Flamenco Music Harmonies

The gypsy scale has a half step increased 4th and 7th tone in its natural minor scale

The three modes, used in flamenco guitar music, are the Ionian mode (the major scale), the Aolean mode (the natural Minor scale) and the Phrygian mode. The Phrygian mode has the most characteristic Flamenco sound and forms the basis of the Gypsy toques such as Solea, Bulerias, Seguiriya …The Phrygian mode as such is not often used in flamenco cantes. As is common and popular in classical guitar music, we are fond of using the musical tonalities of harmonic minor scales by raising the seventh tone of its corresponding natural minor scale.

Flamenco gypsy scale

The natural minor scale is the same as the 6th (or Aeolian) mode of the major scale. When looking at scale degrees, this transforms the Phrygian mode of flamenco guitar music into a “majorized or dominant” Phrygian mode, raising the third of the scale by a half-step. In addition to classical guitar music, the actual Gypsy scale is formed by also raising the 4th tone of its harmonic minor scale by a half-step. This means, the most typical Gypsy scale of flamenco guitar music has a half step increased 4th and 7th tone to its natural minor scale. For example the E Gypsy scale (C family) is found by starting at the 6th degree (natural minor scale), being A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A with a raised 4th and 7th step becoming A-B-C-D#-E-F-G#-A, starting on the E, being E-F-G#-A-B-C-D#-E.

More info or to buy the rotating music theory disk

The Musical Abacus integrates the main concepts in Music Theory, relating them in a logical and ordered The Musical Abacusway. For beginners, simple to use, for those without prior knowledge to reading music. It consists of two rotating discs, one being card and the other plastic. Both discs are 12-sided polygons (or dodecagons). This is due to the fact that there are 12 different musical notes and, therefore, 12 major keys, 12 minor keys, 12 major chords, 12 minor chords, etc.

 In each of its 12 possible positions we obtain:

  • A Major key and its relative minor.
  • The corresponding Major scale and its relative minor.
  • The Intervals from the tonic of the major scale.
  • The 3 Main Chords in both keys and their Arpeggios.
  • The Harmonics produced by the tonic of the major key.
  • The corresponding Key Signature for both keys.