Basic ear training with Scalar

The initial versions of Scalar were clearly designed for advanced students and professionals. With the latest update, we added basic triads. Ok, we probably should have started with these but…well…sometimes you just excited a write the advanced features first. It’s more fun!

Anyway, to work with just triads press on Ear Training or Practice buttons. While there, press the Settings icon in the upper-right corner. Scroll down a bit and select the triads you want and deselect the other chords.

Now your exercises will be using triads. It’s fun to add more advanced chords to the mix later on and incrementally improve your ear training skills.

Have fun!

Scalar Tips and Tricks

There are two options available in Scalar which can make your workouts more fun.

Play Scale configures Scalar to just play the chords and not play the scale “answer” as part of the ear training exercise. This frees you up to just improvise within the scale as you like. I often found myself just blowing over the top of the answer anyway so why not just let people turn it off.

Show Root can add a bit of challenge to ear training. Especially when you set the root movement to random or common note. This setting tells Scalar to not display the root at the beginning of the exercise. You’ll have to use your ears to determine the root and chord.

In newer versions, go to the Settings page (click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Ear Training view). In previous versions, there are checkboxes at the bottom of the Ear Training view.

Scalar for Android!

I got a lot of requests to bring Scalar (the ear training app for creative musicians) to Android. I am so happy to announce that it is now available on the Google Play store: Scalar for Android.

It is almost at feature parity with the iOS version. Interactive scale syllabus, David Baker’s famous ear training exercises, generated in any key, for any scale/chord. It’s a pretty nice way to have fun working on ear training, I think.

Please check it out and let me know how you like it! I have some nice updates planned and am looking forward to incorporating user feedback along the way. Cross-platform, ear training goodness!

iPad support for Scalar and JazzEars

Sure, you could just installed the iPhone version on your shiny, new iPad…but that’s not as much fun as having full support for iPad. So, with a few tweaks to the custom layout code we use – viola! Scalar and JazzEars are now universal iOS apps.

We also added some usability improvements while we were at it.

Scalar now manages ear training exercise configurations on a separate settings pages. Gone are the cool, but a little awkward, zoomable checkboxes.

JazzEars now provides optional bass notes beneath its existing tonal cluster features. 2- to 4-note clusters are played atop a randomly generated bass note. It’s a small change but it makes this feature so much more fun to use.

Happy Practicing!

Scalar relaunches as an ear training app!

A few years ago I released Scale Syllabus, an app for browsing scales. It was one of the first apps I ever wrote. Pat Harbison, professor at Indiana University and long-time friend, suggested I release an app using David Baker’s famous ear training exercises. Excellent idea! And an excellent reason to bring Scale Syllabus into something more useful.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the app on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scale-syllabus/id494295192?mt=8

I reimplemented the app using Swift 3 and AudioKit. This is a really nice and enjoyable language/toolkit to work with. It was great fun to revisit David’s ear training book, write algorithms to generate the exercises and have some fun dynamically generating MIDI sequences.

Here’s a video demo of the app: