What hidden (or not so hidden) Scaler features did you wish you knew about earlier?

If you’ve spent at least a little time working with Scaler, you’ve probably discovered a number of little features that you wish you had known about sooner. For me, many were duh! moments or shared by the dev team or other users, while some took some exploring and experimenting. Some might be documented, while some maybe not, some might be obvious and some not so much. Regardless, why not share them here for other to find quickly?

Ver 2.3.1 on Windows -
[Caveat - As far as I can tell, a couple of these “features” are not documented and therefore could be changed, deprecated or removed in future versions]

1. Control Click/Lasso on any selection of chords to maintain selection sequence. Ctrl click and or ctrl lasso on any chord(s) in any section to select and maintain the order in which you selected them. You will know you are in this mode when numbers appear on chords in the lower left corner (the 1st chord will show a + not a 1 and won’t show up until you select the 2nd chord). You can now drag or right click the chords for actions in the order you selected them. This is a quick way pull specific chords sequences when you are creating multiple patterns or dragging straight to your DAW (note: if this does not appear to be working, be sure you clicked Unselect All from the right menu and then drag any chord just a tiny bit without control and then try again.

2. Right click to preview chord(s) Since I typically have the Scaler UI scaled fairly small, unfortunately I never paid a lot of attention to all of the dynamic options on the Right Click menu. Preview Selected Chord(s) was there all the time. With Control Click above, this is a great way to quickly preview chords in a specific sequence without having to build a pattern

3. Lasso or ctrl click to select multiple Patterns for sequential play . In Pad view, dragging (or ctrl clicking) to select multiple patterns lets you play those patterns sequentially. You cannot select patterns in a particular order like described in #1 above, but you can select any chords across all patterns using control click/lasso to maintain their selection order and then act on them.

4. Clearing state does not clear Playback Timing in Pattern 1 This took a while to determine and was the source of confusion for a bit. When you Clear State (from the right click menu on the Scaler logo) not all session state is cleared. It seems that any playback timing changes that you’ve made w/in pattern 1 are maintained. You can clear these individually within the editor or with the garbage can adjacent to the expand icon in the Playback Timings edit area image

5. Performance midi is written directly to chords as soon as you turn on PERFORM mode. (Definitely the biggest of my “I wish I knew that before” moments). From the start, I was under the false impression that when PEFORM mode was active, Scaler was actively “playing” the chords using the current PERFORM settings. Because of this, I spent a ton of time using PERFORM and Scaler’s Midi Capture to capture the midi performance so I could feed it back into Scaler or work with it directly in my DAW. However, it appears that is not the case and understanding it made a huge impact on my workflow.
As far as I can tell, as soon as you turn on PERFORM, Scaler effectively applies the related midi PERFORM codes to each chord instantly (this is my description of the magic going on under the hood). This is probably why you can change all PERFORM settings while playing live and Scaler rarely misses a beat (pun intended)
Understanding this lets me:

  • Drag CHORDS with the currently active PERFORM data directly to my DAW
  • Quickly combine different PERFORM sequences in my DAW without building a pattern 1st
  • As a bonus … If while PERFORM is active you drag chords outside the Scaler UI window and then back in (with or without dropping outside Scaler) it triggers a detect of the embedded performance midi and results in chords and notes that you might be able to use in other ways. (this is different than just selecting Detect from the right menu which will give you the chord only)
    Depending on the PERFORM mode you have selected, you may get just a couple or maybe many chords, some will be simple some more complex (including many duplicates and individual notes you cannot act on directly w/in Scaler) but they will all be in key and they let you quickly explore other voicings and closely related chords. This was a very practical way to explore the extract/apply voicings function.
    As for those notes you can’t act on in section A, they can hold PERFORM info (when active) that you can access from your DAW, but you will need to either use MIDI Capture or the original Chords to access it.
    Try this….After you’ve done a detection on performance midi and have a bunch of chords in the detect area , try enabling PERFORM, binding section A and playing the detected chords (or just hit the play button while you cycle through the PERFORM / Voicings and Humanize settings. (you might want to remove some of the duplicate chords & notes or let it play as is) Some/most will be of little use, but you’ll also likely stumble onto some pretty interesting stuff. This is a quick way to look for those happy accidents and as a beginner, this is a great way to poke around under Scaler’s hood.

Hopefully others will share some favorites. If not, I hope this helped a bit.


This is what distinguishes between a :rabbit: composer and a sound engineer

I possibly find some tip here and there, but I am basically an impulsive :rabbit: composer

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Definitely not a sound engineer…not that bright. :wink:

I think for me a major moment was when I discovered the rhythmicality of Scaler, in the alternative time signatures. I shared this discovery in a post, when I attached percussive sounds to the different rhythms. I guess it wasn’t apparent to me that you didn’t just have to play harmonic/melodic chords, but varying the timing of performances is also a major capabilities with Scaler, specifically 2.3 This opened the door for polyrhythmic exploration, which is one of my musical passions.
Like this…Scaler 2 Polyrhythms by Bernd@PDX (soundcloud.com)


Very helpful tips, thanks a lot!

My pleasure Thomas…tons of stuff to explore in Scaler
Feel free to add items you stumble onto that you wish you knew earlier. Especially in software, what might be apparent to some is likely hidden to others.


Kinda feel like this should be a sticky.

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Nice list!
@Bernd had shared the “multiselect pattern selector buttons” tip in another thread, which isn’t discoverable and quite useful (especially when using a MIDI controller with more than 8 keys/pads).
Haven’t really made discoveries in the plugin.
Something I found interesting is the way different sections handle patterns with more than 8 chords. Dragging a pattern with 9 chords from the A section to the C one will create an extra pattern with one chord. Didn’t know what would happen (and hadn’t noticed that the A section could have more than 8 chords in a pattern).

Something which is obvious for anyone who’s used the plugin yet quite rare among similar tools is the way voicings are handled. It’s remarkable how many plugins there are which mostly work in root position or with simple inversions. What makes Scaler’s voicing features less discoverable than they could be is that there’s no hint about voicing on chord pads: two chord pads can display exactly the same information though they contain different voicings. It makes sense in context (the display focuses on chord quality and function). Yet the casual observer might only notice Scaler’s power through practice. (Surely, there are ways to indicate that pads have different voicings. In traditional notation, chord inversions carry different numbers. There could even be tiny diagrams. Or colour-coding.)


Great post. Thanks for sharing.