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Scale playing device?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Mark Clout, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Hello!

    Do you know of a device that can play scales in any key at any speed? (I don t have a piano or piano player). I try my best to play a scale in tune with the tuner, but when I get to my teacher s house and I play a scale along with him on the piano, I'm off. I d like to play along with something and also be able to keep up, so tempo must be adjustable.

  2. I was hoping to get a device other than the computer. My practice room and computer are physically separate...and my family is often on the thing. I was thinking of a nice, compact, digital device. I'd be surprised if it doesn't exist! But I can't seem to find anything like it on the net.

  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Create a sound file on the computer -- you can do this from about any music program -- and copy it to whatever format you need (CD, cassette, MD, etc).
  4. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    If'n you want, somebody's made a play-along of "rudiments"--scales and arpeggios and whatnot--that might be just what you're looking for. I can't remember the name, and the site is not loading at this exact moment, but check out www.lemur-music.com; go to the online store, look under "books, videos, and DVDs" and try the "other play-alongs" link to find it.
  5. I like to practice scales and intervals using a drone because I really believe in developing the ability to play more intervalically; it's been discussed here before. Try a search. I have a Boss Dr. Beat metronome that will play any pitch in several octaves, as well as all sorts of useful rhythms and syncopations. It's expensive for a metronome, about $120, but it's very useful. It even will count for you in a human voice. It sounds like a chinese woman in a plastic box. :eyebrow:
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I use Band In A Box for that. Half the price, and you get the other features, too ;-)
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Happy Ending?
  8. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004

    It is called the Accompanied Rudiments Course by Don Hermann. Each scale is played 2 octaves as whole notes, half notes, quarter, eighth, triplet, and sixteenth notes. The piano is not just playing the scales; it is playing a chordal accompaniment to the scales. There are times when I wish 3 octaves were played instead of just 2. Also, I find it useful to sing the next note before I play it during the whole note exercises. This keeps me from getting lazy and just playing along.
  9. spaghettiwestern

    spaghettiwestern Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Greater Boston Area
    This is my first post after months of happy reading.

    I thought I'd chime in and say the Accompanied Rudiments CD set works well for me, too. It's really expensive, but I was able to pick up a used copy. I also feel that the book it comes with is completely unneccessary (I haven't taken it off the shelf since I fist bought it). I too wish it would go through more than just two octaves, as i think this makes me a little lazy. Sometimes I'll repeat a track in order to first play the scale in the lower octave, then play it again in the upper octave.

    Once I figured out the chord progression on the CD (it's not just triads up the scale), I also started practicing intervals against the scale the piano is playing. This is good for you ears, too.

    Another technique I've had luck with is finding a cheap old keyboard synthesizer, dialing in a sound as close to a sine wave as I can get, and putting a weight on the key of the scale I want to play (or taping down the key). That way I can play the scale at any speed while referencing the tonic. It really helps you hear the interval you're playing, and doesn't limit you to tempered pitch, which the Rudiments CD kind of does.
  10. "the tuning c.d." is great. www.thetuningcd.com you get 12 drones plus different chords to play against. i'll use it thru speakers or headphones (i leave one off to hear my bass with). it doesn't play scales but gives you a great reference to play scales against. i like it cuz i can have it drone on a "D" for example, and i can switch the scale i am playing at will. they talk alot about temperament and so forth too...
  11. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    You should also remember that when you play at your teacher's against a piano, the piano isn't ACTUALLY "in tune". I'm sure that there is a discussion about equal temperment somewhere on the forum.

    So, you might want to talk to your teacher and discuss the fact that it might not be beneficial for your ear or your intonation to play against a piano.
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Unless you play with piano players.
  13. Good one Ray, I haven't had a laugh like that in a while.
  14. Thanks for all your input! Lot's of good ideas.

    I still can't believe there isn't a device for this though....hmmm...if I had money...and time...
  15. mandocaster


    Dec 24, 2004
    Houston, TX
    ... or guitar players.
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    If you play with guitar players, you'd better have five or six version of each note (root, specifically), depending where on the neck they hit the chord :)
  17. I have a 'tuning CD' produced by a local band director (friend of my wife) that I practice all scales with. It has 3 octaves with both the root and the 5th blended in.

    I set it up on the computer (Windows media player) to repeat only a single track.
  18. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    You can download a free version of Finale Notepad and then just create a piece of music using all whole notes and tie them together. Then you can easily copy the piece and transpose to another key or note.

    Then just play the piece and it's a drone note. I haven't tried it yet but I believe you can save the piece as an mp3 and then play it through your mp3 player. (Not sure if the "free" version of Notepad will do this).

  19. Thanks Freddels...and everyone else who chimed in.

    I did download Finale Notepad. It does a good job. I created 3 ocatave scales in triads up and down. It allows me to vary the tempo as well. The down side is...it's still on the computer which I don't want to put in my practice room. :meh:

    Say la V! It's doing the job.

    This list is a very big help!
  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    A sequencer like the Yamaha QY70 or the QY100 can do this for you and more. I use it to get 5 minutes of a fixed drone and then place those drones on a CD for two octave scale work in every key. Either one of those sequencers is portable and you can use cans or send the output to a mixer or whatever. There very cool because you the have rhythm tracks and you can drop in chord progressions, a very versatile piece of equipment.