The Enigmatic Scale: Using Music Theory To Cheat

This time I'll say it at the beginning of the article: if you have requests on something you want me to cover, just write it in the comments (here or on YouTube). Why I'm saying this at the beginning?

Because this video has been done as an answer to requests made by you. In fact I got so many people asking me to do a video on the Enigmatic scale that I could not avoid doing it. When you guys want something you can be really convincing.

The Enigmatic scale is different than most of the other scales we use in music because it has been written precisely to be hard to use. It's a dare, a challenge, not a scale like the others. And different musicians have approached it in different ways (examples in the video).

Goes without saying that this is not a scale that sounds "good" if you just play it up and down. Even if I'm sure that some extreme metal player will be turned on by its angular sound.

But can we make it sound good? Of course we can! And fair warning, what we are doing in this video is to take music theory and use it to shamelessly cheat... and make the Enigmatic scale sound good. So good that you could use it in a Blues or Jazz situation and none would be the wiser.

("What did you play on that chord?" "The Enigmatic scale" "The WHAT?")

So watch this and see if the Enigmatic scale can work for you and your music:

Of course the Enigmatic scale is not the only exotic scale out there. And some exotic scales are more user-friendly in that they sound good immediately and without much trickery.

Probably the most famous of all these scales is the Byzantine scale, used in the song Miserlou (that surf rock piece you hear in Pulp Fiction). It's a great sound and you can learn it in few minutes... and if you add tremolo picking you can play Miserlou practically instantly:

Have fun with these scales!

Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio