7 B- Neutral 7th  
7 B Major 7th  
b8 B+ Quarter-flat Octave  
8 c Octave  


An Example Scale

Here is an example of an XML element that represents the tone sequence for a scale:

<Scale ID="Minor_Pentatonic_Scale_12TET" Order="371">
  <BriefName>Minor Pentatonic</BriefName>
  <FullName>Minor Pentatonic Scale in 12-Tone Equal Temperament</FullName>
    <IntervalsLong>Root, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, Octave</IntervalsLong>
    <Mixed>C D# F G Bb c</Mixed>
    <Sharps>C D# F G A# c</Sharps>
    <Flats>C Eb F G Bb c</Flats>
  <Mode Degree="2" Index="1">Major_Pentatonic_Scale_12TET</Mode>
  <Mode Degree="3" Index="1">Neutral_Pentatonic_Scale_12TET</Mode>
  <Mode Degree="4" Index="1">Asian_Pentatonic_Scale_12TET</Mode>
  <Mode Degree="5" Index="1">Celtic_Pentatonic_Scale_12TET</Mode>
  <ScalaNames>Minor Pentatonic, Blues Pentatonic, Raga Dhani (Suddha Dhanyasi), Abheri,
      Udhayaravi Chandrika, Qing Shang, Gu Xian, Jia Zhong, Yu: China, P&apos;yongjo-kyemyonjo: Korea,
      Minyo: Japan, Lai Yai, Lai Noi: Laos, Nam, Northern Sa mac: Vietnam, Peruvian Pentatonic 2,
      Batti Minor: Ethiopia</ScalaNames>
  <ChordHouseNames>Pentatonic Minor</ChordHouseNames>
      <Title>Pentatonic scale ⇒ Hemitonic and anhemitonic</Title>
      <Title>Anhemitonic scale</Title>
      <Title>Pentatonic scale ⇒ Minor pentatonic scale</Title>
  <PianoEncyclopediaNames>Aeolian Pentatonic [Greek]; Gu Xian; Jia Zhong; Minor Pentatonic;
      Pentatonic Minor; Peruvian Pentatonic 2; P&apos;yongjo-kyemyonjo; Qing Shang; Raga Abheri;
      Raga Dhani (Suddha Dhanyasi); Raga Suddha Dhanyasi (Dhani); Raga Udhayaravi Chandrika;
      Relative Minor Pentatonic; Tcherepnin Major Pentatonic Mode V; Yu 2</PianoEncyclopediaNames>
  <ScaleOmnibusNames>Bati [Ethiopia]; Blues Minor Pentatonic; Gu Xian; Jia Zhong; Lai Noi;
      Lai Yai; Minor Pentatonic; P’yongjo-kyemyonjo; Peruvian Minor Pentatonic; Qing Shang;
      Raga Abheri; Raga Dhaanyasi ascending; Raga Dhani; Raga Udhayaravi; Yu 2</ScaleOmnibusNames>

XML Elements for Scales

Scale Attributes

ID. The ID attribute provides a unique key for the scale. It contains information such as the type of the entry (typically "_Scale") since this database is really a table of tone sequences that could be used for Chords, Intervals, Anjas, Maqams, etc. It also necessarily includes the Temperament for the scale.

Order. A sequential ordering of scales that makes sense to me. The ordering is roughly (but not strictly) based on the number of tones in the scale. Within each set of scales with the same nuber of tones, the scales using 12-TET temperament precede all other temperaments. Note that these Order numbers are contiguous and will change with subsequent versions of this database.

Scale Elements

BriefName. The name I have chosen for the scale. This name is somewhat arbitrary. It is often based on sources that I have found, but I have made modifications to keep the names unique and to prefer terms that are in common use in the Native American flute community.

TemperamentID. The ID of the <Temperament> element for this scale. This is also encoded at the tail end of the ID for this scale.

FullName. A more fully-qualified name identifying this tone sequence as a scale (versus an interval, chord, or jins) and specifying the name of the temperament.

NameSource. Where I got the name for the scale.

ToneCount. The number of tones (pitches) in the scale.

For Repeating tone sequences (most scales), this includes the root tone and all tones up to, but not including, the repetition point. For most scales, the repetition point is the octave, but it is the tritave for Bohlen-Pierce scales.

For Non-Repeating tone sequences (intervals, chords, ajnas, and a few scales), this is the total number of tones in the sequence.

ScaleSteps. A sequence of steps separated by dashes. For example: 3-2-2-3-2. Each step indicates an interval between two degrees of the scale by giving number of steps in the underlying Temperament.

For Repeating tone sequences, the sequences will bring the final degree of the scale to the repetition point for that Temperament. The ToneCount will always equal the number of steps in the ScaleSteps sequence, because the final degree indicated by ScaleSteps is the repitition point and is not included in the ToneCount for Repeating tone sequences.

For Non-Repeating tone sequences, ToneCount will always be one greater than the number of steps in the ScaleSteps sequence, because the ToneCount includes both the first and last degree of the scale.

Degrees. The degrees of the tone sequence, in various formats. The CentsInt format lists the Equal Temperament cents from the root, rounded to the nearest cent. If you need more accuracy, you can access the element for the temperament, which provides the degrees of the temperament in cents rounded to 3 decimal places.

PitchesC. Various versions of notes for the sequence beginning with C. All versious are enharmonically equivalent.

Periodicity. OctRep = Octave-Repeating. NonOctRep = Non-Octave Repeating. NonRep = Non-Repeating.


PitchClass. The selected degrees from the underlying temperament, given in set notation and integers in base 2, 10, and 16. The Decimal version provides the primary calculation, which are then converted to Binary and Hexidecimal. In cases where the decimal value exceeds 252, the calculation exceeded the internal limits for calculation and the value “#LIMIT#” is substituted.


ModeN. The name of a scale which matches the current scale if the scale steps are rotated left N times.

ScalaNames. The name(s) of this scale in Scala.

WikiPages. The names and URLs of any related pages on Wikipedia.



Notes. Free-form text with any notes I might have on this scale entry.

DateAdded. The date that the scale was originally added (if I remembered to set this field).

XML Elements for Other Tone Sequences

Quality. For Chords, this data is taken from the Wikipedia List of Chords page.

An Example Temperament

Here is an example of an XML element for a temperament:

<Temperament ID="BushEland4" Order="7">
  <BriefName>4-Tone Eland (Bushmen)</BriefName>
  <FullName>4-Tone Eland (Bushmen) Temperament</FullName>
  <PrimarySource>[England 1967] Nicholas M. England. “Bushman Counterpoint”, Journal of the
      International Folk Music Council, Volume 19, published by the International Council for Traditional Music,
      1967, pages 58–66, doi:10.2307/942188. Publication 942188 on JSTOR (see page 64).
      Also: Scala&apos;s bushmen.scl, dated August 1, 2000: &quot;Observed scale of South-African bushmen,
      almost (4 notes) equal pentatonic&quot;.</PrimarySource>
  <Notes>From Scala&apos;s bushmen.scl: &quot;Observed scale of South-African bushmen, almost (4 notes)
      equal pentatonic.&quot; 5TET is [0, 240, 480, 720, 960, 1200] and this varies by no more than 10 cents.
      Note also that 954 is somewhat close to 7/4 (969) and 26/15 (952).
      This scale is exactly as described in Example 8 of [England 1967].</Notes>

XML Elements for Temperaments

Group. A grouping of Temperaments invented by Clint, for convenience.

Degrees. The degrees of the tone sequence, in two formats: rounded to the nearest cent and rounded to 3 decimal places.


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To cite this page on Wikipedia: <ref name="Goss_2019_scale_catalog_txt"> {{cite web |last=Goss |first=Clint |title=The Comprehensive Scale Catalog - XML Version |url=http://www.Flutopedia.com/scale_catalog_txt.htm |date=18 February 2019 |website=Flutopedia |access-date=<YOUR RETRIEVAL DATE> }}</ref>