Editing and creating scales

In this tour, you will learn how to edit scales in Melodyne as well as create them from scratch.

The extended scale functions

In this tour, we will pull the ‘drawer’ next to the pitch ruler further open and consider the functions for the editing and creation of scales. Right-click the pitch ruler and select from the context menu ‘Scale Editor’ followed by ‘Intervals and Degrees’ The drawer opens to reveal two new rulers: the mode ruler and the tuning ruler. Here we see the rulers in question:

Editing modes

The mode ruler allows you to define the degrees of your scale – the mode degrees – and their use.

When you right-click on a degree in the mode ruler, the following context menu appears and defines for this degree:

In the case of a scale exhibiting unequal temperament – one, in other words in which adjacent degrees are separated by varying numbers of cents, a crude transposition of the mode would disturb the ratios between the various degrees of the scale. Whenever this outcome is threatened, the ‘Lock Tuning and Mode’ function is activated automatically so that the degrees of the scale move ‘en bloc’ and the intervals between the degrees are preserved. If you prefer, however, you can activate or deactivate this function manually.

The text box at the top of the mode ruler allows you to assign a name to your scale.

Editing intervals

The degrees of a scale are defined by a tuning system whereby each degree is a specific distance from the tuning basis. This distance is described as an ‘interval’. The tuning therefore says nothing about the absolute pitch but simply expresses the ratios between the various degrees of the scale.

In the tuning ruler, you can see these intervals displayed in cents and can edit them. Just drag an interval upwards or downwards with the mouse to alter its tuning.

Intervals displayed as frequency ratios

Alternatively, you can define an interval as a frequency ratio. The interval of an octave, for example, is formed by the ratio 1:2. This is the function of the ratio ruler, which appears at the bottom of the screen when you click on an interval. Melodyne displays there the frequency ratios that are most relevant: i.e. the ones lying closest to the selected interval.

The brighter the highlighting, the closer the ratio to the selected interval. If you double-click on one of the ratios suggested, the ratio ruler engages and the cent display of the interval in question is updated to reflect your choice.

By dragging the upper half of the ruler, you can set any ratio you want. To move the entire ruler, drag the lower half. If you check the box marked ‘All’ in the ratio ruler, Melodyne will no longer preselect ratios for you but simply display all possible ratios that approximate to the current interval.

Defining intervals

Right-clicking on any interval in the tuning ruler opens the following context menu:

The text box at the top of the tuning ruler allows you to enter a name for the tuning system of your scale.

Tip: If you hold down the Shift key and click between two intervals, you can insert a new interval at the position of the mouse cursor. Hold down the Shift key and double-click on an existing interval to delete it.

Creating your own scales

To create a scale from scratch, right-click on an interval in the tuning ruler and select ‘Create New Scale Based on ...’ from the context menu. A new window opens offering you the choice initially between a cyclic and non-cyclic scale.

Working with stretch tuning

With upright and grand pianos, the higher registers are generally sharpened slightly and the lower registers flattened; the tuning, in other words, is stretched. If you now work in Melodyne with equal temperament, the desired stretch tuning will be lost. To avoid this, select Stretch Tuning ... from the context menu of the tuning ruler and a window will open allowing you to define the stretch curve.

By double-clicking on the graph, you can create handles with which you can drag the curve to obtain the desired characteristic. Double-click on a handle to remove it.