The pitch grid and scales
- • Melodyne's scale functions
- • Choosing the pitch grid
- • The scale and reference pitch rulers
- • Adjusting the master tuning
- • Selecting the tonic and scale variety
- • The Open Scale window
In this tour, you will learn about Melodyne’s pitch grid and find out how to select different scales for the grid.
Melodyne's scale functions
In Melodyne, you can change the pitch of notes either continuously or in such a way that they snap to a grid. If the snap function is active, notes can only be moved to pitches allowed by the grid. The grid can be based on the chromatic scale, the scale of C Major or any other scale.
Choosing the pitch grid
The context menu on the pitch ruler offers you three basic settings for the snap function:
- No Snap: the pitch ruler displays for purposes of clarity only faint lines between the notes.
- Chromatic Snap: notes snap to the nearest point on the chromatic scale and the lines on the ruler are more boldly displayed.
- Scale Snap: uses initially the nearest major or minor scale, as determined by Melodyne based on its analysis of the audio material. The tonic (or ‘keynote’) thus ascertained is highlighted in the pitch ruler. Naturally you can alter the scale and tonic, as we will explain shortly.
The scale and reference pitch rulers
To select and use scales, choose Scale Editor from the context menu of the pitch ruler and check the option Selection and Master Tuning. Now, to the left of the pitch ruler, two new columns appear.
Adjusting the master tuning
The narrow column on the very left is the reference pitch ruler. Drag up and down the mark alongside any note – A4, for example. A frequency ruler appears for you to consult as you fine-tune the note in question – and with it, of course, all the other notes of the scale. What you are doing here is adjusting the master tuning for the entire pitch grid. A tip: increase the vertical zoom factor, as this will make it easier for you to locate the value you want.
By right-clicking any of the marks on the ruler, you can open a small context menu. This offers a number of pointers to help you bring the pitch grid swifly into line with a particular tuning:
- At the top, you will see the current frequency of the note selected.
- Standard: bases the tuning on modern standard concert pitch (where A4 = 440 Hz).
- Default: bases the tuning on the frequency currently assigned to A in the Preferences dialog.
- Detected: bases the tuning on Melodyne’s analysis of the music being edited – the original tuning.
- Set as Default: tells Melodyne to use the current value as the default tuning for new documents and adjusts the value in the Preferences dialog accordingly.
The various values for A4, incidentally, can be found quickly by clicking the tuning fork icon at the top of the reference pitch ruler. By typing into the box immediately below this icon, you can assign to A4 any frequency you like.
Selecting the tonic and scale variety
The wider ruler next to the reference pitch ruler is the scale ruler. Here you can select the ‘tonic’ (i.e. the first degree or keynote) of the scale as well as its mode or type. First click on the note you wish to use as the tonic. The following menu opens:
- Related scales: in the top part of the menu, you will find a varying number of scales preceded by a “=” sign. These are scales that correspond to the current scale but are differently named. Please note that when you select a related scale from this menu, only the main structure of the mode in question is adopted: the scale is simply given a new name and, if applicable, a new tonic. It can be, however, that the exact definition of the related scale in question contains additional secondary degrees or fine-tuning. If you wish to use these, please choose Open Scale... from the Scale drop-down menu.
- The current note: in the middle of the submenu, grayed out, you will see the name of the note you have clicked on and which you can now make the tonic.
- Major / Minor: Allows you to select a major or minor scale with the note selected as tonic. To select C Major, for example, click ‘C’ in the ruler, followed by ‘C Major’ from the submenu.
- Open Scale... : opens Melodyne’s open scale dialog and, with it, access to a large collection of additional scales.
- Notes Reflect Scale Changes: normally when you change the scale, Melodyne adjusts the pitch grid but does not change the notes themselves unless you double-click on them first, in which case they will snap to the grid. If, however, you wish the notes to adjust automatically to any change of scale, check this option. Any changes in the scale will then take effect immediately and you will hear them at once during playback.
- Play Scale: plays the current scale.
Tip: Initialize the key prior to the transfer/load: In the case of monophonic or polyphonic audio material, Melodyne also recognizes the key of the music. With short melodic phrases, however, the key chosen is often not the one intended, simply because too few notes are available for a correct appraisal. To prevent this happening, you can set the key using the Scale ruler of an empty instance of the plug-in or an empty document (if using the stand-alone implementation of the program) before the transfer or loading of an audio file. To do this, simply click on the desired keynote in the scale ruler and select the desired scale from the context menu. Melodyne will then retain this initialized value, regardless of its own subsequent analysis.
The Open Scale window
Melodyne’s open scale dialog offers a variety of scales you can select, listen to, and use.
Just click on the desired scale to select it and on the loudspeaker icon if you wish to hear it played through.
If you have activated the option Notes Follow Scale Changes, during playback you will hear immediately the effect of applying the scale selected to your audio material. The window allows you to try out (or ‘audition’) different scales quickly and easily. If you wish to adopt the changes, exit the window with OK; otherwise click Cancel.