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Scale and Explorations

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Scale and Explorations

Scale and Explorations

Options for making new scales, and exploring scales...

This window has buttons to quickly navigate to the preset scales list, SCALA buttons you can use to set up the SCALA scale construction and FTS to work together and then show your scales in SCALA - and various options explore the lists of scales, and make new scales of particular interest.

How to get here

Bs2 | Scale Options and Explorations, or Ctrl + 17

How to use this window

The first few buttons in this window let you quickly navigate to the preset scales and arpeggios lists that come with Tune Smithy.

The SCALA buttons let you show the current scale in Manual Op de Coul's SCALA program, and set up SCALA to work with Tune Smithy. Use SCALA to construct just about any scale that interests you.

You can also use the Make Scales Lists from Folders button to make a list of all your SCALA scales in any folder for the scales lists and drop lists in Tune Smithy. For instance you can make all the scales in the SCALA archive into a single Scales List to use with Tune Smithy. You can then use the Search scales and Sort scales windows to organise those scales in various ways and to search for a particular scale of interest.

The buttons to show the rotations of the main window scale and to fill the scales list with all the re-arrangements of the main window scale are particularly useful for constructing scales.

The other buttons let you make some particular scales that are either very popular, or connected with particular Tune Smithy features or the fractal tunes, or just ones that I happened to develop an interest in and wanted to follow up in Tune Smithy. For details see the help for the individual buttons.

Smaller intro Scales list

Go back to the original Scales lists for the main window...

You can also use File | Reset Scales

Historical twelve tones

Set the drop list of scales to the historical twelve tones list

Open main window scale

Open Scale (SCALA format)

Save it As

Save as Scale (SCALA format)

Sort scales or arpeggios drop list

Sort the scales or arpeggios lists e.g. by number of notes, alphabetically, etc...

This can be used to sort a scale or arpeggios list in different ways.

It is particularly useful for sorting very large scales lists such as the SCALA archive.

Search scales or arpeggios drop list

Search the scales or arpeggios lists for words or numbers...

You can use this e.g. to find all the scale descriptions with a particular word in it (e.g. all pelog scales or all bagpipe scales or whatever) or all the scale definitions with 3/2 in them and so on.

It is particularly useful for searching very large scales lists such as the SCALA archive.

Make Scales Drop Lists from folders...

Make list of all scales in folder, SCALA modes lists && configure smithy.cmd...

You can use this window to make a scales list for use in FTS from all your saved SCALA scales in any folder. The obvious one to make is the list of all the scales in the SCALA archive, but if you are into scale construction yourself for instance, or have other collections of SCALA scales you can go on to make more lists of scales for any folder you like.

You can also make arpeggios lists in FTS from the modes list that comes with SCALA - these are very useful if you want to explore the relevant scales in FTS, e.g. the various n-ets.

Finally you can also configure the show_xxx.cmd file to configure how SCALA starts up from FTS. This is used for the Show current scale in SCALA button - see the tool tip help for Edit it... for more details.

Show in SCALA

Launch SCALA with the current scale for FTS.

It launches SCALA with the scale from FTS already loaded - this is the scale shown in Scales Drop List (Ctrl + 110) or Template:Ww104 etc..

It also shows the scale in SCALA.

This is the output for the pygmie scale

Pygmie scale

 0:          1/1               0.000 unison, perfect prime
 1:          8/7             231.174 septimal whole tone
 2:         21/16            470.781 narrow fourth
 3:          3/2             701.955 perfect fifth
 4:          7/4             968.826 harmonic seventh
 5:          2/1            1200.000 octave

The third column can show various things. The preset for this button is to set it to show cents. If you want to change this, edit the SCALA .cmd file using the Edit button in Make scales drop lists from Folders, & Opts for FTS <-> SCALA (Ctrl + 88). See the tool tip help for that button for more details.

Now that you have the scale in SCALA, you can use any SCALA command - see the SCALA help for details. I will just mention a couple often used by FTS users. (NB while exploring SCALA, be sure to explore some of the fun midi instruments in SCALA in its Analyse menu :-)).

For instance, try SHOW INTERVALS to show all intervals between pairs of notes in the scale.

As a shortcut you only need to type SH I (first few letters of each word)

This is the result:

Interval class, Number of incidences, Size:

 1:  3  8/7               231.174 cents  septimal whole tone
 1:  1  147/128           239.607 cents
 1:  1  7/6               266.871 cents  septimal minor third
 2:  1  64/49             462.348 cents
 2:  2  21/16             470.781 cents  narrow fourth

2: 2 4/3 498.045 cents perfect fourth

 3:  2  3/2               701.955 cents  perfect fifth
 3:  2  32/21             729.219 cents  wide fifth
 3:  1  49/32             737.652 cents
 4:  1  12/7              933.129 cents  septimal major sixth
 4:  1  256/147           960.393 cents
 4:  3  7/4               968.826 cents  harmonic seventh

The interval class is the number of notes that make up the interval.

You can copy / paste information from the SCALA output window to the clipboard in the usual way. You can also log all output from SCALA to a text file using SCALA | File | Save Window Text to... - then use File | Close text file when finished.

To show the intervals ordered according to size rather than interval class, use the /TOTAL switch:


Maybe now you wonder where some of these intervals are located in the scale. You use SHOW LOCATIONS for this.:

Let's find out where the other perfect fifth is:


Locations of 3/2:

3: 0 - 3
3: 1 - 4  diff. -35.697
3: 2 - 5  diff. -27.264
3: 3 - 6  diff. -27.264
3: 4 - 7

Total of 5 ...

(various details about the search)

It's found the two exact ones, and also the three approximate ones.

0 - 3 means the 3/2 is between degrees 0 and 3, i.e. the first and fouth notes of the scale. So this is the obvious one, from the first note of the scale up to 3/2.

Where is the other one? It's between the fourth and the seventh degrees, but the scale only has five notes. So, this interval straddles the octave division. In fact, it's between 7/4 and 21/8.

You can play your scale in Scala from Analyse | Chromatic Clavier, and play using the mouse, or using letter keys, with various options - see the SCALA help for details.

In FTS, you can play it from the PC Keyboard using PC Keyboard Player (Ctrl + 112) or Template:W113

You can see what the degree is because it gets shown on the keyboard as you play, and also the ratio.

In the same way, we can now look for any other intervals in this scale which interest us, the septimal minor third say:

Septimal minor third:

Locations of 7/6:

1: 0 - 1  diff.  35.697
1: 1 - 2  diff.  27.264
1: 2 - 3  diff.  35.697
1: 3 - 4
1: 4 - 5  diff.  35.697

Total of 5...

And so on...

Locate SCALA Make all the SCALA related files...

You can use this window to set FTS up to work with SCALA and vice versa.

You can make a drop list of all the scales in the SCALA archive, and also drop lists of Arpeggios for all the modes in the SCALA modes list. These drop lists give you a way to access these scales and modes quickly in FTS (with kind permission from Manuel Op de Coul).

You also need to tell FTS where the SCALA program is, and tell SCALA where FTS is. This lets you move any scale from FTS into SCALA to work with it in SCALA, and vice versa.

For details, see How to set up FTS to work together with SCALA.

Show rotations of main window scale

Show what the main window scale is like starting at any interval...

This makes a text file and each line consists of the main window scale rotated around to start at another of its intervals.

This can be useful for analysing the scale, as you can read many things from it. You can immediately see which intervals span a given number of steps of the scale, and how many times each of those intervals occur and so on.

Here an example might help:

Rotations of scale: Japanese Koto scale

16/15 4/3 64/45 16/9 2/1

5/4   4/3   5/3   15/8  2/1  

16/15 4/3 3/2 8/5 2/1

5/4  45/32  3/2   15/8  2/1  
9/8   6/5   3/2   8/5   2/1  

In the last line it is shown in its original form. But, if instead you start with the 1/1 at the original 9/8, then the next note will be the semitone step from 9/8 to 6/5, i.e. 16/15. The 3/2 is a 4/3 above the 9/8. Continuing in this way you can see that the first row is the same scale, but starting with the original 9/8 as the new 1/1. The next one is again the same scale, but starting from the 6/5 and so on.

Then we can read all the one step intervals of this scale in the first column - they are 9/8, 5/4 and 16/15. The two step intervals are 4/3, 45/32 and 6/5 - and so on.

Fill main window scales drop list with all re-arrangement of current scale's steps

Finds all the way of re-arranging its steps to make a new scale...

This works on the current scale shown in the main window Scale drop list or Scales Drop List (Ctrl + 110) or Scale and Arpeggio as text (Ctrl + 104). It re-arranges the steps of the scale in all possible ways.

This search will take a while if the scale has many steps. If the search hasn't finished, and you want to stop it, just click this button again to stop and you will see all the re-arrangements found so far.

To get back to the preset list of scales, you can use one of the buttons at the top of Scale and Explorations (Ctrl + 17) e.g. the smaller intro. Scales list.

How this works in detail

To take an example, the just intonation pentatonic scale has steps of: small whole tone, large whole tone, minor third, small whole tone, minor third: 10/9 9/8 6/5 10/9 6/5. This will make all the possible scales you get by arranging those five steps in any order.

This is something one may want to do when making new scales. By way of example, one might make a scale from superparticular intervals using Superparticular Scales (Ctrl + 13). Then perhaps you want your scale to have a 3/2 in it, or have other requirements. So you can try for other re-arrangements of the same intervals to make a scale one likes better.

Fill with all re-arrangements of ALL scale's steps

Finds all the ways of re-arranging the steps of ALL the scales shown in the main window Scale drop list.

This will take a long time unless the scales are all very short.

If the search hasn't finished, and you want to stop it, just click this button again to stop and you will see all the re-arrangements found so far.

To get back to the preset list of scales, you can use one of the buttons at the top of Scale and Explorations (Ctrl + 17) e.g. the smaller intro. Scales list.

Show re-arrangements as steps in descriptions

Used with the search for all re-arrangements of the current scale...

Each scale found needs a description to show in the Scales list which you use to select the scale. There are two options here - to show the steps of the scale, and to show the intervals from the 1/1.

Select this check box to show the steps in the description, unselect to show the intervals from the 1/1.

This check box only affects the description. You change the way the scale itself is shown by using the Steps button in Scales Drop List (Ctrl + 110) or the Steps check box available in the main window for some of the tasks. The Steps check box or button of course doesn't change the scale descriptions.

Super particular scales....

Make scales with all the steps superparticular such as 9/8, 5/4 etc...

A scale is superparticular if all the steps are the likes of 3/2, 5/4, 6/5, 7/6, 9/8... or generally, (n+1)/n for some n.

Low numbered superparticular ratios tend to sound particularly harmonious.

Examples of superparticular scales:

just intonation diatonic: 1 9/8 5/4 4/3 3/2 5/3 15/8 2 steps 9/8 10/9 16/15 9/8 10/9 9/8 16/15

pentatonic: 1 9/8 5/4 3/2 5/3 2 steps 9/8 10/9 6/5 10/9 6/5

Scales for parts presets....

Presets for scales for parts - by fixed intervals, tonic shifts, CPS sets etc.

Rectangular Scale...

Make a custom size lambdoma or edit the scale directly...

Vary the Upper and Lower numbers to set the starting ratio for the Lambdoma region.

Vary the To numbers to vary the width and height.

You can use the Step parameter to make ones that play e.g. alternate ratios in the Lambdoma in each row (or column or both) - set it to 2 for alternate ratios, 3 for every three ratios and so on.

You can also edit any of the ratios individually. Just edit the number in the text area and the Lambdoma will instantly update to play the new pitch.

Note - when you vary the width, start ratio or steps then the numbers are re-generated and any editing you do is lost.

So - first set it to the desired height, width etc. Then do your editing. Save as a project for future reference or you can save all your settings for just this window using the O organise windows icon at top right which brings up the Organise Windows (F2 or Ctrl + 51)

After you vary the settings here, show the Lambdoma keyboard (the coloured square or diamond icon) - Ctrl + D or Ctrl + 136 - to see the results, and play it.

Rectangular keyboard Player...

Show Lambdoma notes as you play, & play them using mouse or PC Keyboard...


You can use the arrow keys to move a sustained chord around after you have played it.

Show the Bs | Notes Played window to see your notes in a score like form as dots on staffs.

Click on the music keyboard icons - to show the notes on a music keyboard as you play. You can also play the notes by clicking on the music keyboard picture.

The menu under the Tune Smithy icon at top left of the Lambdoma Keyboard picture has a quick link to the options for this keyboard.


Change layout, what to show, set moveable keyboard regions, shortcuts etc...

How to show this window - use To Show - Options in the main window for the Lambdoma task, keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 142

Choose what to show in the drop list at the top. To configure it in detail use the Configure what to Show, sustain and Mouse Ctrlrs button.

The moveable PC keyboard region is useful when you play from the PC keyboard, when you have the keyboard picture set up to show a larger region than the one spanned by your keyboard. You will be able to use the arrow keys and other shortcuts to move the playing region around within the on-screen keyboard.

The moveable Lambdoma keyboard region is useful similarly, if you have one of the Lambdoma keyboards and have the keyboard set up to show a larger region than the one spanned by your keyboard.

This window also has other options that affect the display of the on-screen keyboard.

There's also an option to make the parts depend on the row or column of the keyboard - this can be used to play a different instrument for each row, or column, of the on-screen keybooard.

Piano style Keyboard Player

This shows the notes on a picture of a piano style keyboard...

You see them here as you play from your midi keyboard. You can also play the notes by clicking on the dots on the keyboard using the PC keyboard or mouse.

Opts.... What to show on Piano style Keyboard Pictures

What to show on music keyboard pictures - note names, intervals etc...

Choose what to show on pictures of the music keyboard when you play notes. Also various other display options such as text size, width in octaves and so on.

This is for any of the windows that have a picture of the music keyboard - the main window Music Keyboard player, multi-line player, and the Scale, Arpeggio and Seed edit windows.

If you select the Beating Partials option - note that this will show the Beats window whenever you play a chord.

These music keyboard pictures - though very similar looking to a conventional music keyboard, actually have the white keys of two sizes - the D, G and A keys are a little broader than the others. This is so that the width of the key can correspond exactly to the pitch range that it spans.

The stretchy keyboard options let you show the normal music keyboard and below it, another version which is stretched or compressed to show the notes to press on your Midi keyboard to get the desired pitches. This can be useful when you play notes from a music keyboard in FTS or use FTS for composition retuning via Midi In.

Less <<

Shows this window with either less space, less options, or alternative layout

Help = F1

Click for help for this window. Or F1. Other opts: Shift , Alt, Ctrl + click...

F1 or click shows the help for the current window in your web browser.

Some windows may have no help yet in which case the help icon is shown crossed out with a red line.

Shift + F1 or Shift + Click brings up the tool tips extra help window (this window) to show any extra help for a tool tip.

You can tell if a tool tip has extra help if it ends ... like this one.

Ctrl + F1 or Ctrl + click takes you to the list of keyboard shortcuts for Tune Smithy.

Alt + F1 or Alt + click (alternatively Caps lock physically held down + F1 or Click) takes you to the on-line page at the web site about the current main window task - which gives a short introduction to it for newbies to the program. If there is no on-line page specific to a task, takes you to the main tune smithy page on the web site.

Since the help for Tune Smithy is currently a bit out of date and needs to be redone completely for the new 3.0 release, then you may find the on-line page for some of the newer tasks particularly useful.

Organise Windows = F2

Reset, or Save settings for this window. RIGHT CLICK for all windows menu...

Shows the Organise windows window - which you can use to reset all the parameters for the current window.

You can also use it to save the settings for just this window, or open previously saved parameters for just this window.

Also has a drop list of all the windows and their shortcuts, and related options - some to do with the menu listing, and some to do with window resizing and minimising.

Scales Dialog Star

Tip of the day - Scales category - right click for neighbouring windows...

Left click for a tip of the day in this category.

Right click to see a menu of neighbouring windows.

The neighbours are the ones you most often move to after this one or within a minute of this one, arranged by popularity.

So as you continue to use FTS, it will learn your habits, and the neighbouring windows listed here, should be the ones you most often visit after this one.

Neighbours, and Previous - Up - Next

Help For Tool Tip - Shift + F1 (Ctrl + 141)

New Scale (Ctrl + 5)

Organise windows (Ctrl + 51)

Twelve tone Mean Tones and Linear Temperaments (Ctrl + 53)

Tuner Options (Ctrl + 65)

Frequency Spectrum (Ctrl + 64)

N.B. This list of neighbours may change when these pages are updated.

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