Music Theory - How do you use scaler to learn?

Lately I’ve been interested on using Scaler 2 to improve my music theory knowledge. I’m in the very basics tho, I know some major and minor scales and a few chord types. Mostly my way to “study” is to select a scale and check the different chords. Usually the ones Scaler gives sound okay, but for the type of music I want to make(Disco, Neo Soul, Funk) I would like to see how I could learn and explore more. Any tips or suggestions on how to dig deeper on Scaler as a learning and composing tool? :thinking:

I would class myself the same as you as a ‘noob’, but I can share a couple of thoughts on how I’ve approached it (in no order).

1 I sense that keyboard , guitar and ‘orchestrally’ focussed musicians tend to come from slightly different directions. You will see that on this board with discussions on Scaler and chords. Many guitar players will look at scales from a modal perspective, whereas I suspect keyboard folk less so. You can write down a dozen things that you can’t do on a keyboard that you can do on a guitar, and vice versa, so the sounds and how they come together in a piece are different.

2 For me, a great benefit of scaler is the ease with which it’s possible to audition sounds and scales and HEAR , for example, the difference between Lydian and Ionian. Lydian and Ionian differ by one note, so recognising the sound I think is valuable.
I think that will help with composition, as it helps when building a progression to know what might ‘fit’. Composing and arranging for an orchestra is different planet stuff and suspect that needs much more knowhow than I will ever have.

3 Luckily, there is a lot of good web resource for music (as well as a lot of bad) , but if you choose carefully that will help your learning.

4 “Disco, Neo Soul, Funk”
Scaler has Disco and Funk songs, so pull up those and look at the chords, and listen to the progressions. Look at section 2 - these are the harmonized chords of the scale used, and you need to know how these are built from the root chord. How do they relate to the song progression you pulled up? Are there any chords that are not listed in section 2 ? where did they come from ?

Then try applying performances against the chords … what works and what doesn’t? Why? Try the Melody items against the chords, then mix them up on the edit page.
You should soon start to know what fits with what you want to do, and you can start building your own pieces.

In my very limited experience I’ve found mixing theory with listening to the sounds is the best way to pick up both, rather than studying the theory in isolation. Scaler is imply the best tool there is IMHO to do this.

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I too am not very well versed in the theory, but I find Scaler can help generate harmonic ideas that I analyse to hopefully increase my understanding of harmonic progressions. To this end I sometimes:

Select a song or Artists progression

create a pattern with the first few blocks in the progression (say the first three or four)

and duplicate the pattern.

In pattern 1 I add the next block from the original progression.

In the next pattern I might use something from the SUGGEST option

and on the next one I may use something from a secondary progression or some other modulation on the MOD page

By listening to these and then trying to understand why Scaler suggested these chords I hope to improve my understanding of harmony theory.

As @yorkeman said

Orchestration requires understanding the ranges and pitches of the ,different instruments, and I think this is way outside Scaler’s or I think most other harmonising software’s capabilities. There may be software that can do it, but I suspect it will be very expensive.

But if you want to develop your composition then I think Scaler is very good. It is very easy to try different progressions of chords and from what you hear decide what works within the context of what you are trying to achieve,

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I’ll have a look at Disco and Funk progressions to analyze them. I think, as I experiment with those and try to analyze why a certain chord sounds good with others (Besides I-IV-V or the typical ones). The main reason I’m using scaler is to escape from those standard progressions

I will have to check out how to generate the secondary progressions. Are these based on other relative scales?. Regarding modulation, I don’t know how modulation works tho. Interesting!

Then you have a perfect tool for exploring that goal.

Having, say, picked “70’s funk and soul 4”, in section 2 you can look at ‘variations’

Shown are variations on the tonic, E. So look at the last chord in section 3 Emaj/G# , preceded by Amaj. Now click on Amaj and then Emaj/G#. Now try Amaj and them the last chord in section 2, Emaj9. How’s that ? Try another . … the journey starts!

Where you should head for is the Modulation page … there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are some great videos on line done by @davide and co, and you will soon be cranking out your own unique progressions.

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Just to clarify, modulation is when you move the progression away from the scale and key in which you are working. In Scaler the chords with grey bars are outside the scale in which you are working.

@yorkeman is absolutely correct about Scaler being the iperfect tool for exploring your goal. Use it with the other vital tool, your ears. If it sounds good then it is good.

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Does scaler does this automatically? showing the non-standard progressions in grey?