ScaleMaster features an extremely flexible interface (UI). On iPads there are the standard landscape and portrait view modes which don't differ too much from each other. On the newer iPads Split View is supported as well which is a great benefit as it allows us to launch ScaleMaster next to another app like GarageBand and keep it there for reference.
On iPhones there are three distinct view configurations. In portrait mode ScaleMaster always shows the notation view on top and the selected instrument at the bottom of the screen. This mode is fantastic for reference purposes. In landscape mode ScaleMaster offers the option to display either the notation view or the instrument view. That is just due to the nature of a fairly small screen.
No matter what layout configuration there are 4 distinct views. The top or navigation bar with document access, the notation view (may be hidden on iPhones in landscape mode), the instrument view (may be hidden on iPhones in landscape mode) and of course the center tool strip. There are many additional windows that can pop up here and there and we will get to those in a bit.
The top bar, also called nav bar, provides access to the document window (hamburger menu button to the very left), file sharing next to it and on the far right an info window with links to this documentation, version information and more. Documents as well as file sharing are covered later in this manual. Lastly the title in the center is that of the currently loaded document and will be subject to change in that regard.
The notation view will also be discussed in detail in a later chapter. Suffice to say that beside the two buttons in the bottom left and right corners we can tap on the clef to change it provided the instrument has clef alternates.
The center tool strip shown above is the default on iPads. In certain situations however only the first 5 buttons from the left will be shown. That is the case in portrait mode on the iPhone and in Split View on the iPad also when in portrait mode. The center button shown above with three parallel horizontal lines next to a vertical line is shown only on the iPad and triggers the positions window.
ScaleMaster has 2 view modes: Reference and Exercise. The reference view as shown above in the Notation View paragraph aims to depict essential scale information. It typically shows roots in orange, chord tones in red and has configurable additional display options. The exercise view on the other hand can consist of many notes that have been generated using the generation tool or even recorded. More about exercises in the up-coming Exercise chapter. In any case the view button located in the center - or near the center on iPhones - toggles between these two modes.
The 2 images above demonstrated the iPhone layout when in landscape mode. As you can see there are 2 distinct modes which are switched by the arrow button in the tool strip center. In the first view we have a great representation of our C Altered pentatonic scale with the tool strip at the bottom. Note that the position button is disabled in this view because the instrument is not visible. So it would be of little help in the top view.
In the second picture above we see the violin instrument and here we now have the center tool strip at the top of the screen - position button now enabled..
We found this to be a great way to address our usage scenarios for the iPhone. When in portrait mode and the most likely way you are probably going to hold your iPhone when in need for a quick lookup of a scale for spelling, etc, you get a split view of bot notation and instrument. But when sitting down to practice it is more likely that someone will want to see a wider representation of the instrument and fingerings. But even then to go to the notation view is just one tap of the center button.
So here we have from left to right a button for the scales window, a button for the circle of fifths window, the instrument position button, a button for the tuning window (only available ob string instruments) and finally a button for the settings window. Again all of these buttons are always available.
The right side of the tool strip has from left to right a button for generating a new exercise (a whole chapter on recording is coming up) and next to it the play button. Next to the play button we have the reverse button, the count-in button and finally the special bpm button. The bpm button is in fact no button, but a drag control. You touch it an drag up or down while keeping the finger pressed. Please note that Count-In on iPhones is toggled on/off in Settings.
The instrument view is very wide and scrollable via two-finger drag. All string instruments go up to the 24th fret / position and tZhe piano instrument features 88 keys. There are two other ways to change an instrument's position which will be described later on.
The instrument is also where all of ScaleMaster's recording is done. Finally the current instrument can be changed in settings.
Writing up these discussions of ScaleMaster's different layouts makes even our head spin a little. But I promise, once you get your hands on the app and get to work with it, it makes sense. The nature of representing a piano keyboard or guitar neck on a device whose default orientation is portrait - because that is how we read our books and newspapers - requires us to think a bit creatively.
Now that we have a bit of an overview, let's take a look at how we can display and filter our scales.