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#1 2014-06-03 17:47:51

From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2014-05-23

Setting a musical scale

imitone listens to pitches and selects the nearest musical note to play -- but sometimes there are notes that "sound wrong" for the current song, which we do not want to play.  We can solve this by setting a scale.

A musical scale is, roughly speaking, a set of notes that work well together.  The simplest example is the white keys on a piano -- that's the key of C major.  The chromatic scale, which imitone uses by default, includes all twelve of the keys on a piano keyboard, and these do not play together quite so well.  The result is that when using imitone many unwanted notes are heard if you sing out of key.

This makes life very difficult when trying to sing a specific song:  if you're not capable of singing or playing in near-perfect tune, you need to know what key the song is in.  Otherwise, the notes imitone plays will not match your own.  I plan on solving this problem with a feature that automatically detects your song's key based on a few seconds of singing.

Improvising is a little easier: we can set any old key, begin singing and try to harmonize with what we hear.  So far, this has been my preferred way to play with imitone.

The current controls for setting a scale are temporary and involve clicking on the piano keys in the imitone window.

  • Right click on one of the keys to set the corresponding major scale.  For instance, right-click C for C major and the black keys will shut off.

  • Left click on one of the piano keys to toggle it on or off individually.  (this is for manually choosing other kinds of scales.)

Inactive keys currently appear faded.  I plan on changing the design to make it clearer when black keys have been turned off.

I'm working to make imitone a tool which can be used without a strong understanding of music theory, but it's helpful to know the basics.  Refer to Keys and Chords at bytenoise for a primer.


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