Unlimited sketch pad instead of patterns

patterns are not good for composition. they are good for EDM. A scrollable sketch pad of unlimited blocks, easy to rearrange, would be much more composer-like.


Agreed. Scaler is less a true composition tool & more a ‘chord pattern suggestion pal’ as it stands. It’s very useful, indeed - but compositions often not written in patterns of 8 or less chords, unless the user is a hobbyist musician. Let’s get rid of patterns & introduce a malleable sketch page, shall we? Yes, indeed. That would be stellar!


What’s the difference between patterns and blocks?

Ah, to clarify: each chord in scaler is in a block that can be dragged around patterns of 8 blocks. A freely scrollable sketch pad with unlimited chords would be much more musical. Patterns of 8 are for EDM & loopy business. Not useful for composers.


Each of those blocks can host 8 chords and you can chain 56 blocks. That’s way more than what I need for a ‘sketch pad’. :man_shrugging:

Easy there. Maybe you didn’t understand what he wrote. He’s clearly writing about grouping chords in ‘patterns’ of 8, which is stiff and arbitrary. Maybe read it again?

And no, each pattern holds 8 chords, not each block. And yes, that’s the problem. And yes, many composers write progressions with far more than 56 chord changes. I wish I always wrote pieces with less than 56 chord changes, but I often don’t. Sounds convenient, haha!

Great suggestion, @maxbowie keep 'em coming!

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much thanks @terbano !

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It would be nice, if the side of the block had a visual part you could click, and stretch the length of the pattern you want. Instead of having to dive into the timings section.
Some playback timings presets would be a nice addition too… If you could click on playback presets, and have it set all of the durations for chords, based on some music standards…

At the risk of being controversial I have to disagree with a number of points raised here.

Many of the books about composition that I have read refer to patterns. If you have a motif that is repeated with variations are you not using patterns? - think Beethoven’s 5th for the simplest motif (4 notes) that is repeated several times with variations of pitch and tempo before there is an inversion of the motif and then a new motif (3 chords) at the conclusion of the phrase.

You are not restricted to writing patterns of 8 blocks and you can shorten to less than 8, or extend chord progressions across patterns. Although most of the preset patterns extend are 8 or fewer blocks some do extend over more that 8 blocks (e.g. Carl Cox 4 from the Artist presets is 21 blocks extending across 3 patterns). And it is worth remembering that a block is not necessarily 1 bar. You can change the length of the block either by the Timing setting on the EDIT page, or by utilising combination of Chord Duration in the Settings, the Timing setting on the EDIT page and Midi Binding to trigger each block for however long you want.

I have just, as an experiment, triggered a single chord for 40 bars at 280BPM in Ableton Live so there does not appear to be any restriction on song length, here.


If you extend your pattern to 16 blocks you can write in many different styles. In my experience many songs are written around 8 or 16 bars with one chord to each bar (think Reggae, Blues, Country and Western, Bach pieces from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena and the English Suites). Of course there are also many that are not based on 8 or 16 bars: 12 bar blues, 24 bar rock, etc.

If you think of the blocks as 56 chords that are triggered using midi (i.e. binding) then the possibilities extend beyond 7 patterns of 8 blocks each. So you are not restricted to 7 of patterns of 8.

Having said this I think that there have been a number of suggestions around some sort of user defined dynamics including timing of chords, and to increase the number of blocks, which I support.

Hopefully this is coming. But until it does, I believe we can introduce some flexibility through midi binding.