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EVIL sounding scales (mwahahahah)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Guz2, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Guz2


    Apr 18, 2009
    Does anyone know of any scales that sound evil, or at least a bit sinister?
  2. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    1 2-3 4 5-6 7 8 :p
  3. Octoplus


    Aug 17, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    I find the whole tone scale to be fairly disturbing, like finding a dead chicken nailed to the front door.
  4. Barfy


    Jan 12, 2010
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I found these on Musicopedia. (Don't know how good of a resource it is, but I've been using it quite a lot lately. At any rate, caveat emptor.)

    Enigmatic: R b2 3 d4 b6 b7 7 8

    Enigmatic Minor: R b2 b3 d4 5 b7 7 8

    Auxiliary Diminished: R 2 b3 4 d4 b6 6 7 8

    Also, Phrygian is used in a lot of metal, usually doomy proggy stuff like Opeth. The most famous example I can think of is Iron Maiden's Powerslave (the title track, not the whole album).
  5. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    Theory noob question; what do the b and d mean. I got that R = root and that [number] = what ever number note relevant to the root. Does the b/d = flat/sharp?
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    b= flat
    d= diminished

    they mean the same thing (lowered a half-step)

    but for scale degrees 4 and 5 we often say "diminished" rather than "flat".... for reasons beyond the scope of this post.
  7. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    diminished doesent neccesarily mean lowered by a half step.. for perfect intervals (1 4 5 8) diminished means lowered a half step.. (a half step less than perfect, that is.) everything else, diminished means a half step smaller of an interval than minor. so for example Ab to C is a major third. lower the C by a halfstep to Cb. now its a minor third. lower it again to Cbb, and now its a diminished third.

    and a b (flat) sign does not neccesarily mean lowered by a half step either :eek:. if you're in the key of E major, and theres a Gb, thats not a half step lower- its a whole step (because in E major G is sharp.) so b really means a half step lower than natural...

    /end of technicality rant.
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Correct, there are situations where "flat"and "diminished" can technically mean lowered by more than a half-step.

    In the context above (writing scales as numbered degrees and indicating which ones are altered from the major scale) this usually would not be the case.

    I wonder, when has anybody ever actually encountered something explicitly identified as a diminished 3rd?
  9. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    yes. its very common.

    for example, if your in G major, and you play G - Bbb, thats a diminished third.. its an enharmonic equivilant of a major second (G - A) but its not the same thing, for various reasons.

    im sure in a rock groups rehearsal space, its not a common thing to hear. its there, your just not talking (or thinking) about it like that. but if you were to take a college-level music theory class, you would encounter examples of diminished 3rds, 6ths, 2nds, ext ext, all the time.
  10. Phrygian & Locrian are good places to start. The flat 5th and flat 2nd are scary sounding intervals.
    MatronMother likes this.
  11. you wouldnt write Bbb on a score unless you where in a key like Cb major but even then you would try to naturalize the C purely for reading purposes. and hoow often do you see Cb major in pop pieces?
  12. Harmonic Minor, particularly the 5th and 7th modes.

    Also, try taking the 5th mode from the harmonic minor scale (lydian b9 b13) and interchange it with a parallel phrygian as your base scale.

    The locrian mode is also always a safe bet for diatonic evil :)
  13. Funkturnal


    Nov 17, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Well, it's not a scale, but the diminished arpeggio can sound pretty dark and evil depending on the context.
  14. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    double flats and double sharps can occur in any key. and happen fairly often.

    but this is off topic,

    back to the evil-scale discussion.
  15. majortoby


    Jul 2, 2009
    Tampa, Fl USA
    I've always found a certain sinister quality to some Eastern/Turkish/Hungarian scales. Not necessarily when you just run up and down them, but mess around a bit, and there's some Ted Bundy in those scales.
  16. chimpbass


    Jan 16, 2008
    Denver, CO
    Try the octatonic scale. (alternating half and whole steps) It caused a riot in Paris once....
  17. Ten Four One

    Ten Four One

    Dec 5, 2006
    Anything that lacks the normal cues you have to tonality.

    The whole tone scale is one, and augmented chords (stacked major thirds) form a natural sort of pivot into whole tone scales.

    Diminished chords (stacked minor thirds) have a similar feel.

    Both mess with the location of the V, which is major (pardon the pun) key to tonality.

    Anything with a b2 gives a good sort of sinister feel (and a greek feel too, see Skotoseme).

    The Rite of Spring is one sinister piece of music, though I don't associate it with "mwahahaha" as much as with the ravages of war. It was composed in the years leading up to WWI and really captures the feeling of going off to war. IMHO anyway.

    Re: Diminished.

    Diminished <- Minor - Major -> Augmented
    Diminished <-    Perfect    -> Augmented
  18. BassBoss


    Jul 14, 2008
    It´s kind of useless to discuss scales without mentioning in what context you use them.

    Nevertheless, I would try out Melodic Minor, it has an interestig sound. Also practise half step/whole step and whole step/half step phrases. Sounds interesting and is used a lot in contemporary jazz.
  19. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    There's also free atonality and 12-tone.