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Diminished scale

In music, a diminished scale is a scale in which the notes of the scale ascend in alternating intervalss of a whole step and a half step. Because a scale constructed in such a way has eight tones (versus seven for conventional scales), it is sometimes called an eight-tone or octatonic scale (there are other possible eight-tone scales, but the diminished is by far the most common). The name diminished comes from the fact that the first, third, fifth, and seventh notes of a diminished scale for a key form the diminished chord for that key.

Because of the half-whole symmetry, there are only three distinct diminished scales, and a given diminished scale has only two modes (one beginning its ascent with a whole step between its first two notes, while the other begins its ascent with a half step or semitone).

Each of the three distinct scales can form differently-named scales with the same sequence of tones by starting at a different point in the scale. With alternate starting points listed in parentheses, the three are:

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The diminished scale may first have been used by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and was extensively used by his student Igor Stravinsky, particularly in his famous piece The Rite of Spring.