The Byzantine scale is also known as Charhargah, Double Harmonic, Gypsy, and Arabian Major. It is most closely related to the 5th mode harmonic minor, differing in that it has a major 7th instead of a flat 7.

With it’s many names it’s obvious that the Byzantine scale has been popular in different parts of the world and in various phases of music history.

It’s easy to hear why. The melodies that result from this scale are fantastic. Try one out below!

The potentially Arabic sound is a result of wide gaps between the intervals.

Notice also that the 1st and 2nd tones are a half step a part as are the 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, and the 7 and the 1.

Use this scale over major chords to find it’s true Middle Eastern and Gypsy flavor.

You can also experiment with this scale over minor chords, but be careful with the major third.