ScaleMaster on iPad
Scales are listed by name in a master list that also contains additional information like type. The notation display is automatically updated with each new selection. Light text coloring as well as the scale type indicator help easily distinguishing between different types. Scale configurations are saved in exercise documents that can be shared. Each document is set to a specific instrument and saves scale information as well as instrument position. Documents also allow for instrument recordings. These can be adjusted in speed and used as play-along exercise. Additional playback functions include count-in and auto-reverse.
The chord/scale realtionship is of particular importance to improvising musicians. ScaleMaster allows to filter down the existing vocabulary of 211 scales with 41 of the most common chord structures. The resulting group of scales then fully consists of only scales including all chord tones. This is reflected in the notation view which highlights chord tones in red and displays a chord symbol below the scale title. This feature allows to open up and enrich the improviser's palette and give him or her an alternative to the go-to choice.
Of course we don't just want to look up the location of those notes, but want to incorporate things into our practice schedule as well. That is where scale exercises come in. Exercises are new in ScaleMaster and like most everything else part of a scale document. So if a guitar player for example is interested in an Ab Mixolydian scale, the best way to go about it is to create a new document, set it up for Ab Mixolydian and then have ScaleMaster create an exercise. When playing back that exercise ScaleMaster highlights the fingering and of course lets you adjust the speed. There is a whole chapter on exercises in the documentation and it also shows you how to record your own custom exercises.
ScaleMaster's notation view offers a lot of valuable information. It is updated whenever a scale is changed. So - not only can we look up the fingering of a specific scale in the instrument view, but we also can review the notation details of that scale. Of particular interest here are the application of flats, sharps and other accidentals. ScaleMaster will apply these according to the laws of music theory and help in cases where there might be doubt whether a note is written as a natural or double flat for example.
What makes ScaleMaster really stand out is of course its fantastic support of music notation including double sharps or flats and indication of halftone (semitone) steps. Other things ScaleMaster can do include changing the clef and adjusting the tuning of string instruments. A full general MIDI sound library is included with 128 sounds on iOS and over 200 on macOS. Additionally virtual MIDI is supported, so compatible installed synth apps or DAWs can be used as well. And of course on iOS ScaleMaster is a universal app which supports iPhone as well as iPad, so it is truly portable.
Designed for the beginning musician as well as the professional, ScaleMaster is an excellent tool towards advancement in theory and scales in particular, making it easy to look up a scale in seconds, getting a taste of the flavor of a particular scale by listening to it, or finding out how to play it on one's instrument. ScaleMaster supports Family Sharing and includes nine instruments as of this writing.
ScaleMaster has its own Facebook site. A little bit of a diary but also a growing collection of all things surrounding the app. Check out the timeline to see the development of ScalePlay, additional images and links to 3rd party reviews. Make sure to stop by and see what's new.