Scales of the World
The fifth mode harmonic minor is a major scale. It differs from the Major Scale in that the second, sixth and seventh has flattened.
Despite it’s classification as a major scale the Ahava Raba, as it is known within the Jewish musical tradition has a minor seventh and a dark, rich ethnic sound.
Ahava Raba means “Great Love”. I have also seen this scale called Phrygian Dominant, Spanish, Major Phrygian, Phyrgian Natural 3rd. It’s most famous manifestation must certainly be the traditional Jewish song “Hava Nagila.”
This scale is widely used in Arab, and Spanish Music as well.
It is easy to see why this scale is so popular in many different cultures. The Ahava Raba is a beautiful and exotic sounding scale and is among my many favorites.
You can think of it as a Harmonic Minor scale stood on it’s head. The step and a half gap that we find at the top of the Harmonic Minor, we find instead in the beginning notes of the Ahava Raba.