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The in scale, which contains semitones, according to a traditional theory is one of two pentatonic scales used in much Japanese music, excluding gagaku and Buddhist chanting. The in scale is used specifically in music for the koto and shamisen and is contrasted with the yo scale, which does not contain semitones.[1]

In scale on D with auxiliary notes (F) & (C)

More recent theory[2] emphasizes that it is more useful in interpreting Japanese melody to view scales on the basis of "nuclear tones" located a fourth apart and containing notes between them, as in the miyako-bushi scale used in koto and shamisen music and whose pitches are equivalent to the in scale[3]:

Miyako-bushi scale on D, equivalent to in scale on D, with brackets on fourths

In scale in the other musical traditions

Some rare examples of ancient genres of Andean music (e.g. k'antu) use in scale combined with melody leading with a parallel fifths and fourths. For example listen Machulas Kantu by Bolivia Manta folk group (Wiñayataqui, 1981).


  1. ^ Titon, Jeff Todd (1996). Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples, p.372. ISBN 0-02-872612-X.
  2. ^ Koizumi Fumio (1974). Nihon no ongaku (Japanese music), 76. Tokyo: National Theater of Japan.
  3. ^ Titon (1996), 373.



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