Skip to main content

_ Z A B L U E O R T I S


Universal system for naming musical scales with a precise meaning.

Project conceived by Nicolas Augsburger Rossi.


Thoughts behind _ZABLUEORTIS:

Names: when it comes to choosing the name, especially for a daughter or a son, we look for its meaning, an information about it. All the names, classic and otherwise, were new on some day. You will discover new names generated by the _ZABLUEORTIS system. These names may sound strange and funny but they don't exist by chance, they all have meanings that exactly define the associated scale. The more you see them, the more they become evident.


By studying musical scales we must learn their names and associate the degrees of the scale in question by heart. It has always worked but the name itself indicates little or nothing about the construction of the scale, it is mainly a work of memory.  

_ZABLUEORTIS, on the other hand, is designed to inform by precisely associating the name of the scale, which can be pronounced almost always and by almost everyone, with no translation necessary. Seeing the name of the scale, simply match the letters of the name with the keyword and the degrees of the scale appear. It is also important that the keyword is relatively easy to remember. Just remember _ZABLUEORTIS and it is possible to find and understand any scale.


A scale is a selection of degrees. _ZABLUEORTIS corresponds to the chromatic scale because it contains all 12 degrees. All other scales contain fewer degrees, so all other names are made up of fewer letters.


The first degree of the scale bears the name of the root, that is the initial note. For this reason grade 1 is represented by _ which will be replaced or preceded (free choice) by the name of the root.

Example: I want to play the natural minor scale starting from C♯. The scale is C♯_ABUORI.

The underscore is a prefix that allows the user to know the context of the characters that follow, such as a hashtag. It means the name has a _ZABLUEORTIS origin. (Thanks to Ian Ring from for this consideration) 


The degrees of the scale:

_ = 1 = Name of the root

Z = 2m

A = 2M

B = 3m

L = 3M

U = 4

E = 4A / 5d

O = 5

R = 5A / 6m

T= 6M

I = 7m

S = 7M


Example: What is the difference between Ionian and Mixolydian? Until now it was necessary to know these scales by heart. 

If we ask the same question: What is the difference between _ALUOTS and _ALUOTI?

In this case the only difference is obvious: it is on the last degree. The last degree of the first is S = 7M while the last degree of the second is I = 7m


The system was not designed to replace the classic names of the scales but to integrate in a complementary and universal way regardless of the language used. For example, the Bluesy Rock 'n Roll scale carries a rather vague name. By indicating Bluesy Rock 'n Roll _BLUOTI the user receives a precise information.

Why is the first letter of _ZABLUEORTIS is Z and not A? Because the 2nd degree of the most common scales is predominantly 2M or higher (see the tables below). It is simply for a pronunciation reason.


Names without vowels: 

The longest non-vowel scale is _ZBLRTS = 1  2m  3m  3M  6m  6M  7M

It's not a very common scale but it does exist. In these cases it is better to spell.


Results with the 7 modes of the Major scale _ALUOTS. I voluntarily left the names of the scales in Italian, the system is universal.


Results with other scales:



Results with the seven modes of the Double harmonic scale:

In this example it is interesting to note that certain scales have a classical name with a precise indication of the alterations (example Ionian ♯2 ♯5 = Major scale for which the degrees 2M and 5 are increased by a semitone, so starting from _ALUOTS: becomes B and becomes R. _ALUOTS becomes _BLURTS), and other scales have a name that does not indicate anything about the scale structure, such as Hungarian or Oriental / Asian. In these cases the _ZABLUEORTIS system is particularly useful.


Blues scales:


Bebop scales:


All scales on the fingers of one hand

The hand can be a good reference by applying _ZABLUEORTIS and degrees on the phalanges of the hand, for example in the following way:



_ = 1 = Name of the root = Third phalanx (finger tip)

Z = 2m = Second phalanx

A = 2M = First phalanx


Middle finger

B = 3m = Third phalanx

L = 3M = Second phalanx

U = 4 = First phalanx


Ring finger

E = 4A / 5d = Third phalanx

O = 5 = Second phalanx

R = 5A / 6m = First phalanx


Little finger

T = 6M = Third phalanx

I = 7m = Second phalanx

S = 7M = First phalanx


It is interesting to note that the three possible variants of grade 5 are found on the ring finger.




© Nicolas Augsburger Rossi