- Anyone uses Scaler 2 in the process of creating backing tracks?
For a long time, now, I’ve been on a kind of quest for “The Ideal Practice Tracks”. Maybe Scaler can help.
In Jazz improv, it’s quite common to practice using “backing tracks”, à la Jamey Aebersold. You improvise over the chord progression with the accompaniment of piano comping (or similar), bassline, and drums.
Traditionally (since 1967 for Aebersold), they were recordings made by studio musicians. The problem there is that each recording was made at a given tempo, in a given key. And though the parts were separated by channels so you could practice your comping or bass playing, you were limited in what you could do with those recordings.
For a long time, now, there have been software options like Band-in-a-Box (BiaB) which allow for a lot more flexibility. You can change tempo, transpose, change instruments, switch playing styles, modify some parts of the chord progression, etc.
Apart from BiaB, there’s iReal Pro, Mapping Tonal Harmony Pro, Genius Jamtracks, the Sessionband series, the iimprov series…
Of course, these things have limitations. Still, they serve a purpose.
I haven’t used BiaB itself in quite a long time. Part of the reason is that I find the UI really offputting, especially on Mac. There’s a very limited app for iPad which didn’t receive an update in 5 years. And it’s relatively pricey.
I prefer iReal Pro in terms of overall User Experience and the iPadOS version gets regular updates. It’s also quite inexpensive and users share in pretty much the same way as people do here. One thing I like is that it can export tracks to MIDI and MusicXML. However, it’s quite limited in the patterns it uses for each playing style. So things sound very repetitive, very quickly. Not as inspiring as it could be. It’s a bit as though we were using Scaler 2 with the same Playback Performance on every chord.
I often jam with tracks created in Scaler 2. While I enjoy that, I haven’t found a way to produce something satisfying in either basslines or comping.
Maybe some people here have found a way to leverage Scaler 2 for this?