Scala is a powerful software tool for experimentation with musical tunings, such as just intonation scales, equal and historical temperaments, microtonal and macrotonal scales, and non-Western scales. It supports scale creation, editing, comparison, analysis, storage, tuning of electronic instruments, and MIDI file generation and tuning conversion. All this is integrated into a single application with a wide variety of mathematical routines and scale creation methods. Scala is ideal for the exploration of tunings and becoming familiar with the concepts involved. In addition, a very large library of scales is freely available for Scala and can be used for analysis or music creation.
Great care has been taken to make Scala's functions and operations very general. The range of parameter values that commands accept is made as general as possible. Often various forms of input are allowed. No arbitrary restrictions are made. Scales are stored in a flexible format. Intervals can be entered and saved as either ratios or cents values and be intermixed within a scale.
Constructing scales from scratch is one of Scala's strengths. Kinds of scales that can be made with Scala include: equal temperaments, well-temperaments, Pythagorean (meantone) scales, Euler-Fokker genera, Fokker periodicity blocks, harmonic scales, Partch diamonds, Polychordal scales, Dwarf scales and Wilson Combination Product Sets. In addition, a set of command files is included to build other kinds of scales such as triadic scales, circular mirrorings, circulating temperaments, etc., and to serve as examples.
Nowadays many software synthesizers like AlsaModularSynth, Tobybear Helios, MAZ Sound VSampler,
Orion Pro, VirSyn Cube, Cantor, TERA 2, rgc:audio z3ta+, Cakewalk Rapture, and Yoshimi have adopted
the Scala scale file format (see for a complete list) as a means to tune
them instead of with a native tuning dump file. There's also
a do-it-yourself hardware synth: PreenFM2 frequency modulation sound generator
Other instruments can be supported through modification of an external data file, if the system exclusive data format is straightforward.
Not all synthesizers have microtuning support in the form of a tuning table, or one with sufficient resolution, and therefore cannot be directly tuned by Scala. Hopefully more future synthesizers will be equipped with a full keyboard variable tuning capability. Be careful to check this before you buy.
See examples of some of Scala's features.
Click on the pictures to get a larger image.
Scala was created by Manuel Op de Coul in the Netherlands. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggestions for improvements are always welcome. Contact the author in the event of questions or problems.
User interface languages available: English and Dutch. Help to create more translations is welcome.
Scala is freeware without warranty and may not be sold, modified, or distributed for sale in combination with commercial products. It may only be distributed as one package containing all the files mentioned here and for free.
Go to the Download page.
17 April 2021