MOS naming

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The simplest and most straightforward way to refer to MOS scales is by using the format #L#s, directly specifying the number of large steps (#L) and the number of small steps (#s). However, other naming schemes have also been proposed. See also the Catalog of MOS for a listing of MOS in the more usual Ls scheme. See also the pergens page.

For referring to intervals in an unspecified MOS, generic names such as "small fifth" or "large second" are typically used; these can be used to unambiguously refer to an interval in any MOS. Some naming systems give more specific names to MOS intervals.


Main article: TAMNAMS

Graham Breed's naming scheme

Graham Breed has proposed the following scheme.

Names for sub-MOS

1L 1s Trivial MOS

1L 2s Happy triad

2L 1s Grumpy triad

1L 3s Happy tetrad

2L 2s bi-equal tetrad

3L 1s Grumpy tetrad

Names for MOS with number of elements from 5 to 10, as proposed by Graham Breed

The logic behind new names is as follows:

Happy and Grumpy are remnants of the dwarf scheme. A good proportion of the shapes fit this pattern, so it's worth having a word for it.

Biggie is a contraction of "bi-grumpy". Rice is named after Rice Kagona.

Bicycle is a contraction of "bi-classical". This family is like the usual fifth-generated one, but half the size.

Mosh is a contraction of "mohajiraish". Mish is related to mosh.

Father is a temperament name. I think the etymology is a pun on "fourths/thirds" and as such names a shape.

Bug is another temperament name, from the draft of the first part of Paul's forthcoming magnum opus. If it's too specific to apply to this family, I suggest "bogey" instead.

"Bi-equal" means the scale is made from two EDOs. There may be a better name for these. They become more important whan you look at complicated temperaments.

I'm using "fair" and "unfair" to distinguish the large from the small.

All the names uniquely specify a shape, and if the number of notes doesn't need to be part of the name it isn't. That doesn't mean you'd leave them this terse in practice.

1L 4s Happy pentatonic

2L 3s classic pentatonic

3L 2s father (sometimes also called: anti-pentatonic)

4L 1s bug

1L 5s Happy hexatonic

2L 4s Rice hexatonic

3L 3s augmented

4L 2s bicycle

5L 1s Grumpy hexatonic

1L 6s Happy heptatonic

2L 5s mavila (other common name: anti-diatonic)

3L 4s mosh

4L 3s mish

5L 2s diatonic

6L 1s Grumpy heptatonic

1L 7s Happy octatonic

2L 6s Rice octatonic

3L 5s fair father

4L 4s diminished

5L 3s unfair father

6L 2s Biggie octatonic

7L 1s Grumpy octatonic

1L 8s Happy nonatonic

2L 7s fair mavila

3L 6s fair augmented

4L 5s fair bug

5L 4s unfair bug

6L 3s unfair augmented

7L 2s unfair mavila

8L 1s Grumpy nonatonic

1L 9s Happy decatonic

2L 8s Rice decatonic

3L 7s fair mosh

4L 6s fair bicycle

5L 5s bi-equal decatonic

6L 4s unfair bicycle

7L 3s unfair mosh

8L 2s Biggie decatonic

9L 1s Grumpy decatonic

Some names of higher-numbered ones

8L 3s Sensi[11]

6L 5s Machine[11]

4L 7s Keemun[11]

10L 2s Pajara[12]

9L 3s August[12]

7L 5s Meantone[12]

6L 6s Hexe[12]

5L 7s Superpyth[12]

4L 8s Diminished[12]

3L 9s Augene[12]

2L 10s Injera[12]

12L 2s Injera[14]

5L 9s Godzilla[14]

4L 10s Doublewide[14]

11L 4s Superkleismic[15]

10L 5s Blacksmith[15]

8L 7s Opossum[15]

7L 8s Porcupine[15]

4L 11s Myna[15]

1L 14s Valentine[15]

6L 10s Wizard[16]

5L 11s Mothra[16]

14L 3s Squares[17]

12L 5s Garibaldi[17]

10L 7s Beatles[17]

7L 10s Mohajira[17]

16L 3s Muggles[19]

12L 7s Meantone[19]

10L 9s Negri[19]

8L 11s Sensi[19]

7L 12s Flattone[19]

6L 13s Hemiwuerschmidt[19]

4L 15s Myna[19]

3L 16s Magic[19]

2L 17s Tritonic[19]

3L 17s Roman[20]

10L 11s Miracle[21]

5L 16s Rodan[21]

2L 19s Tritonic[21]

19L 3s Magic[22]

12L 10s Diaschismic[22]

9L 13s Orwell[22]

7L 15s Coendou[22]

6L 16s Wizard[22]

2L 20s Shrutar[22]

15L 8s Hemikleismic[23]

13L 10s Unidec[23]

3L 20s Roman[23]

7L 17s Mohajira[24]

6L 19s Luna[25]

18L 9s Ennealimmal[27]

14L 13s Octacot[27]

17L 12s Leapday[29], Grackle[29]

12L 17s Garibaldi[29]