Flutopedia - an Encyclopedia for the Native American Flute

Sign up for our Flute Newsletter


Previous PageUp a levelNext Page

The Comprehensive Scale Catalog - Text/Unicode Version

The Comprehensive Scale Catalog is an extensive set of scales that can serve to inspire melodies in your flute playing. Many players use them to “get out of a rut” and expand their music.

The catalog is meant to be a tool for exploration of scales from world music traditions. Most players of Native American flutes use a very small number of alternate scales, so please do not feel compelled to try to learn the full set of scales in the catalog.

This page contains the Text / Unicode version of the scale catalog, which provides all the scales in a single text file. See the main Comprehensive Scale Catalog page for documentation and details.

Text Version of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog

The Unicode text version of the Comprehensive Scale Catalog provides much of the information available on the Web-based version, in a single (large) text file. If you are downloading and saving the text version for future use, you should probably also save this page of documentation.

Each separate scale is listed with a primary key beginning in the first column, followed by lines that begin with a space, each providing a named attribute and value pair for that scale. The characters of all primary keys and attribute names are limited to the ASCII subset of Unicode, but the values of attributes may contain Unicode characters encoded in UTF-8.

The scales in the file appear in alphabetical order based on their primary key, and the attributes within each scale appear in alphabetical order based on the name of the attribute. See the Order attribute below for a more sensible order for the scales.

Here is an example of the record for a scale:

 Name: Safi al-Din's Maqam Rahawi
 NameSource: Scala
 Order: 851
 Pitches: C D E F G Ab Bb c
 PitchesFlat: C D E F G Ab Bb c
 PitchesSharp: C D E F G G# A# c
 ScalaNames: Safi al-Din's maqam Rahawi
 ScaleDegreeIntervals: 1-2-3-4-5-m6-m7-8
 ScaleDegreeIntervalsText: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 6th, Minor 7th, Octave
 ScaleDegreesInCents: 0-180-384-498-678-792-996-1200
 ScaleStepsPerOctave: 2-3-2-2-2-3-3
 TemperamentDegrees: 0-90-180-204-294-384-408-498-588-678-702-792-882-906-996-1086-1177-1200
 TemperamentID: AP17
 TemperamentName: 17-Tone Arabic Pythagorean
 TemperamentTones: 17
Next Scale…

Record Key. The first line of each scale record is a unique key for that scale. It is composed of the name combined with the temperament used by that scale, but modified so that it only contains the characters A–Z, a–z, 0–9, “-”, “+”, and “_”. Spaces in the name of the scale are converted to "_". This allows the key to be used as an HTML anchor in all browsers that I have tested.

Name. 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.

NameSource. Where I got the name for the scale.

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

Order. A sequential ordering of scales that (probably) makes more sense than the alphabetical ordering of the records in the file. 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 not contiguous — there are gaps in the sequence!

Pitches. The sequence of pitches in the scale beginning from C. Sharps and flats are listed, for example, as C♯ and D♭. In the case of alternate temperaments, the nearest quarter-tone is shown. Quarter-sharps and quarter-flats are listed, for example, as C+ and C. This first set of pitches uses sharps for C♯, D♯, and F♯, and flats for A♭ and B♭.

PitchesFlat. The pitches beginning from C, with all sharps enharmonically converted to their equivalent flats.

PitchesSharp. The pitches beginning from C, with all flats enharmonically converted to their equivalent sharps.

Chords. The names of any chords that correspond to this scale.

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

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

TemperamentName, ID, Tones, and Degrees. For scales entries that use temperaments other than 12-TET, the name, identifier, number of tones, and degrees (in cents) of the temperament, per octave.

Wiki*. The names and URLs of any related pages on Wikipedia.

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

Other scale attributes should be reasonably self-evident.

Previous PageUp a levelNext Page


To cite this page on Wikipedia: <ref name="Goss_2017_scale_catalog_txt"> {{cite web |last=Goss |first=Clint |title=The Comprehensive Scale Catalog - Text/Unicode Version |url=http://www.Flutopedia.com/scale_catalog_txt.htm |date=3 February 2017 |website=Flutopedia |access-date=<YOUR RETRIEVAL DATE> }}</ref>