top of page
  • rbedwell3

Combining Three Eastern Scales: Persian, Oriental and Hindu

Firstly, the above is not true. The Hindu and Oriental are modes, not scales. Hindu is mode V of the Melodic scale and Oriental is mode II of the Hungarian minor scale. This is an important fact to remember, and if you have my book, The Modal Method, in it is laid out clearly exactly what constitutes a scale and therefore which are the modes contained within it.

Now, let’s say we are playing in C Major, and wish to use the three scales of Persian (1 b2 3 4 b5 b6 7), Hindu (Melodic mode V: 1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7) and Oriental (Hungarian minor mode II: 1 b2 3 4 b5 6 b7). Firstly, the relationship between the scales needs to be understood to discover the root notes of each scale when relating back to the key of the music, in this case C Major.

The Melodic scale is used to modulate to the second degree of the Major scale, in this case D minor, so we have D Melodic. The mode on V is Hindu (Mixolydian b6) and its root is on A, so when the Hindu mode is played the root should be A. This is written as follows: D Melodic/A = A Hindu

The next eastern sounding scale/mode is Hungarian minor mode II, Oriental. The root of the Hungarian minor is on the relative minor degree, in this case on A. So we have A Hungarian minor, and mode II Oriental is therefore on B. This is written as: A Hungarian minor/B = B Oriental

Finally we have the Persian scale. This is played on the root note of B also. So all three are now B Persian, B Oriental and E Hindu. Now a great modal sequence could be:

C Major – B Persian – A Hungarian minor/B – A Melodic/E – A minor

You can see here that a simple bass line of C – B – E – A gives a V- V-i progression to the relative minor while allowing the three eastern scales to make their mark with their unique modal fingerprint. It also creates wonderfully evocative sounding music.

For more on modes see my book at

1 view0 comments


bottom of page