Trying out scale translations
Last few weeks, I’ve been working on how to translate a melody from a scale to start at another scale note, across the strings. This is far more challenging, technically, than along the strings (which is already supported). Together, of course, they are great for creating scale studies involving sequences, arpeggios,and etudes.
Not being a great reader of notation, I’m taking exercises in notation, and making Rhythm-X snappets of these, using emuso’s scale translation, as the exercises often involve repeated translation of a pattern by a second (major or minor, as appropriate) or greater intervals. I can then practice these at whatever tempo and in whatever keys I want, as Rhythm-X handles transposition with one click.
Another really useful feature I’ve added is the idea of “striping” an empty rhythm part with the melodic content (but not rests) of an existing part. This allows very quick experimentation where the empty part has a different time signature, and/or with different placements of rests.
The following video demonstrates this, taking a straight 8-note sequence, and striping it onto another part that uses swing-1/8th notes, with some rests for syncopation. Instant bebop!
It doesn’t handle translation of non-scale notes across strings yet, though there is a prototype that handles this horizontally, which is great for working with enclosures.
The key commands use the arrow keys, as with chord inversions, but the Shift key needs adding as well, otherwise the melodic pattern will be inverted based purely on the intervals it contains.
Specifying the translation amount
With diatonic scales (like major and its modes a generic interval (like a “2nd”, major or minor) is appropriate as it’s always possible to locate a scale notes that is a “2nd” away from a note in the melody. So, a number from 2 to 7 works fine for these to specifiy the translation. But non-diatonic scales are likely to have some intervals unavailable for the translation. For example, with the minor pentatonic, there is no interval of a second between some of its adjacent scale notes. Instead, the translation is specified by the number of scale degrees to shift a melody note. The minor pentatonic has 5 scale degrees, at intervals 1, b3, 4, 5, and b7, from the tonic. If the number 2 is used, then each note will shift to its adjacent scale note. 1 will shift to b3. b3 to 4. 4 to 5. 5 to b7. and b7 to 1. If the number 4 is used, then 1 will shift to the 4th degree (5), b3 will shift to b7,4 to 1 above it, 5 to b3 above it, and b7 to 4 above it.