The Surf Rock Exotic Scale: The Byzantine Scale

Tommaso Zillio

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Byzantine scale guitar

Do you think that exotic scales can be used only in 'strange-sounding' music and that is really hard to write melodies with them?

Well, the scale we see today have been used in the song "Miserlou". The famous surf rock version by Dick Dale has been featured in the movie Pulp Fiction

(if you don't know the song, I play it at the beginning of the video)

The scale used is called the "Byzantine scale", it's very easy to use and fun to play! You are going to love its spicy and versatile sound that can be used in nearly any style of music.

Also it's so easy that whether you know your scales very well or not at all, you will pick up this one in just a few minutes:

Now, the more perceptive among you may have already noticed that this scale is the 5th mode of another exotic scale, the Hungarian Minor scale. While they are related (and on same level they sound similar) they are actually two distinct scales and create different sounds when you use them.

So here's a brief primer on the Hungarian Minor too:

Oh, and when I mentioned that "one scale was the 5th mode of another scale" did you know what I meant? Or you were completely lost?

Among guitar players the theory of Modes seems to be like a badge that only the masters can show off, as if it was something super-hard and esoteric...

... Well, it turns out that when you study the right things in the right order, modes are actually kind of easy. Would you like to learn them the right way and make a lot of music in the meantime? If yes, then check out the Master of the Modes course. I could say much more about it, but I'd rather have you guys make up your own mind about it!


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