Voice Grouping: Limitations, frustrations, and potential solutions

Voice grouping is quite cumbersome and one of the first major annoyance since I recently started using Scaler.

People that already have a good understanding of voice grouping aren’t using Scaler.
98.7% of users just pick a global voicing that sounds the best, then get annoyed the moment they try to edit a chord.

They are many ways to make this simple and intuitive rather than a frustrating limitation and workflow killer:
1) “Apply global voicings to selected chords.”/ “Apply global voicings to active pattern as new pattern (non-destructive).” etc. Then global voice grouping could be disabled and chords edited freely.

2) There’s free GUI space above the MIDI Capture button. Duplicate the voice grouping functionality there. By default it’s linked to the global setting, unlinking allows independent voice grouping per pattern. This would make presets far more useful since it would be simple to create voicing variations for identical chord progressions within the same preset. Users could also save presets with all their favorite voicing options as starting points.

3) Simply allow changing voicings with Global Voicing active using the automatic voicing as the starting point which is what most people are trying to do. The only time a manually changed chord might interfere with the existing global voicing is in dynamic mode, but the algorithm could just ignore the user changes and base the next chords voicing on the unedited version. That way the next chord’s voicing isn’t affected by the changes to the previous one.

4) Treat voice grouping like playback performances, per chord. Just add a voice grouping drop-down for each chord. If it’s not 100% identical and has some quirks this could be a feature, not a bug. If it creates issues for dynamic voicing, refer to above.

5) The functionality limitations seems to be because the chord voicings section in the edit tab occurs before global voice grouping making it useless. Global voicing should occur prior to the chord voicing settings. Whether an inversion or +/- 12 semitones is applied to the original chord or the global voicing output is irrelevant. MIDI is MIDI. We can we add 11 semi-tones to a chord in the edit tabe with global voicing grouping active but the 12 semi-tone somehow becomes impossible? :man_shrugging:

These are just a few ideas, the most important thing is a straightforward way to use global voice grouping without limiting one of the most important and primary functions of a plugin like Scaler, which is editing chords. If any of these changes break some arcane music theory rule from the 1800’s, nobody cares. If it sounds right to the user, it’s right. :wink:

Anyway, I don’t mean to sound overly blunt, it’s a great plugin at a more than fair price. I’d just prefer to be making music than writing another thread expressing frustration with Scaler’s voice grouping.


98.7%!? that is very precise!!

Thanks for the feedback @Atom
I always circumvent the voice grouping global application by turning it on, then right clicking on the chord (in section C) and then ‘Extract Voicing’ - from there I can turn off the global voicing and ‘Apply Voicing’ by right clicking on any chord. You can also apply voicing profiles to individual chords by Selecting the Voice Grouping Profile under Playback Performances. Do these methods help your workflow?

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Grand idea! I had not thought of this. Will be using it from now on. Cheers!

Thanks for the reply.

The profile under playback performances is similar to what I what I was looking for, but I overlooked it as it doesn’t appear until selecting a new group.Unfortunately I think it still has the same issue of affecting the chord voicing after it’s been manually edited meaning the playback voicing differs from the voicing in chord edit mode.

Extract and apply (+performance section groups) only works in the C section.
What if I want to test voicings in sections A or B to find out what chords I’m actually going to use in a progression? Turn on global voicing to preview… switch to edit mode… go to performance… manually change any chords in global mode so they aren’t impacted.
And after all that it’s back to all or nothing in B/C with no way to keep desired voicings for specific chords. :man_shrugging:

Far more intuitive in my opinion would be the ability to select any chords in section A, B or C, right-click, and “apply global voicing to selected chords” and “apply extracted voicing to selected chords”.

Previewing suggested chords/chords in a scale would be far more useful when creating progressions with richer voicings spread over multiple octaves, as a bland 3 note/1 oct Cm chord from section A or B won’t sound right even if it’s the perfect chord if heard in context with voicings used in the progression.

I don’t doubt there’s a way to do what I want already, but it’s confusing with multiple edit tabs, voice grouping areas etc. which aren’t reflected when editing chords. The suggestion above is a fast way to make sure what you see (in edit mode) is what you get. Global presets are more useful as preferred voicings for chords in A/B can be saved which is helpful even if they aren’t used in current progression.

Another possibility would be adding a voicing section to the right-click menu of all chords (A/B/C) which applies a voicing and is reflected in chord edit mode (i.e allow editing the applied voicing, not the original). To reset to the unaltered original “reset” or “original” could be chosen from the menu.

The main point is with things as important as chord editing/voicing/preview should have multiple ways to achieve the desired results depending on the user’s workflow rather than one method that requires careful reading of the manual or stumbling on a forum reply. :wink: