Enigmatic scale

Recall that we defined scale as:
a group of notes within an octave (and any octaves of those notes) usually played one at a time.

We can describe (define) a scale in any of these ways:
- by letters (representing specific pitches)
- by numbers (representing specific intervals)
- by step pattern (describing intervals from note to note)

So for example the major scale (ionian mode) can be described/ defined as/by: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C (in the key of C), 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and W-W-1/2-W-W-W-1/2.

We define an augmented scale as a scale containing the notes (intervals) 1,3,#5.
(In other words, using the notes in the scale we can construct an augmented chord off the root note)

From either Enigmatic = 1/2-m3-W-W-W-1/2-1/2, or C-Enigmatic = C-Db-E-F#-G#-A#-B-C we can find the intervals (from the root note) to be 1,b2,3,#4,#5,#6,7.

Looking at the numbers, we can deduce that the enigmatic scale is an augmented scale. that is, it contains the notes 1,3,#5.

We also note that it is similar to third modes of the melodic minor scale. The third mode of the melodic minor scale (THE Lydian Augment scale) has the intervals 1,2,3,#4,#5,6,7; and the Enigmatic scale has the intervals 1,b2,3,#4,#5,#6,7. It is even closer to the leading whole tone scale which is the second mode of the Neapolitan major which I've not covered yet (Leading Whole Tone = 1,2,3,#4,#5,#6,7). So we could view the Enigmatic scale as a lydian augment scale with an augmented sixth and a flatted second, or as a leading tone scale with a minor second. I don't like to compare two scales in that way if more than one note is altered, so if i was going to use that approach, I would choose the leading whole tone over the lydian augment to compare it to. We can use this idea as a stepping stone to learning the scale. If you already know the Leading Tone scale, then you could play those patterns , replacing the 2 with the b2. This idea of thinking of one scale as being another scale with altered notes (e.g. ionianb7, lydianb7, etc.) or with missing notes (e.g. pentatonic major, etc.) occurs from time to time, and may give some perspective/context/comfort in learning new scales. So we could think of enigmatic as leading tone b2, etc. if we wanted to.

So lets look at some patterns (moveable shapes) with which we can play the enigmatic scale.

|-1|b2|--|--|-3|--|#4|--|#5|--|#6|-7|-1|
|--|#5|--|#6|-7|-1|b2|--|--|-3|--|#4|--|
|--|-3|--|#4|--|#5|--|#6|-7|-1|b2|--|--|
|#6|-7|-1|b2|--|--|-3|--|#4|--|#5|--|#6|
|--|#4|--|#5|--|#6|-7|-1|b2|--|--|-3|--|
|-1|b2|--|--|-3|--|#4|--|#5|--|#6|-7|-1|

Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|-7-|-1-|b2-|---|---|
|#4-|---|#5-|---|#6-|
|---|---|-3-|---|---|
|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|b2-|
|-3-|---|#4-|---|#5-|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|---|---|

Enigmatic scale "D-shape" (root note on the 4th string)

|---|---|---|-3-|---|#4-|
|---|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|b2-|
|---|---|#4-|---|#5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|---|---|---|
|#4-|---|#5-|---|#6-|---|
|b2-|---|---|-3-|---|---|

Enigmatic scale "C-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|-3-|---|#4-|---|#5-|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|---|---|
|---|#5-|---|#6-|---|
|---|---|-3-|---|#4-|
|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|b2-|
|---|---|#4-|---|#5-|

Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|#4-|---|#5-|---|---|
|b2-|---|---|-3-|---|
|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|---|
|-3-|---|#4-|---|#5-|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|---|---|
|#4-|---|#5-|---|---|

Enigmatic scale "G-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|b2-|
|---|---|#4-|---|#5-|
|-1-|b2-|---|---|-3-|
|---|#5-|---|#6-|-7-|
|---|---|-3-|---|#4-|
|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|b2-|

We recall, that we can derive chords by harmonizing scales. We've previously harmonized the major scale in thirds to get triads, and seventh chords (see August 19th's, and august 16th's lessons)

two adjacent strings:
Seperated by a P4

|---|---|---|#5-|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|
|-1-|b2-|---|---|-3-|---|#4-|---|

seperated by a M3

|---|---|---|---|#5-|---|#6-|-7-|-1-|
|-1-|b2-|---|---|-3-|---|#4-|---|---|

We found for the major scale (ionian mode) The following triads:
I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio
and for the minor scale (aeolian mode)
i-iio-bIII-iv-V-bVI-bVII

We can create "enigmatic" progressions. Doing so will give us a framework to analyze songs, and find good opportunities to employ the enigmatic scale. it's also good practice for songwriting, etc.

We see above the following chords for enigmatic:
in triads: I+-bIIsus4(6)-III-#IVb5-#v(4)-#viosus2-VIIsus2
in 7th chords: Imaj7+5-bIImaj7sus4(6)-III6-#IV7b5-#v7(4)-#vi7b5sus2-VIImaj7sus2
in 9th chords: Imaj7b9#5-bIImaj7#9sus4(6)-III6/9-#IV9b5-#v9(4)-#vi7b9b5sus2-VIImaj7b9sus2
in 11th chords: Imaj7#11b9#5-bIImaj13#9(no3)-III6/9#11-#IV11b5-#v9b11(4)-#vi9b5addb9-VIImaj11b9sus2
in 13th chords: Imaj7#13#11b9#5-bIImaj13#9add#13(no3)-III6/9#11b13-#IV11add#11-#v9b13b11(4)-#vi9b13b5addb9-VIImaj13b9sus2

So we could take any of the chords in the above paragraph and create an enigmatic progression out of it. We really should include some type of I chord (I+, Imaj7#5, Imaj7#5sus#4, Imaj9#5, etc.) and it should be the predominant chord in our progression, with a feeling of resolution when we come back to it.

Take a minute to compare and contrast the chords from the enigmatic, and Leading whole tone scales.
Enigmatic = I+-bIIsus4(6)-III-#IVb5-#v(4)-#viosus2-VIIsus2
Leading Whole Tone = I+-II+-III-#IVb5-#vo-#viosus2-vii

They share the following chords (triads) in common: I+,III,#IVb5,#viosus2.
Creating a progression using only these chords would be slightly ambiguous, and could be interpreted as either enigmatic or leading whole tone. In fact, such a progression would be a good one to record (or have a friend play) and solo over to uderstand the subtle differences between enigmatic and leading whole tone (try switching from I-enigmatic to I-LeadingWholeTone and back, etc. over such a progression and see what different moods are created).

If on the other hand, you want to create a progression that has a more enigmatic character, you should include at least one of the other 3 chords (bIIsus4(6),#v(4),VIIsus2) not found in leading whole Tone.

Where/when does one usually decide to use enigmatic?
- some would use it over the I+, or Imaj7#5 chord in the minor scale/key context (play I-enigmatic over Imaj7#5), or over I+ chord
- over several chords that fit within an enigmatic context (see above chords for enigmatic). ex. over Amaj7#5-G#sus2-Fm(4) (Imaj7#5-VIIsus2-#v(4)) you could play A-enigmatic.
- over a related modal progression, use the relative enigmatic scale.

Due to the slightly chromatic nature of the scale, we could employ other harmonization schemes to some advantage. For example, looking at chords built off the 1-chord (I+, Imaj7+%, etc.) we have the possibilities of b7(#6),and 7. So we can create chords like I7+5, Imaj7b5, Imaj7#5,I7b5 etc.

We can increase our familiarity by singing every note as we practice our scales/soloing. In previous lessons on scales i've given some basic pointers on starting to solo. Those things transfer here too. Just replace the scale in question with the enigmatic scale (see lessons from May 24th, june 7th, july 5th, and august 2nd). We take a brief look at the modes of the Enigmatic scale. If you're not sure what modes are how to find them, how to use them, etc. Go back to the lessons on modes and come back to this part of the lesson when you've fully understood those concepts. For those who are up to speed, the following is a brief summary of the modes of the Enigmatic scale, and an opportunity to put you're knowledge of scales and modes to the test. Homework at bottom, but also take one of these scales and go through the "create your own scale lesson" excercise.

Modes of the enigmatic scale

Enigmatic = 1/2-m3-W-W-W-1/2-1/2 = 1,b2,3,#4,#5,#6,7
= m3-W-W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2 = 1,b3,4,5,6,b7,7
= W-W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3 = 1,2,3,#4,5,b6,6
= W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W = 1,2,3,4,b5,5,b7
= W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W-W = 1,2,b3,3,4,b6,b7
= 1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W-W-W = 1,b2,2,b3,b5,b6,b7
= 1/2-1/2-m3-W-W-W-1/2 = 1,b2,2,4,5,6,7

2nd mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern m3-W-W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2
and the intervals 1,b3,4,5,6,b7,7.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
Isus4(6)-bIII-IVb5-v(4)-viosus2-bVIIsus2-VII+

The second mode is a suspended scale or a minor scale.

2nd mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|
|---|b3-|---|-4-|---|
|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|

2nd mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|
|---|---|b3-|---|-4-|
|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|

3rd mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern W-W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3
and the intervals 1,2,3,#4,5,b6,6.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
I-IIb5-iii(4)-#ivosus2-Vsus2-bVI+-VIsus4(6)

3rd mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|
|#4-|-5-|b6-|-6-|---|
|-2-|---|-3-|---|---|
|-6-|---|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|---|#4-|-5-|b6-|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|

3rd mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|#4-|-5-|b6-|-6-|---|
|---|-2-|---|-3-|---|
|-6-|---|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|---|#4-|-5-|b6-|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|
|#4-|-5-|b6-|-6-|---|

4th mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern W-W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W
and the intervals 1,2,3,4,b5,5,b7.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
Ib5-ii(4)-iiiosus2-IVsus2-bV+-Vsus4(6)-bVII

4th mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|
|b5-|-5-|---|---|b7-|
|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|
|---|b7-|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|---|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|

4th mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|b5-|-5-|---|---|b7-|
|---|-2-|---|-3-|-4-|
|---|b7-|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|---|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|---|
|b5-|-5-|---|---|b7-|

5th mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern W-1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W-W
and the intervals 1,2,b3,3,4,b6,b7.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
i(4)-iiosus2-bIIIsus2-III+-IVsus4(6)-bVI-bVIIb5

5th mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|---|-1-|---|-2-|b3-|
|---|---|b6-|---|b7-|
|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|---|
|---|b7-|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|-4-|---|---|b6-|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|b3-|

5th mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|---|---|b6-|---|b7-|
|---|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|
|---|b7-|---|-1-|---|
|-3-|-4-|---|---|---|
|---|-1-|---|-2-|b3-|
|---|---|b6-|---|b7-|

6th mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern 1/2-1/2-1/2-m3-W-W-W
and the intervals 1,b3,4,5,6,b7,7.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
iosus2-bIIIsus2-IV+-Vsus4(6)-VI-bVIIb5-vii(4)

6th mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|
|---|b3-|---|-4-|---|
|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|

6th mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|
|---|-2-|b3-|---|-4-|
|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|---|---|b3-|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|b7-|

7th mode of Enigmatic scale
has the step pattern 1/2-1/2-m3-W-W-W-1/2
and the intervals 1,b2,2,4,5,6,7.
can be harmonized to give the following triads:
iosus2-bIIIsus2-IV+-Vsus4(6)-VI-bVIIb5-vii(4)-iosus2

7th mode of the Enigmatic scale "E-shape" (root note on the 6th string)

|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
|-2-|---|---|-4-|---|
|-6-|---|-7-|-1-|b2-|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|---|

7th mode of the Enigmatic scale "A-shape" (root note on the 5th string)

|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|
|b2-|-2-|---|---|-4-|
|-6-|---|-7-|-1-|---|
|---|-4-|---|-5-|---|
|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|---|
|---|-5-|---|-6-|---|

Next weeks lesson is on the Neapolitan scale.

Peace,
Christopher Roberts
snglstringtheory@aol.com

How do I change all those numbers to letters (for notes, chords, etc.)? Here's a transposition chart simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/guitar/8theory3.html

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Last updated January 15, 2004
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