The Celtic Minor Scale - the most popular scale in the world ?

1. The character of the Celtic Minor:

The Amara (Celtic Minor) handpan tuning is a fascinating choice for musicians in search of a timeless sonic adventure. This tuning allows you to create sounds characterized by pure fifths and fourths, reminiscent of times long past. One could imagine that an instrument with this tuning would have found its place in spiritual ceremonies in Celtic times. Compared to the full Aeolian mode, the Amara (Celtic Minor) tuning is characterized by the absence of the sixth degree, which gives it an open and inviting quality. Beautiful harmonies can be created, especially in the upper range. It is therefore no surprise that this is one of the most popular tunings in the world of handpans.


2. the structure of the Celtic Minor:

A characteristic feature of the Amara/Celtic Minor tuning is the remarkable leap from the DING note to the first note in the interval of a pure fifth (for example, D-A). This leap in fifths opens up the sound space immediately and lends the notes above it tonal depth and meaning. The next note is a minor third above the fifth, which is again reminiscent of the natural scale. From here follow two whole tone steps, a half tone step, two further whole tone steps and finally the leap of a minor third to the highest note of the tuning, which is created due to the absence of the sixth degree (for example in D Celtic Minor: note Bb).

The archaic quality of this tuning is particularly emphasized, as many pure intervals such as fifths, fourths and octaves can be played, which were already widely used in music in the Middle Ages.

Another interesting feature is the arrangement of the notes in this tuning. In the D Celtic Minor tuning, the notes on the right-hand side produce a D minor triad (A-D-F-A). On the left-hand side, however, all the notes of the C major triad are one note below the root note (C-E-G-C). This enables musicians to effortlessly create the impression of a major chord when playing harmonically. It is therefore not surprising that this is probably one of the most widely used hand pan tunings.

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