Motifs of the same letter not in the same key?

Hi there,

In my (more or less) “musical” explorations, I tend to mix a lot of melodic elements and sequences together, to find harmonies and interesting melodies/rhythms. In Scaler 2.2+ I somehow assumed that the new Motifs of the same letter (A1…A…) are "compatible with each other (I think it’s called being in the same key/scale?). But when I play A1 and A2 simultaneously, it “bites”, doesn’t sound harmonic. I don’t understand enough of music theory yet to “see” it obviously in the keys being played. It just sounds harsh and dissonant. So I wanted to check whether I am understanding something wrong, or if it was intentional that all Motifs within the same letter group (say A1-A4) are of different keys/scales. If so, how is it possible that when you play “Motif A All” that it sounds good? Again, probably my limited music theory understanding being the issue here, but that’s one of the purposes I use Scaler for, to get a better grasp at scales, keys, harmonies, melodies, etc.

Thanks much for any enlightening feedback!

Have you tried setting the performance to either CHORD or SCALE? If I understand correctly if set to chord the Motif uses only the notes in the chord and if set to SCALE it uses any notes of the scale so it seems possible notes may be out of the chord being played by (I assume) the other Scaler playing at the same time.

Hi @Bernd

it’s an interesting question, the patterns are not all in one key/scale. They are for most of them, but due to the way they are written and analyzed, it is hard to enforce hard rules.
We had to make some choices, and at the moment, some parts might be slightly off when played individually.

The best way to check is to listen to the full pattern over one chord, it gives a lot of info on how the pattern is played and what you can do with it. This is then usually easy to fix by tweaking the chord you are triggering or by changing the chord/scale mode in the EDIT Panel.

It is also possible that we made a mistake, it might be the case here if the “All” motif sounds good :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Hi @Ed1

I didn’t mean to imply there was a mistake in Scaler. Just trying to understand what it is supposed to do, versus what I assume/expect it to do.

Having thought about it some more, I think it’s perfectly possible that notes that are part of a harmonic melody (in sequence) don’t necessarily sound good when they are played at the same time, which would happen if I play the different sequences of a motif (say A1+A2+A3+A4) in parallel.

You got me thinking now on how the motif sequences relate to scales. I’ve been using the artist chord progressions to work with, so not any explicit scale. So I will have to explore how the melodies from the motifs relate to scales while relating to the artists chord progressions. I think I might have mixed up terms casually. An artists chord progression is probably already implied to be in a certain key/scale?

It’s all part of the fun to try out what happens, and learn what sounds good and what could sound better :wink: Please don’t waste any resources/time in “investigating” my question. 99% chance is that I don’t know what I am doing and I’ll book it under looking for happy accidents :slight_smile:
Thanks for your response tho!


Hi @jamieh

I used the default CHORD setting. And of my little experiment I typically stay within the same chord, while playing the different sub-melodies for a given Motif (say A). In that case it behaves the same whether I’d be in Scale or Chord mode. Per your suggestion, I was just trying out the SCALE setting. It doesn’t seem to make a difference in my little experiment.

But having it setup from scratch again, I don’t get the extreme disharmonics now. I think the 4 different Scaler instances might have played on different chords in the progression at the same time. Because now that I ensured they only have C Major chord to work with, all A1…A4 Motif melodies harmonize fine, sound like a Canon / a Fugue.

I think I solved my own issue! :wink:

Thanks guys for the guidance!

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Oh yes! Now that I have it setup cleanly (keep playing exactly one chord, same chord, across all Scaler instances simultaneously) while having each of the 4 Scaler instances running a DIFFERENT Motif (A,B,C,D, sub melody number doesn’t matter), it sounds beautiful! Exactly the result I was after, like an ensemble of 4 Pianos playing a Fugue or Canon. So my insight is, and to clarify for Ed… you can play any Motif letter and any sub-motif number simultaneously, as long as they run on the same underlying chord at the same time. I suspect that was the intention of the Scaler design. Well done!

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Just to clarify, each melody is made up of four variations. Lets look at A All, A1/2/3/4:
A1 Question
A2 Answer
A3 Revised Question
A4 Conclusive Answer
A ALL : all of them in sequence.
So effectively they are meant to play sequentially to make for a varied melodic line.
When we write them we are tying to be harmonically interesting but that presents Ed and the DEV team with some conundrums, flatten? sharpen? So we have to individually solve those issues.
To surmise, the intention is that they are not designed to be played on top of each other but the beauty of scaler is anything and everything is possible. In your instance you have played it safe by sticking to the one chord which means more expressions would work.
Hope that helps a bit


Thanks @davide that’s a great clarification. (as a musical newbie) I heard of the Question/Answer concept in music before, that helps put it into perspective. Part of what I like about this complexity is that there is always something new to discover. In a way I like it that the names are all we have and don’t “see” (like piano roll style) the actual melodies, because it invites us to explore and discover, by ear, instead of the usual “pain the piano roll” - at least for me. I am all for “happy accidents”, and Scaler does enable those plenty :slight_smile: