Altering or Creating Scales

Scale Dialog image  
A list of some scales are available under Options | Scale - the other built-in scales are for different periods of western music.
But this list can be tailored to your needs, and Options | Scale Pitches & Menu launches the dialog for creating scales, or altering or deleting ones already on your list. The dialog allows you to adjust the notes of the scale relative to SA. The pitches of the current scale are displayed in relationship to the notes of equal temperament (up to 50 cents plus or minus).  If you just want to define a scale according to the actual sounding of the notes, for instance to define it by an existing tuning on a keyboard instrument or on another fixed-pitch instrument like the santoor, or from the sympathetic strings, first be sure your pitch is set accurately to SA. Start the Tuning Graph if it isn't running. (You may launch the Pitch & Range dialog to set SA even when the Scale dialog is active).  After SA is centered, adjust the appropriate slider [1] for each of the other notes as they are played. The tuning graph will change as you do so; you just stop when the pitch of the note being tested is drawn on the center line, neither sharp nor flat. Of course you will want to expand the lower graph by raising the splitter bar, and perhaps show it at a greater magnification [select View | Lower Graph Scaling], so that it can be read in finer detail.
    If you want to enter specific pitch values for a particular scale, they must be calculated in the form of cents, and then set accordingly. You can type the cents deviation from Equal Temperament into the edit boxes
[2]. Or, if you know the values as a decimal ratio, enter that into the Cents Convertor below [3], and the cents value will be displayed for you.  For people working with just intervals such as theorists often give for various ragas - type the numerator and denominator into the ratio control [4] and the cents value will be calculated and displayed, and a decimal ratio shown as well. This value will show you the offset from equal temperament. Here is an example: the pure ratio 5/4 is 386.3 cents, which comes closest to the equal temperament note of 400. So it is the 4th note in the list, and its offset is minus 13.7 cents. You can see this value in the natural scale [5], or also in the Western meantone temperament, as they both use an exact major third. By checking the Auto-adjust Note Value [6] box you can have the appropriate note adjusted automatically, after you enter a valid decimal or integer ratio. Only values between 1 and 2 will have an effect. [But, be careful when entering subsequent integer ratios in Auto-adjust mode - if you enter the numerator and it makes a value between 1 and 2 with the denominator value already in its edit box (or vice versa), a note may get changed that you did not intend. You may need to delete one of the fields first. Or, uncheck the box.]
    An Undo control is provided
[7], which will restore previous values one note at a time.

    You can enter or edit the name associated with this scale. OK allows tuning to continue with any changes you have made, but no alteration is made to the stored scale list. Those changes will be lost if the program is closed or another scale is selected. Use Save to permanently record any changes you made to a scale (including changing the name), Save As to enter the information as a totally new entry in the scale list, and Delete to remove the selected scale from the list. (After Deleting a scale from the list, its values continue to be used for tuning until you decide to select a new one. And so in the case where you decide your deletion was a mistake, you can restart the Scale Pitches dialog and Save the deleted scale As a new name, then rename it).

    Here are the ratios that were used in creating the "Natural Scale".

re   16/15
Re      9/8
ga       6/5
Ga      5/4
Ma     4/3
ma  45/32
Pa       3/2
dha     8/5
Dha    5/3
ni        9/5
Ni     15/8

Scale dialog - flatter re    There are instances where you may wish to compare the scale to another than equal temperament, and so the comparison scale
[1] can be selected from the drop-down list of scales (the dialog always begins with Equal as the comparison). For instance, it is claimed that some ragas have notes with a lower-than-usual pitch [ati-komal]; so by listing the offsets relative to the basic raga scale which has been called Natural Scale, you can immediately set or see how much the flatter notes have been altered. Look at the image to the left. Here we wish to generate a new scale with an extra flat komal Re [R1]. Some theorists fix that note as 256/243, and we have entered that value in the right-hand fields in the Cents Convertor section [2], which has given us the corresponding decimal value for 256/243,  An Undo control is provided [7], which will restore previous values one note at a time.  An Undo control is provided [7], which will restore previous values one note at a time. 1.05350 [3], and 90.2 as the cents value [4], which it also displays as the offset from re [dark green] in equal temperament, -9.8. We have selected Natural Scale, with which we began, as the reference scale [1], to show how the scale is identical except for the one note we have changed; we can see how much flatter it is than the standard re, -21.4 cents [5]. The main tuning graph will reflect this change, as the lines for re (dashed dark green) will move downwards somewhat. The Undo button [6] now shows the color and name of the most recently changed semitone, re. And a name for this new scale has been entered in the Scale Name field [7] at the top; consequently the Delete button has been grayed out, as we can delete only the originally selected scale from the list, and the Save As... button is activated for creating a new entry in the list of scales.

    After you have built up a selection of scales that are useful to you, you may wish to reduce menu clutter by deleting those sample scales from the original list that you don't want.
    The scale list is maintained on a file which you should back up periodically. Back up both the scale and instrument files, TMScales.dta and TMInstruments.dta, together, as they are linked. If that file is not found or is corrupt, Tuning Meister has a built-in Natural Scale which it will use.

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