Scale Analyzer Users Manual

Getting Started

The Scale Analyzer is very easy to use and provides a lot of information in a small area. the recommended way to learn to use it is to read the brief Overview below, and then experiment. Since this page is opened in a separate window from the Scale Analyzer, it can remain open as a help reference. While using the Analyzer, a "tool tip" appears when the cursor hovers over each screen object. This identifies a section of this manual for which there will be a link in the Navigation Menu to the left of this page. Clicking on the indicated link will display the section that describes the meaning and behavior of the screen object. The Navigation Menu remains visible, so accessing subsequent help sections is convenient.

Overview

The Scale Analyzer Window consists of two individually scrollable display sections (Frames): the Analyzer Frame and the Text Frame. In the Analyzer Frame, the user specifies a Scale for which a Scale Map is to be diplayed by selecting the Scale Type, Key, and Mode. A Scale Map indicates all places on the Fretboard where Notes in the selected Scale can be played. The user can also select a Scale Position (region of interest on the Fretboard) for which one or more recommended Methods (paths on the Fretboard) for playing the Scale are presented. As each option is chosen, the application places explanatory information in the Text Frame that is relevent to the currently selected option set.

The window you are viewing is the Document Window, which can remain open while using the Scale Analyzer. Besides the current document (Users Manual), several other documents can be displayed here. Information displayed in the Document Window can be controlled by activating links in the the Navigation Menu to the left of this window, links embedded in the text of the Document Window, or links in the Analyzer Frame. If the Document Window is closed when a link in the Analyzer Frame is activated, the Document Window is reopened, and the appropriate information displayed.

A detailed explanation of each component of the Scale Analyzer Window is provided in subsequent sections of this Users Manual.

Navigation Menu

The Navigation Menu appears on the left side of the Document Window and remains stationary and conveniently accessible while moving through the text. The Navigation Menu is divided into three sections: A link to the Scale Analyzer Window (displayed in light blue), Links to other documents (displayed in blue), and links to sections of the current document (displayed in white).

The Scale Analyzer is displayed in a separate window. If the Scale Analyzer Window is open when the Scale Analyzer Link is activated, the existing window is brought to the foregroung. Otherwise, the Scale Analyzer Window is opened.

All all other linked information is displayed in the Document Window. There are five documents that are mutally accessible through these Navigation Menu:

When any of these documents are displayed, the Navigation Menu is altered to include links to the other four documents, and to the Scale Analyzer. Also, the list of "local" (white) links is replaced with a list that is appropriate for the newly diplayed document. The user can return through previously displayed locations by using the "Back" control on the Browser.

Analyzer Frame

The Analyzer Frame is the top section of the split screen Scale Analyzer Window. It contains all controls for diplaying Scale Maps, Scale Methods, and Tablature.

Analyzer Frame Menu

The Analyzer Frame Menu is at the top-left of the Analyzer Frame. It allows the user to display the following documents in the Document Window:

If the Document Window is open when the Menu Item is activated, the existing window is brought to the foregroung. If the selected document is already displayed in the existing window, its scroll position is unchanged, otherwise it is displayed at its beginning. If the Document Window is closed when the Menu Item is activated, the Document Window is opened with the selected document.

Scale Information

The Scale Information Display provides information about the Notes of the currently selected Scale. There are three components of the Scale Information Display:

Notes In Scale

This section of the Scale Information Display lists the Notes that comprise the Scale of the currently selected Key/Mode. These are the same Notes that comprise the Major Scale of the Related Key, but the respective Scale Degree values may differ.

Degrees Of Scale

This section of the Scale Information Display lists the Scale Degree coresponding to each Note in the Scale of the selected Key/Mode, identified in the Notes In Scale section.

Degrees Of Related Scale

This section of the Scale Information Display lists the Scale Degree of the Related Key of each Note in the selected Key/Mode, identified in the Notes In Scale section. If the Related Key does not differ from the selected Key/Mode (eg., if the selected Mode is Ionian), this information is not displayed.

Position Shift

The Position Shift Display is the white area just above the Fretboard Display. It identifies pairs of Notes in a Scale between which change in Fretboard Position occurs (Shift). The the fret at which the lower Note is played is marked with an "upward pointer" (">") and the fret of the higher Note is marked with a "downward pointer" (">"). There can be multiple Position Shifts for as given Scale. If the lower Note in a shift is on an open string, the shift pointers will be displayed in black, indicating a Free Shift. Closed Shifts are displayed in red, indicating greater difficulty.

The Position Shift Display is supressed when a "Melodic" or "Partial Melodic" Method has been selected. This is because Melodic Technique involve "shifts" between the Open Position and a higher Position on the Fretboard as often as every other Note. The information about Position Shifts is not useful for those situations.

Fretboard

The Fretboard Display is the area of the screen with the simulated Fretboard image. Over the intersection of each string and fret, a Note or Scale Degree may be displayed, if that Note is a member of the currently selected Scale. The choice of Note versus Scale Degree is controlled by the Note Display Type Toggle.

If the Scale Position is unspecified, a Scale Map will be displayed. That is, all places are indicated on the Fretboard where any Note in the selected Key/Mode can be played.

If the selected Scale Position has any other value, a Scale Method will be displayed. That is, any given Tone in the Scale will be displayed at a unique place on the Fretboard, thus indicating a recommended Method (path on the Fretboard) for playing the Scale.

The user can control the appearance of displayed Notes by use of the Emphasized Notes Control. This allows the user to specify certain Scale Degrees to be displayed with a brighter background color (blue as opposed to navy). This can aid the user in visualizing Note patterns on the Fretboard.

When a Scale Method is being displayed, the user can view the location of unused Notes in the Scale by two methods. One is by using the Display Unused Notes Check Box, which causes all unused Notes to be displayed as background (in cyan). The location of a single unused Note can be determined by hovering the cursor over the Fretboard (within the Note range implied by the Position). When the cursor is over a string/fret that is a Note in the Scale, the cursor changes from a pointer to an "I bar". By clicking on such a string/fret, the Note or Scale Degree will be displayed in white, and the existing Tone in the display will be blanked. Clicking a second time will return the display to the prior state. If Tab is generated when such changes to the Scale display have been made, the Tab will include the changes.

Note: As is usual in Windows applications, the "I bar" indicates that the user can type data onto the screen. If the user does so, it will be ignored by the Scale Analyzer.

Fretboard Position

The Fretboard Position Display is the white area just below the Fretboard Display. It identifies those frets where the I, IV, and V chords are played for the Related Key. These are reference frets for the Scale Positions (I-, I+, VI-, VI+, and V) each of which identifies a consistent pattern of Notes (see the discussion of Closed Positions).

Scale Selection

The information presented on the Fretboard Display is controlled by the selection of up to five options, which specify the Scale Type, Key, Mode (if applicable), Position, and Method (if applicable) that are used to determine the nature of the display. These options are described in the following subsections.

Scale Type

The Scale Type Selection Option allows the user to specify the Scale Type of interest. When a new selection is made, the Mode Option is set to the default for the newly selected Scale Type, and the Method Option is set to the defaut value of "Standard". This is true even if these options are not displayed. The display behavior depends on how the Key and Position options are set:

Information from the Scale Theory document describing the specified Scale Type can be displayed in the Document Window at any time. This is done by clicking the "Scale Type" label/link next to the Scale Type Selection Option. There are currently only four Scale Type options, one of which is not actually a Scale Type (Arpegio). This list will increase as research continues.

Key

The Key Selection Option allows the user to specify the Key of interest. When a new selection is made, the Method is set to the defaut value of "Standard". This is true even if this option is not displayed. The display behavior depends on how the Position option is set:

Information from the Analysis Results document describing the specified Key can be displayed in the Document Window at any time. This is done by clicking the "Key" label/link next to the Key Selection Option. The displayed information discusses the Major Scale for the Key, assesses the difficulty of playing in the Key, identifies what other Keys use the Major Scale for different Modes, etc.

Mode

The Mode Selection Option is only visible for Scale Types that have Modes, and allows the user to specify the Mode of interest. When a new selection is made, the Method is set to the defaut value of "Standard". This is true even if this option is not displayed. The display behavior depends on how the Position option is set:

Information from the Scale Theory document describing the specified Scale Type/Mode can be displayed in the Document Window at any time. This is done by clicking the "Mode" label/link next to the Mode Selection Option.

Position

The Position Selection Option allows the user to specify the part of the Fretboard to which the displayed Scale is to be restricted. An unspecified Position indicates "no restriction". When a new selection is made, the Method is set to the defaut value of "Standard". This is true even if this option is not displayed. The display behavior depends on the option value selected:

Specified Position Options either indicate a range of frets (ie., "Open Position" and the various Closed Positions) or a range of Notes (ie., "Low Octave", "Middle Octave", etc.) of interest.

Information from the Scale Theory document describing the specified Position can be displayed in the Document Window at any time. This is done by clicking the "Position" label/link next to the Position Selection Option.

Method

The Method Selection Option allows the user to specify alternative Methods for playing a given Scale. For any combination of Scale Type, Key, Mode, and Scale Position, a default playing Method is defined, referred to as the "Standard" Method (Method). Besides the Standard Method, there may be one or more variations. Some Methods are identified as "Melodic" or "Partial" Methods, if they take advantage of Melodic Technique.

When a new Method selection is made, analysis annotations are automatically displayed in the Text Frame for the selected Method. These annotations discuss any advantages that are gained by playing the Scale using the selected Method. The user can also display this information at any time by clicking the "Method" label/link next to the Key Selection Option.

When any of the other Scale Selection Options are changed (Scale Type, Key, Position, or Mode), the Method Option is set to its default value. This is because the Method that was selected may not apply to the new Scale Selection, whereas the "Standard" Method exists for all Scale Selections.

Note Display Type

The Note Display Type Toggle allows the user to specify how Notes are represented in Scale Maps and Scale Methods. The choices are the Note's letter name (eg., A, Db, F#, etc.) or Scale Degrees (1, 3-, 4+, etc.). The label on the control shows the Note representation that is not currently in use. By clicking on the button, the display will be changed to that representation, and the label will be toggled to the representation that was just replaced.

Emphasized Notes

The Emphasized Notes Control allows the user to alter the appearance of displayed Notes. The control consists of twelve check boxes, one for each Scale Degree in the Chromatic Scale. When a Scale Map or Scale Method is displayed on the Fretboard, Notes coresponding to any checked Scale Degrees on the Emphasized Notes Control will be displayed with a blue background. Notes coresponding to un-checked Scale Degrees will be displayed with a navy background. This capability is provided to aid the user in visualizing Note patterns on the Fretboard.

Unused Notes

When a Scale Method is being displayed, the user may be interested in the locations on the Fretboard of Notes in the Scale that are not currently displayed. Clicking on the "Display Unused Notes" Check Box will cause all unused Notes to be displayed as background (in cyan). Clicking a second time will hide unused Notes. This control is not visible when the user has not chosen a Key because no Notes are displayed, or when the Scale Type is "Arpegio" or the Position is unspecified, in which a Scale Map is displayed.

Tab Control

The control mechanisms for generation of Tabulature are a collection of buttons and selection options on the right side of the Control Panel. These controls are hidden during display situations for which they do not apply.

Scale Tab

The Scale Tab Button becomes visible when a Key has been selected and a Scale Position other than "All Notes" has been selected. The user clicks this button to begin specification of Scale Tabulature, after which the button is disabled until completion of Tab specification or cancellation. Simultaneously, the Pattern Tab Button is replaced with a "Cancel Tab" button for ending the specification process, since the Pattern Tab Button is not needed during the process. The Scale Tab Button will remain disabled until specification is completed, at which time the button label is changed to "Display Tab". When that button is clicked, the generated Tab is displayed in the text box at the bottom of the Analyzer Frame, and the process is completed.

Starting Root: This control specifies which Root Note in the displayed Scale is to be the starting Note in the generated Tabulature.

Starting Direction: This selection is required when Starting Root has been selected, and the starting direction is not implicit. This occurs when more than two Root Notes are displayed and the selected value is neither the High or Low Root. This control specifies the direction (Upward or Downward) with which the generated Tabulature will begin.

High/Low Notes: This selection is required when a Scale Position with a Fret Range has been selected. If the High/Low Notes are implicit (i.e., the Starting Root is the highest or lowest Note) the control is not required. This control specifies the highest/lowest Note on the displayed Scale to be used in the generated Tabulature.

Timing: This selection is optional when a Position with a Two Octave Fret Range has been selected. Tabulature is generated with 4/4 or 6/8 timing. If a selection is not made, the timing defaults to 4/4.

Pattern Tab

The Pattern Tab Button becomes visible when a Key with a "Diatonic" Scale Type has been selected and a Scale Position with a Note Range value has been selected. The user clicks this button to begin specification of Pattern Tabulature, after which the button is disabled until completion of Tab specification or cancellation. Simultaneously, the Scale Tab Button is replaced with a "Cancel Tab" button for ending the specification process, since the Pattern Tab Button is not needed during the process. The Pattern Tab Button will remain disabled until specification is completed, at which time the button label is changed to "Display Tab". When that button is clicked, the generated Tab is displayed in the text box at the bottom of the Analyzer Frame, and the process is completed.

Pattern: This control specifies the Note ordinal Pattern to be used for generating Tabulature.

Starting Direction: This control specifies the direction (Upward or Downward) with which the generated Tabulature will begin.

Text Frame

The Text Frame is the bottom section of the Scale Analyzer Window. It is used to display descriptive information about the currently selected Scale Method. When the user selects a Scale Type, Key, Mode, Scale Position, or Method, analysis information is automatically be displayed in the Text Frame, if the specified options imply a Scale Method. This information represents the result of the Author's research concerning the Scale Method.

Analysis information is not provided when Scale Method is not specified. This is true when the Key is unspecified, or when the selectd options imply a Scale Map. A Scale Map is implied when the specified Scale Type is "Arpegio" or the Position is unspecified. In each of these situations, the Text Frame is blank.

If analysis of a specified Scale Method has not been performed, the Text Frame displays "Analysis information unavailable.". It is possible that the Text Frame will only display the title of a specified Scale Method. This implies that the analysis information has not been completed.