Byzantine Scale Guitar

Byzantine Scale For Guitar – Scale Patterns & Tab. Learn this amazing exotic-sounding scale today!

The Byzantine scale is the same as the Gypsy scale and the double harmonic scale. It is also related to the Phrygian dominant scale.

A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that the Byzantine Empire was ‘was the continuation of the Roman Empire in the East during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as Byzantium).’ It existed from 330 to 1453 AD.

So there you have it, a history lesson as well as a guitar lesson! This scale’s eastern roots are immediately apparent the moment you start playing with it. It sounds even more exotic than the similar Phrygian dominant scale.

Try this scale over: a major chord with the same root; a power chord / 5th chord with the same root; a minor chord or progression with a root a perfect fourth higher (e.g. use an A Byzantine scale over a Dm chord or progression; or an ‘eastern’-sounding ostinato / riff / unchanging drone accompaniment.

The scale spelling for a Byzantine scale is: 1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, 7.

Byzantine Scale TAB & Scale Diagrams

Byzantine Scale TAB

Byzantine Scale TAB

Byzantine Scale Diagram 1

Byzantine Scale Diagram 1

Byzantine Scale Diagram 2

Byzantine Scale Diagram 2

Byzantine Scale Diagram 3

Byzantine Scale Diagram 3

Byzantine Scale Diagram 4

Byzantine Scale Diagram 4

Byzantine Scale Diagram 5

Byzantine Scale Diagram 5

The Byzantine scale doesn’t exactly fall under the fingers, so take a bit of time practicing it and finding a way of playing it that works for you.

Because it contains the major seventh, rather than the minor seventh of the Phrygian dominant scale, the Byzantine scale sounds even more exotic than the Phrygian dominant.

It’s a great scale to use in order to spice up a standard rock guitar solo, and will really make your audience’s ears prick up!

Learn More Scales!

You’ll find hundreds more guitar scales in Guitar Command’s comprehensive scale reference section.

If you want to become a fretboard wizard, download our printable Guitar Scales book to have all the patterns at your fingertips!

2 thoughts on “Byzantine Scale For Guitar – Scale Patterns & Tab. Learn this amazing exotic-sounding scale today!

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Brian,

      Good question. The Byzantine scale has a major tonality and would therefore sound better over a major chord (or a 5 chord which has neither a major nor a minor tonality) with the same root as the scale.
      (e.g. play it with a root note of A over either an A major or A5 chord).

      It’s very similar to the 5th mode of a harmonic minor scale, so see how it sounds played against a minor chord with a root a perfect fourth above (or perfect 5th below) the root note of the scale.
      (e.g. play it in A over a Dm chord, or a Dm chord progression)

      (I’ve now added this to the text of the page.)

      The thing is with this kind of scale is that it’s not derived from western music and contains notes that may sound awkward over standard major or minor chord progressions (although it may sound awesome in some situations – let your ears be the judge!). The Byzantine scale sounds great while jamming over a bass ‘drone’ or an unchanging riff or chord.
      I hope this helps – it’s really just a case of learning how the scale sounds and trying it out over different chords / progressions.

      Reply

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