Using the Phrygian Scale with Tech House

Using the Phrygian Scale with Tech House



Have you ever noticed the distinct sound that sets tech house music apart? The secret lies in a simple yet powerful musical trick: the use of the E Phrygian scale. This scale, starting from E and playing all the white notes up, centers around E as if it were a normal E minor scale. However, the sharp F in E minor is flattened, creating a unique sound that's both exciting and distinct.

This scale has been extensively used in techno for its darker, tougher edge. It's a simple concept: these are the same notes as the C major scale, but starting from E instead. This small change has a profound effect on the tone and feel of the music.

In practical application, for instance in Ableton with F9 TRAX Mambo, the main bass line bounces around the root of E, emphasizing this note. The crucial part is the use of the flattened F note, which completely changes the mood. By only using the white notes but starting from E, you can create a sound that's moody yet melodic, perfect for club music.

This method is not only effective but also straightforward. You can apply this trick in other keys too, by simply flattening the second note of the scale. The rest of the notes are identical to the standard minor scale, allowing for seamless transitions between the two.

The E Phrygian scale resonates well with our ears, especially in clubs, and is great for producing deep, impactful bass notes. This scale, with its dark harmonic structure, works perfectly for creating one-note grooves and intricate melodies.

So next time you're producing tech house or techno, try the E Phrygian scale and explore the vast creative possibilities it offers!


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