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Slide rule for musical scales

For all those engineers who dabble in music [Magnetovore] has your back. Musicians simply must know their scales and he came up with a papercraft slide rule for major and minor scales.

The system is very easy to use. He’s uploaded PDF files that let you print out the mask for the top layer and bar chart and directions for the bottom layer. The top layer is laid out like a piano keyboard, with windows for each key and a couple of windows to identify the major and minor scales being displayed. Just slide the mask until each key is a solid color. The color codes show the tonic, third, and dominant for each key so you know where to start. In the video after the break you can see how it works by playing all of the non-black keys in order. But wait, if you order now you’ll get the slide rule for Cello scales at the same low-cost; free!

This is a fun quick-reference, but you really should know your Circle of Fifths.

Comments

  1. Enharmonic Equivalent says:

    Dude, learn to spell notes properly. In the key of A, there are NO flat notes. In the key of A, there are three SHARP notes: F#, C#, and G#.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi,

      I printed and cut-out these sheets this morning.

      I am not a musical person. Could you please state specifically what the errors are, and how they should be corrected?

      This information may filter back to the original source, but for now I am happy to fix it on my copy.

      • magnetovore says:

        Hey Andrew,

        Surprised that other people are actually using my idea! As you’ll note, the name of the poster was “Enharmonic Equivalent”. Flat notes can be written as sharp notes; I chose to only use flat notes for consistency and because I thought the flat symbol looked cooler than the sharp symbol.

        P.S. There are not sharps or flat in A…. minor.

    • Enharmonic Equivalent says:

      I can’t reply directly to magnetove’s reply to my comment, so I’ll do it here.

      Your example in the video was not A minor, it was A Major. While it is true that there are no sharps/flats in A minor, that’s irrelevant to your example.

      If you’re going to make a tool to help someone learn how to figure out musical things, you need to build the tool correctly. It doesn’t matter that the flat symbol is “cooler” looking – if you claim flats in clearly sharp key, it is wrong, and it is provably *inconsistent* with 300 years of western classical music theory.

      You’d fail my theory course if this was your final project.

      It wouldn’t take much to fix this. Go for it.

    • guitarMan666 says:

      He used ALL flat notes rather than putting both. That is technically in error but in the case of his device here it appears that the physical piano keys are the primary concern.

      Editing the PDF so it reads D#/E♭, and so on, is fairly trivial.

      • Klondike says:

        Perhaps trivial if you don’t care to understand the fundamentals of music. One of the primary sources of meaning in music is what scale degree you are on (the first, second, third or whatever). Since we use seven scale degrees in Western music we use seven letters – so it obfuscates the meaning of the scale degree if you use the same letter (say, G and Gb) to represent 2 scale degrees. I was looking for something to help children learn scales and understand that the pattern can slide around, but the pitches are fixed. But kids would see the F#/Gb approach as an invitation to substitute enharmonic notes.

  2. His Roommate says:

    I would like to note that the above papercraft project is plagiarism.

    Magnetovore used my printer to create these projects, yet nowhere does he give me any credit (and I did ask for it). Please don’t waste your views on the website of such a BIG FAT PHONY.

  3. glados says:

    Oh, Yes! This completely replaces GarageBand on my iPad! :-)

  4. Jarel says:

    I’m about as giddy as a schoolgirl now!

  5. Ren says:

    +1

  6. mungewell says:

    Should be good for anyone learning chords/scales, but what I find interesting is the relatively simple geometric relation between the notes.

    Interesting hack, and fun to boot.

  7. slightlyMad says:

    it’s quite sad i read circle of fifths as “cradle of filth”… even with years of piano and guitar lessons and study of musical theory!

    dammit metal you’ve ruined my brain

  8. kerSmudgeion says:

    Good work, Magneto, even if it’s not perfect
    you got out and did something besides just
    “think about it”. Nothing personal, but if
    “His Roommate” is really your roommate, pack
    up your crap and get the hell out of there.
    This guy is poison and will ruin your life.
    People who invest in “doing nothing” are
    insanely resentful and jealous of people
    who actually DO things.

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