A Few of My Favorite Scales and Tunes

     Favorite scales for improvising . . .

These scales can be played in flutes of any key.  To me what matters, more than the tonic key, is the mode or scale, as each represents a particular "rhythm" or sequence of notes regardless of the key.  The following notes all represent covered (or half-covered) holes when playing; shading here only indicates relative importance to the scale.

>   indicates the tonic or basis of resolution for each modal scale.

  indicates a note of secondary importance in the scale (for example the notes of a chord following the root: typically 3 - 5 - 7).

  indicates a note integral to the scale but not part of the basic chord.

  indicates an optional note to vary or add embellishment to the scale (or to fill out the pentatonic to a more complete scale).

mode
1
 
2
 
3
4
 
5
6
*
I: Hindu 1
>
II: Min. Pent. / Blues / various
>
III: In Sen / Sp. Phrygian
>
IV: Amrithavarshini / Lydian
>
V: Maj. Pent. -7 / Dominant
>
VI: Minor Pent. / Nat. Minor
>

     A Few of My Favorite Tunes (chiefly Irish)

These can be played (easily, if not authentically!) in any key.  The list below is based on a D flute or pennywhistle.  To play "The Rising of the Moon" on a C whistle, you could use the exact same fingering and the resulting tune would be in C Major.

For sheet music for most of these tunes, see Geraldine Cotter's fine collection, the Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor.

D Major - The Rising of the Moon (Dawning of the Day), Shores of Lough Gowna

D Dominant - Do You Want Any More?

E Minor - Rondo Alla Turca (Mozart), Le Tambourin (Rameau), Donna Donna, Heyden's Fancy #2

E Dorian - The Kerry Reel, The Morning Star, Road to Lisdoonvarna, Molloy's Favorite

G Major - Off to California, Bouree, Ryan's Favorite

A Dominant - The Wren's Hornpipe

A Dorian - Balleydesmond

B Minor - The Star of the County Down