What Are the Scales Used in Dubstep Music?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of dubstep music, then you’re probably familiar with the various scales used in the genre. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most commonly used scales in dubstep, and how they contribute to the overall sound of the music.


Dubstep is a type of music that is characterized by its heavy bass and percussion. The genre has its origins in the UK, and has been gaining popularity in the US in recent years. Dubstep music is often produced using a variety of electronic instruments, and can be difficult to produce without the use of specialized software.

One of the most important aspects of dubstep music is the scale that is used. The scale is what gives dubstep its characteristic sound, and there are a few different scales that are commonly used in dubstep tracks. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular scales used in dubstep music, and how they create the unique sound of the genre.

The Major Scale

The major scale is the most important scale in music. It is the basis for many popular songs, including most blues, rock, and pop songs. The major scale is also the foundation for many other scales, including the minor scale, the chromatic scale, and the major pentatonic scale.

The Minor Scale

In western music, there are many different scales that can be used to create melodies. The minor scale is one of the most popular scales in dubstep music.

The minor scale is a seven-note scale that is built on the foundation of the major scale. However, the minor scale has a few key differences. First, the minor scale has a different pattern of whole and half steps. In the minor scale, the second, third, and sixth degrees are all lowered by a half step. This gives the minor scale a much different sound than the major scale.

The minor scale is also used in many other genres of music, such as Rock and roll, Pop, and Hip hop.

The Chromatic Scale

The chromatic scale is an important scale in music, and is the basis for much of western tonal music. The chromatic scale is simply all 12 notes in succession, with no notes omitted. As such, it’s an easy scale to learn, since there are only 12 notes to remember. The chromatic scale can be written using either sharps or flats, but for the sake of simplicity we’ll use sharps here. The chromatic scale in C major would look like this:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

As you can see, each note is separated from the next by a semitone (or half step). This makes the chromatic scale a very versatile scale, which can be used in a variety of musical styles.

While the chromatic scale is a very important scale, it’s not commonly used as the basis for melodies or chord progressions in popular music. This is because the chromatic scale contains too many notes to be easily memorized, and because it doesn’t have a clear tonal center. However, the chromatic scale is still used extensively in jazz and classical music, where its versatility is appreciated.

The Pentatonic Scale

The pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is commonly used in rock and blues music. A lot of popular songs you hear on the radio use this scale, so it’s a good one to start with if you’re new to dubstep. The notes in a pentatonic scale are: root, second, third, fifth, and sixth.

The Blues Scale

The blues scale is a modified version of the minor pentatonic scale that includes a “blue note” (usually a flattened third, fifth or seventh degree). This gives the scale a slightly dissonant, “bluesy” sound. The most common blues scale consists of the following notes: root, flat third, fourth, flat fifth, fifth and flat seventh.

The Mixolydian Mode

Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2000s. It is characterized by its heavy bass and syncopated rhythms, and often features distorted or filtered sounds. The Mixolydian mode is a type of musical scale that is commonly used in dubstep tracks. This scale consists of seven notes, and its distinctive sound can be heard in many popular dubstep songs.

The Dorian Mode

The Dorian mode is a scale that is often used in dubstep music. This scale consists of the following notes: D, E, F, G, A, B, C. The Dorian mode is a minor scale, and it is one of the most popular scales used in dubstep.

The Phrygian Mode

The Phrygian mode is a musical scale or mode with a flattened second, third, Sixth and Seventh scale degrees. It is the third mode of the major scale. The Phrygian mode is purported to have a particularly Spanish sound to it, as it is derived from the Phrygian tonality.

The Lydian Mode

In music, a mode is a type of scale. The Lydian mode is a musical scale or mode with a raised fourth scale degree. It is the fourth mode of ancient Greek music theory, used in the tonal system and therefore has no accidental. When you raise the fourth degree of a major scale, you create a Lydian scale. The Lydian mode can be created using the white notes on a piano starting on F: F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F.

The Locrian Mode

The Locrian mode is the seventh and final mode of the major scale. It is a dark and brooding scale, often used in horror movies and suspenseful scenes. The Locrian mode is rarely used in popular music, but can be heard in some metal and thrash songs.


To summarize, the scales used in dubstep music are often minor pentatonic scales, but sometimes include other modes or scales. The important thing is that the notes fit well together and create a cohesive sound. If you’re interested in creating your own dubstep tracks, experiment with different scales and see what sounds best to you.

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