ScaleMaster offers 5 virtuell instruments: banjo, bass, guitar, piano and mandolin. All instruments feature their own sound and are playable with the computer's mouse. They can also be shifted into different positions. Stringed instruments like guitar are shiftable from first to 12th position and the piano instrument has a range of over 6 octaves. Custom tuning for stringed instruments as well as support for left-handed display are available via ScaleMaster's preferences.
The chord/scale realtionship is of particular importance to improvising musicians. ScaleMaster allows to filter down the existing vocabulary of 211 scales with 41 of the most common chord structures. The resulting group of scales then fully consists of only scales including all chord tones. This is reflected in the notation view which highlights chord tones in red and displays a chord symbol below the scale title. This feature allows to open up and enrich the improviser's palette and give him or her an alternative to the go-to choice.
All stringed instruments (banjo, bass, guitar and mandolin) have a tunings window. All common standard and open tunings for the specific instrument are available from the tunings picker at the top of the window. Using any of the slider will override the current tuning and generate a custom tuning. Strings can be tuned by 7 semitones higher or lower than the standard tuning. The tuning picker also selects alternate sets of strings for a given instrument. The bass instrument for example supports 4, 5 and 6 string variants and the banjo instrument is availabe in 4 and 5 string versions.
Like all watch apps ScaleMaster for Apple Watch is an extension of the iOS app that hosts it. If you own ScaleMaster and an Apple Watch you get the watch app for free. ScaleMaster for Apple Watch is at this point a very basic extension and does exactly one thing. It let's you select from over 200 different scales, pick a root and then spells the scale correctly with flats, sharps triple sharps and so on. Very basic, but so was the first ScaleMaster app when it was released 8 years ago. We will be adding more and more features now that we got the initial version off the ground.
Designed for the beginning musician as well as the professional, ScaleMaster is an excellent tool towards advancement in theory and scales in particular, making it easy to look up a scale in seconds, getting a taste of the flavor of a particular scale by listening to it, or finding out how to play it on one's instrument.