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Scale 4081: "Nonatonic Chromatic Descending"

Scale 4081: Nonatonic 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
Nonatonic Chromatic Descending



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

9 (enneatonic)

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.

8 (multihemitonic)


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

7 (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: 511


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

generator: 1
origin: 4

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.

[4, 1, 1, 1, 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.

<8, 7, 6, 6, 6, 3>

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> = {1,4}
<2> = {2,5}
<3> = {3,6}
<4> = {4,7}
<5> = {5,8}
<6> = {6,9}
<7> = {7,10}
<8> = {8,11}

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.

(140, 35, 120)


This scale has a generator of 1, originating on 4.

Common Triads

These are the common triads (major, minor, augmented and diminished) that you can create from members of this scale.

* Pitches are shown with C as the root

Triad TypeTriad*Pitch ClassesDegreeEccentricityCloseness Centrality
Major TriadsC{0,4,7}242
Minor Triadsem{4,7,11}352.2
Augmented TriadsC+{0,4,8}431.6
Diminished Triads{4,7,10}163
Parsimonious Voice Leading Between Common Triads of Scale 4081. Created by Ian Ring ©2019 C C C+ C+ C->C+ em em C->em E E C+->E fm fm C+->fm am am C+->am e°->em em->E E->f° f°->fm F F fm->F f#° f#° F->f#° F->am

view full size

Above is a graph showing opportunities for parsimonious voice leading between triads*. Each line connects two triads that have two common tones, while the third tone changes by one generic scale step.

Central VerticesC+, f°
Peripheral Verticese°, f♯°


Modes are the rotational transformation of this scale. Scale 4081 can be rotated to make 8 other scales. The 1st mode is itself.

2nd mode:
Scale 511
Scale 511: Chromatic Nonamode, Ian Ring Music TheoryChromatic NonamodeThis is the prime mode
3rd mode:
Scale 2303
Scale 2303: Nonatonic Chromatic 2, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 2
4th mode:
Scale 3199
Scale 3199: Nonatonic Chromatic 3, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 3
5th mode:
Scale 3647
Scale 3647: Nonatonic Chromatic 4, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 4
6th mode:
Scale 3871
Scale 3871: Nonatonic Chromatic 5, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 5
7th mode:
Scale 3983
Scale 3983: Nonatonic Chromatic 6, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 6
8th mode:
Scale 4039
Scale 4039: Nonatonic Chromatic 7, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 7
9th mode:
Scale 4067
Scale 4067: Nonatonic Chromatic 8, Ian Ring Music TheoryNonatonic Chromatic 8


The prime form of this scale is Scale 511

Scale 511Scale 511: Chromatic Nonamode, Ian Ring Music TheoryChromatic Nonamode


The enneatonic modal family [4081, 511, 2303, 3199, 3647, 3871, 3983, 4039, 4067] (Forte: 9-1) is the complement of the tritonic modal family [7, 2051, 3073] (Forte: 3-1)


The inverse of a scale is a reflection using the root as its axis. The inverse of 4081 is 511

Scale 511Scale 511: Chromatic Nonamode, Ian Ring Music TheoryChromatic Nonamode


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> 4081       T0I <11,0> 511
T1 <1,1> 4067      T1I <11,1> 1022
T2 <1,2> 4039      T2I <11,2> 2044
T3 <1,3> 3983      T3I <11,3> 4088
T4 <1,4> 3871      T4I <11,4> 4081
T5 <1,5> 3647      T5I <11,5> 4067
T6 <1,6> 3199      T6I <11,6> 4039
T7 <1,7> 2303      T7I <11,7> 3983
T8 <1,8> 511      T8I <11,8> 3871
T9 <1,9> 1022      T9I <11,9> 3647
T10 <1,10> 2044      T10I <11,10> 3199
T11 <1,11> 4088      T11I <11,11> 2303
Abbrev Operation Result Abbrev Operation Result
T0M <5,0> 3031      T0MI <7,0> 3451
T1M <5,1> 1967      T1MI <7,1> 2807
T2M <5,2> 3934      T2MI <7,2> 1519
T3M <5,3> 3773      T3MI <7,3> 3038
T4M <5,4> 3451      T4MI <7,4> 1981
T5M <5,5> 2807      T5MI <7,5> 3962
T6M <5,6> 1519      T6MI <7,6> 3829
T7M <5,7> 3038      T7MI <7,7> 3563
T8M <5,8> 1981      T8MI <7,8> 3031
T9M <5,9> 3962      T9MI <7,9> 1967
T10M <5,10> 3829      T10MI <7,10> 3934
T11M <5,11> 3563      T11MI <7,11> 3773

The transformations that map this set to itself are: T0, T4I

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 4083Scale 4083: Decatonic Chromatic 9, Ian Ring Music TheoryDecatonic Chromatic 9
Scale 4085Scale 4085: Rechberger's Decamode, Ian Ring Music TheoryRechberger's Decamode
Scale 4089Scale 4089: Decatonic Chromatic Descending, Ian Ring Music TheoryDecatonic Chromatic Descending
Scale 4065Scale 4065: Octatonic Chromatic Descending, Ian Ring Music TheoryOctatonic Chromatic Descending
Scale 4073Scale 4073: Sathygic, Ian Ring Music TheorySathygic
Scale 4049Scale 4049: Stycryllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryStycryllic
Scale 4017Scale 4017: Dolyllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryDolyllic
Scale 3953Scale 3953: Thagyllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryThagyllic
Scale 3825Scale 3825: Pynyllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryPynyllic
Scale 3569Scale 3569: Aeoladyllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryAeoladyllic
Scale 3057Scale 3057: Phroryllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryPhroryllic
Scale 2033Scale 2033: Stolyllic, Ian Ring Music TheoryStolyllic

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.