Propellerhead Forum

Propellerhead Forum (
-   Feature Suggestion Forum (
-   -   Piano Roll Scale Highlighter (

eox24 2013-02-22 19:51

Piano Roll Scale Highlighter
So lately I have been trying to learn more and more about music theory. That is definitely a challenge that takes time to fully understand and grasp however, it can be very rewarding and inspiring when understood. As user friendly Reason is, I thought it would be a neat feature if there was some sort of scale highlighter or "key signature" highlighter. I keep calling it a highlighter because my thoughts were; what if you had a button like the ReGroove, that when you click on it it brings up scales and key signatures. Lets say you want to create a song in the key of E Minor or would like to learn that scale. Well once you enable the "scale" button it brings up the "key" and you select E then Minor. Once that has been selected if you go to your piano roll it has all the keys that are not inside that particular key grey'd out, but the "keys" that are in that scale are white. But you can still use those grey'd out notes or keys incase you need "accidentals" or whatever. I think that could really help some people learn scales and further improve their writing ability. But that's just a thought I had! Not sure if that would be good or worth it.

plaamook 2013-02-22 22:02

yeah, i think its worth it.

i suggested one for the on-screen-keys as well. just because i always have to work out keys and its tedious on the screen keys and piano roll.

NickGeorge 2013-02-23 02:16

+1, great idea, would be really helpful for beginners

Jagwah 2013-02-23 11:50

Neptune is useful in this sense, set the key and scale and the notes you can use are highlighted for you, drag your sequencer up so you can see both your piano roll and the Neptune.

eox24 2013-02-23 17:35

Ah, this is true now isn't it? I forgot all about that

DrummahBoy 2013-02-23 18:59

I'll be quite honest, this is something I definitely agree with. Props wants to make Reason a music centred product, and I think they NEED to put this in there.

eox24 2013-02-23 21:30

Exactly..the way they have built Reason up to be such a Musical beast'n Machine I think they should figure out some way of incorporating that. With Reason 6 we got "Block" mode and other features to help work flow and creativity. But imagine some sort of feature that helped TEACH the user a little bit of music theory. Granted some highlighted keys may not make much sense to a new user but then again THOR or the combinator sure doesn't make sense to a new user. BUT we have the power of Google and can begin to connect the dots in regard to music theory. Honestly, with as many people doing music production today, I think one of the best moves ANY music production company could make would be to incorporate something of that "scale highlighter."

Propellerhead could really boost their incentive to the masses as to why they should buy Reason first instead of FL Studio or some other daw. Imagine the most CREATIVE music production software known to man to also in a way be able to TEACH music as well. Melodies and chords would come much easier and people would begin to learn more about what they are really doing instead of getting frustrated. Play by ear is definitely a great thing to have but sometimes it doesn't quite pull through. I especially have a problem with always trying to play the same chord progressions or using the same keys for a melody. That has actually been my biggest problem lately and that is why this all came to my mind.

I have been a Reason user since 2005 (reason 3.0) and even though my post count here in the forums is very small I live on the forums and I am constantly reading up as to what everyone is saying, but Propellerhead is one of my favorite companies and I love how they treat the users. I believe they are a company that always seems to move forward and not backwards. This is why I would love to see Reason have more incentive to the new user and even the existing one. A great company with a great community! I encourage everyone to think more about what they want to see in a software program and to let their thoughts and hopes be heard! (or

kylelee 2013-02-23 21:34

learning music theory will highlight the scales and keys IN YOUR MINDDDDD ;)

BrianDrake 2013-02-23 23:37

While I definitely support the idea of improving the Piano Roll, and the scale highlighting idea is a good one (I prefer highlighting than the "remove all notes not in scale" approach like in Ableton, since I lose reference when you remove notes), might I suggest that in the meantime (we have no info on when Reason 7 will be here, and no info on whether piano roll updates will be in it), that AutoArp can be an imperfect step in this direction? I say imperfect, because yes, having the piano roll directly integrated is definitely the best solution. But short of that, AutoArp can provide good visual reference to aid you in editing your midi notes (piano roll editing).

The first way is simply by creating an AutoArp instance, set the key and the scale. Now the "Note Mapping" module will highlight the names of the notes that are in the scale. If you know the names of the piano roll keys, you can use this as reference when editing. Even if you don't know the names of the keys, when you create and/or are editing a note, at the top of the piano roll it will show you the name of the currently selected note. You can then make sure you're only using notes that match the names of those shown in AutoArp.

For a more visual method, hook up the "Chord" outputs (Gate and CV) to the Sequencer Control inputs on a Combinator. Press "Show Programmer" to open the Combinator's Programmer, which contains a virtual keyboard display. With the first Root Note selected in AutoArp's "Note Mapping" module, set "Chord Select" in the "Chord Generator" module to "SCALE". Also set "Oct-1" and "Oct+1" both to 36. Press the "Hold" button at the top of AutoArp, and then, with MIDI focus on AutoArp, play the Root Note of your scale. You'll see all the notes for 3 octaves highlighted in the Combinator's keyboard display. Now, create a note lane for the instrument you want to edit (this is why we used "Hold", so that AutoArp will keep outputting notes even when it loses MIDI focus) and use the Combinator keyboard as a "scale highlighter" to check against.

There are over 60 scales in AutoArp, which is significantly more than I've seen in any DAW I've ever tested that has Scale/Chord functionality. So even if PH adds Scale highlighting to Reason 7, and Reason 7 is released soon, there still might be a few Scales and/or Chords in AutoArp and thus it may still serve as a useful reference.

Rattmowe 2013-02-24 14:25

This wouldn't even just have uses as a teaching tool either, it would be great for begginers and experienced musicians alike. If they highlighted not only the keys, but the piano roll lanes too that would make an enormous difference, they could also possibly have special highlights for root note, 3rd, 5th etc. It's easy to get lost in the piano roll, I often find myself a little confused about where abouts I am in the scale.

Would also be good if you could have reactive highlighting, i.e. if you press some keys on the keyboard, those notes will remain highlighted throughout the piano roll after you release them, and you could then also select an option to extend the chord across all octaves.

AutoArp is a pretty good example of what can be accomplished with this, lots of chords and special scales to select from, if they could integrate this kind of functionality into the sequencer that would be incredible.

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 15:02.