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Scale 3969: "Hexatonic Chromatic Descending"

Scale 3969: Hexatonic Chromatic Descending, Ian Ring Music Theory

Bracelet Diagram

The bracelet shows tones that are in this scale, starting from the top (12 o'clock), going clockwise in ascending semitones. The "i" icon marks imperfect tones that do not have a tone a fifth above. Dotted lines indicate axes of symmetry.

Tonnetz Diagram

Tonnetz diagrams are popular in Neo-Riemannian theory. Notes are arranged in a lattice where perfect 5th intervals are from left to right, major third are northeast, and major 6th intervals are northwest. Other directions are inverse of their opposite. This diagram helps to visualize common triads (they're triangles) and circle-of-fifth relationships (horizontal lines).

Common Names

Western Modern
Hexatonic Chromatic Descending



Cardinality is the count of how many pitches are in the scale.

6 (hexatonic)

Pitch Class Set

The tones in this scale, expressed as numbers from 0 to 11


Forte Number

A code assigned by theorist Allen Forte, for this pitch class set and all of its transpositional (rotation) and inversional (reflection) transformations.


Rotational Symmetry

Some scales have rotational symmetry, sometimes known as "limited transposition". If there are any rotational symmetries, these are the intervals of periodicity.


Reflection Axes

If a scale has an axis of reflective symmetry, then it can transform into itself by inversion. It also implies that the scale has Ridge Tones. Notably an axis of reflection can occur directly on a tone or half way between two tones.



A palindromic scale has the same pattern of intervals both ascending and descending.



A chiral scale can not be transformed into its inverse by rotation. If a scale is chiral, then it has an enantiomorph.



A hemitone is two tones separated by a semitone interval. Hemitonia describes how many such hemitones exist.

5 (multihemitonic)


A cohemitone is an instance of two adjacent hemitones. Cohemitonia describes how many such cohemitones exist.

4 (multicohemitonic)


An imperfection is a tone which does not have a perfect fifth above it in the scale. This value is the quantity of imperfections in this scale.



Modes are the rotational transformations of this scale. This number does not include the scale itself, so the number is usually one less than its cardinality; unless there are rotational symmetries then there are even fewer modes.


Prime Form

Describes if this scale is in prime form, using the Rahn/Ring formula.

prime: 63


Indicates if the scale can be constructed using a generator, and an origin.

generator: 1
origin: 7

Deep Scale

A deep scale is one where the interval vector has 6 different digits.


Interval Structure

Defines the scale as the sequence of intervals between one tone and the next.

[7, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]

Interval Vector

Describes the intervallic content of the scale, read from left to right as the number of occurences of each interval size from semitone, up to six semitones.

<5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0>

Interval Spectrum

The same as the Interval Vector, but expressed in a syntax used by Howard Hanson.


Distribution Spectra

Describes the specific interval sizes that exist for each generic interval size. Each generic <g> has a spectrum {n,...}. The Spectrum Width is the difference between the highest and lowest values in each spectrum.

<1> = {1,7}
<2> = {2,8}
<3> = {3,9}
<4> = {4,10}
<5> = {5,11}

Spectra Variation

Determined by the Distribution Spectra; this is the sum of all spectrum widths divided by the scale cardinality.


Maximally Even

A scale is maximally even if the tones are optimally spaced apart from each other.


Maximal Area Set

A scale is a maximal area set if a polygon described by vertices dodecimetrically placed around a circle produces the maximal interior area for scales of the same cardinality. All maximally even sets have maximal area, but not all maximal area sets are maximally even.


Interior Area

Area of the polygon described by vertices placed for each tone of the scale dodecimetrically around a unit circle, ie a circle with radius of 1.


Polygon Perimeter

Perimeter of the polygon described by vertices placed for each tone of the scale dodecimetrically around a unit circle.


Myhill Property

A scale has Myhill Property if the Interval Spectra has exactly two specific intervals for every generic interval.



A scale is balanced if the distribution of its tones would satisfy the "centrifuge problem", ie are placed such that it would balance on its centre point.


Ridge Tones

Ridge Tones are those that appear in all transpositions of a scale upon the members of that scale. Ridge Tones correspond directly with axes of reflective symmetry.



Also known as Rothenberg Propriety, named after its inventor. Propriety describes whether every specific interval is uniquely mapped to a generic interval. A scale is either "Proper", "Strictly Proper", or "Improper".


Heteromorphic Profile

Defined by Norman Carey (2002), the heteromorphic profile is an ordered triple of (c, a, d) where c is the number of contradictions, a is the number of ambiguities, and d is the number of differences. When c is zero, the scale is Proper. When a is also zero, the scale is Strictly Proper.

(35, 0, 35)


This scale has a generator of 1, originating on 7.

Common Triads

There are no common triads (major, minor, augmented and diminished) that can be formed using notes in this scale.


Modes are the rotational transformation of this scale. Scale 3969 can be rotated to make 5 other scales. The 1st mode is itself.

2nd mode:
Scale 63
Scale 63: Hexatonic Chromatic, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic ChromaticThis is the prime mode
3rd mode:
Scale 2079
Scale 2079: Hexatonic Chromatic 4, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic Chromatic 4
4th mode:
Scale 3087
Scale 3087: Hexatonic Chromatic 3, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic Chromatic 3
5th mode:
Scale 3591
Scale 3591: Wifian, Ian Ring Music TheoryWifian
6th mode:
Scale 3843
Scale 3843: Hexatonic Chromatic 5, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic Chromatic 5


The prime form of this scale is Scale 63

Scale 63Scale 63: Hexatonic Chromatic, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic Chromatic


The hexatonic modal family [3969, 63, 2079, 3087, 3591, 3843] (Forte: 6-1) is the complement of the hexatonic modal family [63, 2079, 3087, 3591, 3843, 3969] (Forte: 6-1)


The inverse of a scale is a reflection using the root as its axis. The inverse of 3969 is 63

Scale 63Scale 63: Hexatonic Chromatic, Ian Ring Music TheoryHexatonic Chromatic


In the abbreviation, the subscript number after "T" is the number of semitones of tranposition, "M" means the pitch class is multiplied by 5, and "I" means the result is inverted. Operation is an identical way to express the same thing; the syntax is <a,b> where each tone of the set x is transformed by the equation y = ax + b

Abbrev Operation Result Abbrev Operation Result
T0 <1,0> 3969       T0I <11,0> 63
T1 <1,1> 3843      T1I <11,1> 126
T2 <1,2> 3591      T2I <11,2> 252
T3 <1,3> 3087      T3I <11,3> 504
T4 <1,4> 2079      T4I <11,4> 1008
T5 <1,5> 63      T5I <11,5> 2016
T6 <1,6> 126      T6I <11,6> 4032
T7 <1,7> 252      T7I <11,7> 3969
T8 <1,8> 504      T8I <11,8> 3843
T9 <1,9> 1008      T9I <11,9> 3591
T10 <1,10> 2016      T10I <11,10> 3087
T11 <1,11> 4032      T11I <11,11> 2079
Abbrev Operation Result Abbrev Operation Result
T0M <5,0> 2709      T0MI <7,0> 1323
T1M <5,1> 1323      T1MI <7,1> 2646
T2M <5,2> 2646      T2MI <7,2> 1197
T3M <5,3> 1197      T3MI <7,3> 2394
T4M <5,4> 2394      T4MI <7,4> 693
T5M <5,5> 693      T5MI <7,5> 1386
T6M <5,6> 1386      T6MI <7,6> 2772
T7M <5,7> 2772      T7MI <7,7> 1449
T8M <5,8> 1449      T8MI <7,8> 2898
T9M <5,9> 2898      T9MI <7,9> 1701
T10M <5,10> 1701      T10MI <7,10> 3402
T11M <5,11> 3402      T11MI <7,11> 2709

The transformations that map this set to itself are: T0, T7I

Nearby Scales:

These are other scales that are similar to this one, created by adding a tone, removing a tone, or moving one note up or down a semitone.

Scale 3971Scale 3971: Heptatonic Chromatic 6, Ian Ring Music TheoryHeptatonic Chromatic 6
Scale 3973Scale 3973: Zehian, Ian Ring Music TheoryZehian
Scale 3977Scale 3977: Kythian, Ian Ring Music TheoryKythian
Scale 3985Scale 3985: Thadian, Ian Ring Music TheoryThadian
Scale 4001Scale 4001: Ziyian, Ian Ring Music TheoryZiyian
Scale 4033Scale 4033: Heptatonic Chromatic Descending, Ian Ring Music TheoryHeptatonic Chromatic Descending
Scale 3841Scale 3841: Pentatonic Chromatic Descending, Ian Ring Music TheoryPentatonic Chromatic Descending
Scale 3905Scale 3905: Yusian, Ian Ring Music TheoryYusian
Scale 3713Scale 3713: Xibian, Ian Ring Music TheoryXibian
Scale 3457Scale 3457: Vobian, Ian Ring Music TheoryVobian
Scale 2945Scale 2945: Sihian, Ian Ring Music TheorySihian
Scale 1921Scale 1921: Lukian, Ian Ring Music TheoryLukian

This scale analysis was created by Ian Ring, Canadian Composer of works for Piano, and total music theory nerd. Scale notation generated by VexFlow, graph visualization by Graphviz, and MIDI playback by MIDI.js. All other diagrams and visualizations are © Ian Ring. Some scale names used on this and other pages are ©2005 William Zeitler ( used with permission.

Pitch spelling algorithm employed here is adapted from a method by Uzay Bora, Baris Tekin Tezel, and Alper Vahaplar. (An algorithm for spelling the pitches of any musical scale) Contact authors Patent owner: Dokuz Eylül University, Used with Permission. Contact TTO

Tons of background resources contributed to the production of this summary; for a list of these peruse this Bibliography. Special thanks to Richard Repp for helping with technical accuracy, and George Howlett for assistance with the Carnatic ragas.