Scaler will not detect a correct key?

I have a song I am working on that uses a very simple melody that I played by ear. I wanted to use Scaler to identify the key to aid in suggesting chord voicings etc.

The melody is admittedly a bit strange, but that is why I was trying to use Scaler.

The notes in the melody are:

B C C# D D# E F F# G

The chord progression I placed under it uses the same notes, and I have two counter melodies voiced with the same notes.

I ran SCALER on the melody track and it suggested B minor, which did not seem appropriate.

Any suggestions?

Scaler 2.7 on Win x64

Your melody is using a chromatic progression so many different scales will fit, but I don’t think there is a scale that includes all the notes.

Now I have played your chormatic sequence into Scaler and as you say it suggests B min as the most appropriate scale. However, it then suggests other scales below that C maj, E min, G maj… Without hearing the melody and counter melodies I don’t think anyone can suggest an appropriate scale to harmonise them. Even then it will be what they feel is appropriate, which may not be what you want.

What you could try is to play the melody and counter melodies into Scaler, and then try harmonising with one of the suggested scales by scrolling down the list of scales. It all depends on the style you are trying to produce: Sad, Serious; try the B min: Mysterious, Dark; try the C# Dorian b5: Hopeful, Dreaming, Yearning, Ethereal; try G the Lydian; and so on.

Hope this helps

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Thanks for the reply and the explanation. The melody uses the notes listed, but not in that order. Now that it is written in sequence it seems apparent that it is a Chromatic series. I guess I had wanted to find out that it was some sort of exotic scale more familiar to some other culture.

The song sounds “right” to me so I will let it be as is.

Long ago I studied “Music Theory for non-Majors” in college, so I have a great appreciation for traditional theory and the capability to use it to harmonize sound, but I have always been stuck in the habit of playing by ear. I am excited by the prospect that Scaler may help me connect with some of the formal knowledge that exists.

I think that learning to listen during the age of profusion for broadcast media attuned my ear to sounds that extend beyond the boundaries of the simple lessons I learned in school.

Thanks very much.

I looked at this in a slightly different way. As there are nine notes, if we want to fit them against a non-diatonic heptatonic scale, then 2 of them have to be accidentals.

If the starts on B, then the next note is a flat second, so that cuts down the choices for a scale, but would include
Dorian b2
Altered Dominant
Locrian #6
Phyrgian Major

I’ll throw them into my chord spread sheet and see what it comes up with. If you can identify the accidentals if it’s a 7 note scale, it could be identified more easily (assuming B is the root)

Otherwise , if it really is an enneatonic (9 note) scale, I have a definitive list of all scales (2049) within 12 TET, and I can check that later.

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Another thought: is to identify which notes in the melody are “scale notes” and which are “passing notes”. I believe that the scale notes are generally those on the accents (almost certainly the first beat of the bar and sometimes on other accented beats: e.g. in 4/4 the first beat will usually have the strongest accent and the second and fourth the weakest accents, unless we get into syncopation). Now take out the passing notes and simply play detect the scale notes with Scaler. Then choose one of the scales suggested.

But having

you probably know more about this than I do.

Hi @yorkeman , Thanks for considering the question.

The order of the note sequence played as the melodic theme is as such:

C D# D F D# F# F E C D# D F D# G F# C C D D# D F E F# G C D# E C# D C B C - repeat

Hi @ed66,
Thank you for the follow up suggestions.

According to my master list, there is no named 9 note scale with that pattern.

I suggest you think what notes could be thrown out as accidentals / passing notes. Candidates might be D# → E and F# → G. If you then think of within your melody as you might with pentatonics and ‘playing outside’, there are several scales which would give you 5 notes the scale within your melodic sequence.

Thank you for the suggestions.