Tip #124 – Understanding the Dhenuka Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Dhenuka scale (meaning “dust”), the third scale from the second chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Both the first (SA) and fifth (PA) scale degrees are in a placement normal to most scales found in Western music. However, the second scale degree (RI) is lowered, creating a tendency to resolve downward. In addition, the seventh scale degree (NI) is raised to go back to the tonic as well.  While this may sound dissonant or exotic, this scale gives a great amount of opportunity to play with tension and chromatic passing tones.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!

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Tip #119 – Understanding the Hanumatodi Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Hanumatodi scale (meaning “break”), the second scale from the second chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Notice that this is also the Phrygian mode.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #118 – Building a Hybrid Scale

Just like a hybrid-powered car, your scales can come from being a combination of two or more different scales.

A simple way to construct a hybrid scale is to take one-half of one scale, and combine it with one-half of the other.

So, for example; you can take the first half of the Phrygian scale and mix it with the second half of the Mixolydian scale.

Another way of constructing a hybrid scale is to take a known scale an alter certain notes by raising or lowering them.

Don’t be surprised either if your “hybrid scale” turns out to be an actually scale!

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Tip #117 – Using the Arabic Scale

Besides the weekly discussions of scales from rāga music in South India, you can also use the “Arabic scale” to get an exotic tonality to your composition.

To construct an Arabic scale, basically lower the second and sixth scale degrees of a major scale:

From there, use the tendency tones of resolution within the scale to write a melody:

And there you go! An exotic foreign-sounding melody just from lowering two scale degrees.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #114 – Understanding the Senavati Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Senavati scale (meaning “maintenance”), the first scale from the second chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Both the first (SA) and fifth (PA) scale degrees are in a placement normal to most scales found in Western music. However, the second scale degree (RI) is lowered, creating a tendency to resolve downward. In addition, the seventh scale degree (NI) is lowered as well.  While this may sound dissonant or exotic, this scale gives a great amount of opportunity to play with tension and chromatic passing tones.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #110 – Understanding the Tanarupi Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Ratnangi (meaning “the one that embodies improvisation”) scale, the sixth scale from the first chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Both the first (SA) and fifth (PA) scale degrees are in a placement normal to most scales found in Western music. However, the other scale degrees are lowered as well as clustered in chromatic runs. In addition, the upper notes of the scale are clustered as well into a chromatic run, creating symmetry. While this may sound dissonant or exotic, this scale gives a great amount of opportunity to play with tension and chromatic passing tones.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #106 – Understanding the Manavati Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Manavati (meaning “bride”) scale, the fifth scale from the first chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Both the first (SA) and fifth (PA) scale degrees are in a placement normal to most scales found in Western music. However, the other scale degrees are lowered as well as clustered in chromatic runs. In addition, the sixth (DHA) and seventh (NI) scale degrees are raised. While this may sound dissonant or exotic, this scale gives a great amount of opportunity to play with tension and chromatic passing tones.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.