Japanese Scale: Theory & Ear Training


Enjoy this utterly simple, but deliciously distinctive scale from the Land of the Rising Sun…


Here, for example, are the notes in the C Japanese Scale identified by letter name, scale degree (numbers), and Solfege syllable…

  1. The scale structure of the Japanese Scale is always 1-b2-4-5-b6-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Japanese Scale are always Do-Ra-Fa-So-Le-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

Notice that the Japanese Scale is a subset of the Middle Eastern Scale

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Notice the dramatic effect of removing two notes: Mi and Ti, creating a dreamy quality that is instantly recognized as Japanese!

The Japanese Scale in Action

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Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is a very effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in a musical scale. And do it slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Japanese Scale: Linear, Ascending…


C Japanese Scale: Linear, Descending…


C Japanese Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…


C Japanese Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…


learn more… Ways to Know a Scale: Introduction