ScaleMaster
Documentation

v1.0.3 - release notes

Notation

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ScaleMaster's notation view offers a lot of valuable information. It is updated whenever a scale is changed. So - not only can we look up the fingering of a specific scale in the instrument view, but we also can review the notation details of that scale. Of particular interest here are the application of flats, sharps and other accidentals. ScaleMaster will apply these according to the laws of music theory and help in cases where there might be doubt whether a note is written as a natural or double flat for example.

Note also that roots are shown in orange, chord tones in red (where applicable) and other notes are shown in plain black. We also have a chord symbol indicator sans root under the scale name if a chord filter is engaged.

Finally there are two adjustment buttons in the window toolbar that affect the notation view in reference mode. For one there is the scale direction button which switches our scales between ascending and descending. It is a hollow arrow as seen above and is the third button from the right. Scale direction can also be toggled via the Flip item in the Scale menu or cmd-right-arrow.

The second button from the right is called the notation options button. It cycles through auxiliary information like note names, intervals, etc. More about that option below.

 

Semitones

At the bottom of the notation view is a display of semitones given in simple numbers like 1 or 2 as seen above. Semitones are the smallest intervals available in the instruments in ScaleMaster. They represent exactly 1 MIDI value and are also called half-tone steps. Where middle C for example is 60 and the next note Db is 61, we can count the semitones in the interval between those two notes (1). Going from C to D would be 2 and going from C to F 5. This information is of relevance because the series of semitones between intervals is exactly what defines a scale. It is the one piece of information that allows us to transpose a scale from C to Gb for example.

Note: Semitones as well as note names of a scale are also displayed in the Scale Detail view of the documents view. Double-clicking these strings will select them and make them available to copy to the machine's clipboard.

 

Note Options

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The notation options button that looks a bit like a slashed circle symbol is used to cycle note information. We can show note names like C, D, E or Do, Re, Mi if we have selected to use syllables in ScaleMaster's settings. We can also show intervallic descriptions of our notes as shown in the table below. These are the intervals in relation to the root of the scale. Here is a breakdown of the intervals that may occur:

Rt

root

m2

minor second

M2

major second

#2

augmented second

m3

minor third

M3

major third

b4

lowered fourth

p4

perfect fourth

#4

raised fourth

b5

diminished fifth

p5

perfect fifth

#5

augmented fifth

m6

minor sixth

M6

major sixth

#6

raised sixth

d7

diminished seventh

m7

minor seventh

M7

major seventh

Oc

octave

 

The third display option shows the MIDI values of the current notes. The fourth option removes all note information and finally the fifth option also removes the semitones indicators from the notation view. Something to keep in mind when printing for example. ScaleMaster prints the notation view and instrument views in a printer friendly layout. It will however include notation details as they appear on screen.

 

Clefs

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Clef assignment in ScaleMaster happens in the clef window. To show it just click the clef in the notation view, type ctrl-6 or select Clef in the Window menu. Most instruments in ScaleMaster have more than one clef option. The piano instrument for example can display in treble, bass, alto and tenor clefs.

Note: Some instruments like double bass only allow for one clef (i.e. bass 8va).

 

Summary

Music notation is not everyone's cup of tea, but a reference to all 200+ of ScaleMaster's scales in all available keys is a great resource to have. In particular the breakdown into semitones (or half-tone steps) can come in handy. As noted before we have not veered into exercise mode yet and not discussed the notation view under that aspect. All of that is coming up in the next chapter where we finally get into exercises.

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