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  • rbedwell3

Phlegmatic minor and the Infra-Alt 7 mode


Yes, it does sound like science fiction. The Phlegmatic minor scale (1 b2 bb3 b4 b5 bb6 7), no. 21 in The Modal Method, is reached by the Neapolitan Major b5 scale. Its mode VI (Alt nat2 bb7 = 1 2 b3 b4 b5 b6 bb7) has its root raised to become Infra-Alt 7. Its formula is (1 b2 bb3 bb4 bb5 bb6 bbb7) and is the first mode to have a triple flat. That is why I gave it the name ‘Infra’ meaning below or less than. It is also the first mode in its family.

Now, what the hell do you need to know this for, its never used, right? Actually, it is. I have just come across it in a piece by Toru Takemitsu which I have analysed elsewhere. The great thing about such a weird sounding mode is its ony two steps away from the Harmonic minor scale:

A Harm. min (+1) = B Neap Maj b5 – G# Altnat2bb7 (+1) = G## Infra-Alt 7 = A# Phlegmatic min

So there you have it, try it, its A# B C D E F G##. Its an alien sound, that’s for sure.


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