Set scale to play for on screen keyboard

Hi, switched from FL Studio to Cubase last week and getting time to go through the Quick Start videos and the manual.

I actually didn’t get too deep into FL Studio, but one small feature I was experimenting with I found really helpful for playing with new scales. Basically, you can pick the scale for the on screen keyboard and it maps to all the “white keys” on the QWERTY keyboard.

Brief discussion of it here.

Is there a similar feature in Cubase? Was really helpful playing with new scales I haven’t even heard of. Some really cool sounding stuff out there.


Welcome to the forums.

I looked at the webpage you reference and there is no direct parallel to that functionality in Cubase, but, Cubase does offer a very powerful set of tools for Transposition, Chords and Chord Voicings. It has a built-in set of scales that is accessed from the Transpose Setup Dialogue.

Cubase does provide a QWERTY input feature. Press F2 and then right-click on the side of the bar to activate the QWERTY keyboard. I don’t use this feature, but many users do and have become adept at typing in music. I find it easier to either play the part or step enter it, but the QWERTY is there. I just don’t know it well. Press the Tab key to switch from QWERTY to a piano type display, shift octaves with the bottom slider.

Cubase has a special way of dealing with Flat Keys. You’ll most likely want to go to Preferences and set-up your Enharmonics to follow the chord track.

Watch some of the youtube promos and tutorials, even those for older versions are still mostly valid for current versions and you’ll see how the program has changed and generally improved over time.

You might want to explore putting a Scale on a Chord Track. Then in the Chord tab of the Inspector you can set it so any incoming note is forced into the scale. Not exactly what you’re looking for, but in the neighborhood. You can also make the notes match chords too.

Sorry not at DAW to give specific Inspector settings - but the manual explains the various options.

Are you talking about “Live Transform” or is there some obvious function I’ve been blind to like that channel-switching on the info line tip?

I had a look at the linked page. Cubase it does have a playable qwerty keyboard. Studio Setup>On-Screen Keyboard. The linked page doesn’t say that it maps the notes to the white keys only, though. And for certain modes, it’s not even possible. A diminished scale, for example,has eight notes.

You can limit the notes to a given mode when playing from the qwerty keyboard or a midi keyboard. If you haven’t tried it, please do:

  • On a MIDI or instrument track add the MIDI Insert, ‘MIDI Modifiers’, then select a scale, and play the white keys. It works well for several of the scales. For the others though, you have to play some black keys too, such as for the #4 in lydian, and the #5 in the whole tone scale. There’s also the problem of keys with duplicate notes, like in pentatonic scales since they only have five notes. Does FL Studio mute those keys, or how is it dealt with there?

Anyhoo, The feature we are talking about here, in order to be complete, and even worth doing, is this, in my view:

  • Compile an encyclopedia of modes and scales from around the world, and make them available via a drop-down menu that also provides away to transpose, such that the musician can play C on the keyboard, and have it transposed to whatever pitch (s)he wants as the tonic.

  • Then, provide an automatic method to make the microtonal pitch adjustments needed for accurate playback of modes used in music from Asia, Africa, Japan, Indonesia- well, almost any folk music of indigenous people anywhere in the world, and most notably, Maqam music. Certainly there are many more such modes than there are diatonic modes in the world.

Yes, and while they’re at it make sure users can add additional custom scales to the list.

Gonna need that when Romulan Thwonk gets fashionable.

Does the results differ if we use 1) the Midi Modifier technique Steve describes vs. using 2) Live Transform with the track set to Follow “Scales” under "Chords’ Inspector tab?

I have the Guitar Grimoire for breakfast, Jerry Coker’s - Patterns For Jazz for lunch, and Ted Greene’s Chord Chemistry for dinner and I’ll go to sleep with a splitting headache. :laughing:

I’m coming down firmly on the side of maybe/maybe-not :confused:

I guess you could set up 2 Tracks, one each way, record the results & compare.

I try it out and see.

Midi Insert Transformer and scale? Who knew?

Got some very good results this way.

  1. Create chord track, with syncopations, passing chords

  2. Create Guitar Instrument Track or other fast attack sound

  3. Assign Chord Track to Guitar Track

  4. Midi Insert 1 - Midi Transformer, set scale and scale note to various scales.

  5. Midi Insert 2 - Arpache (eithe one) - set in various ways to be not too busy, more or less legato.

  6. Change scales and scale note: Interesting results. :bulb:
    Found a pattern that worked out best in 5/4. Cool Alex Degrassi’ish picking. Very pleasing sound.

  7. Merge Midi In Loop including all and erasing the blank track

  8. The Merged track does not exactly match what the track plays when just playing back. The merged track has more doubled notes. I didn’t try a render in place, but this may be an instance where recording the midi to audio via group track is best way to capture what the track is playing? :confused:

No, I didn’t know this was there, or, if I did, I’d not really given it a work out until tonight. Glad I did. A very musical and useful tool. I’m sure there’s many applications for this beyond the one I described.

Thanks for all the feedback. I will have to sort through all of this this weekend.

Here is the link to the FL Studio documentation regarding the on screen keyboard and scales. Again though it isn’t too explicit.

This video demos the changing of scales and how they are mapped to the on screen keyboard. (Sounds like the guy is talking through a stack of pillows, so don’t bother even trying to understand him):

Any update on this? I had to make a Mac app just to override this limitation:

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