Smart Scales in Key Editor

It would be nice if I could identify a scale in the key editor and lock it in so that I would be able to draw in only notes that lie within that scale. Moving notes up and down would automatically skip over notes that are not in that scale.

For example, if I selected a C-major scale and started drawing notes in, I wouldn’t be able to draw anything in on the black keys and the notes would be drawn in on the white key closest to the drawing location. Then if I wanted to change the notes, I could drag them up and down and they would skip over notes not within the scale.

I don’t think I saw anything like this. Does it exists and have I overlooked it?

if you use the chord track and have set up chords for your project.

got into a midi editor and select the note key ‘top right hand corner’ and use chord track…

i cant remember specifically the color definitions but they notes you put in will be coloured depending on where they fit in with the chords tracks

ie if they fall within the chord / scale / outside of scale etc…


best explanation i could give without being in front of my screen.

This definitely would be a big improvement for the draw tools: To only allow drawing of notes that are within the scale or chord when the draw tool is used. So as I draw a line, only the the appropriate notes are drawn. I already sent an email to Steinberg requesting this.

Just coloring the notes is not enough.



chitownrolla, but you have different forms of major and minor scales… three main forms of the majors - natural, harmonic and melodic, it’s the same for minors
For example in C major… the natural is C,D,E,F,G,A,B and C, the harmonic is C,D,E,F,G,Ab,B and C the melodic ,D,E,F,G,Ab,Bb and C… In A minor scale, for the minor harmonic you just need to augment the 7th /G/by half step to /G#/, and in the melodic to augment 6th /F/ and 7th /G/ by half step to /F# and G#/… there are bi-harmonic scales, too
This option “Smart Scales” is useless… They could include something like that, just to highlight the positions of tones, if someone needs it, but not to skip writing…

I totally disagree with the above. It would be extremely useful for me, and I am sure others. Yes I agree, there are different forms of minor/major scales. But, you could still limit to that type of minor/major scale. For example, if I choose the scale to be an “A Harmonic Minor”, only the keys in the A Harmonic minor scale can be drawn, edited, and moved.

This has been requested before, so…

But I think it would be pretty cool and a time-saver. Especially if we could create our own custom scales in addition to the large number Cubase already has (hey a guy can dream). Also the ability to restrict notes to scale, chord or chord+scale (for when you have chords with non-scale tones in them) would make it more flexible. Basically it would let you quickly sketch in melodic shapes. You could also use it to restrict moving selected notes by the up/down arrows to only the allowed notes Then you could turn it off to fine tune and add accidentals. Conceptually it is similar to how quantize & snap work, except in the pitch not time domain. Let’s call it pitch quantization.

When I’m writing melodies I’ll often think in terms of big step up, small steps down, down, down; repeat starting on the root of the next chord; repeat for next chord but invert the shape, etc. A function to restrict pitches would make stuff like that much quicker to do.

Right now I often create little rhythmic sequences of notes all on the same pitch. Then highlight and repeat the sequence several times. Then I arrow through the notes and move them up and down to create a melody. As it is this is faster than hand drawing in every note at its pitch. But if I didn’t have to raise and lower them through pitches I’m not using it would be even quicker.

Actually you can do this now if you set the Event Colors in the Key Editor (upper right of window) to follow the Chord Track.

Also I don’t think the intention is to “skip writing” but rather to facilitate and streamline the writing process.

I definitely agree with the above. Anything that can make melody writing quick and efficient when you use the midi key editor. How about also tools for counterpoint? When I write melodies, I never use a keyboard, but operate directly on midi the key editor. I truly hope midi editing will be a big focus on the next upgrade.




  • 1

I really like the concept. It would be also great to have all the scales currently available in Cubase as well as being able to add our own custom sales, as was suggested above. Cubase knows how to draw lines very well and having those lines follow scale patterns would be a very interesting and useful creative tool. There might even be a modulus approach where it would only take every other note of a scale and so on.

I’m just getting into Cubase and enjoying the various chord and scale features it offers. This would be a fitting and welcome enhancement to a future version.

You can also use pitch colors:

Jan, wouldn’t that mean reconfiguring the colors of the pitches for any modulation?

Well if you switch scales you would obviously have to reconfigure the colours of your pitches accordingly.

That’s true, though this functionality is already built into the the chord track event colors function.

If you turn off Automatic Scales for the chord track you can insert a scale event. Then scale tones with be in one color, and non-scale tones another. (I’m sure you already know this of course– I post it for the sake of clarity- though, in any case, the original request for actually quantizing pitches to scales in real time)

I can think of this possible way to do it with a macro but its not realtime:

Use the Midi insert “MIDI Modifier” to enter the scale you have setup on the chord track.

Create Macro:
Edit - Open/Close Editor
Midi - Freeze MIDI Modifiers
Edit - Open/Close Editor

Now you can apply the scale to the event you are editing.

I attached a gif to show what I mean:

Hi an old thread but has this been built upon in C8.5 at all? I don’t really like using cubase’s chord track with all the additional routing involved… I think it was in ableton live that i recently saw you could simply select a key you were in in the key editor window and all notes outside of that key would be greyed out. You could still draw in any notes but it just serves as a visual reference. This would be an awesome feature in Base.


Fold Button like Ableton Plz … clean and simple!

Nice one man, didn’t know what it was called.

+100 Fold Button :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

You can insert a scale event on the chord track without routing anything. (turn off automatic scales). Then set the Event Colors dropdown in the Key Editor to Chord track.