Scales and arpeggios MIDI files

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cussansc
Posts: 6

Post by cussansc » 08-21-10 8:16 am

Hi All,

I have just started my grade 6 piano and was thinking how useful it would be if I could find MIDI files for all the scales and arpeggios that are needed so that I could practice them using synthesia. I have been looking online for hours and was wondering if anybody here may please be able to help me.

Thanks,

Colin

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-21-10 12:20 pm

I have the ABRSM Grade 5 scales, and I'm currently piggy-backing Grades 5 and 6 (but I haven't got onto Grade 6 scales yet, just pieces). I'd need to ask Nicholas if I can post them, as I'm not sure if scales can be copyrighted!

Nicholas
Posts: 12035

Post by Nicholas » 08-21-10 2:18 pm

For my reference, we're talking about this (pdf link from this page), right?

Certainly we can't use any MIDI files they've published. Though, I'm not sure you can copyright "all keys, major and minor legato, hands together and separately, 4 octaves" Outside of showing the proper fingerings, Synthesia already has nearly enough music-theory type stuff built in to generate those types of things on the fly. In fact, if we could find public domain versions of all (or at least most) of the other pieces listed in those syllabuses, it'd be kind of a neat feature to include all of that in the same graded structure where you'd have to work through it one grade at a time.

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-21-10 7:10 pm

We are certainly talking about that page, Nicholas, assuming that Colin is taking an Associated Board (ABRSM) exam. The ABRSM do not publish MIDI files, but they do publish a book of scales for each grade which includes the requirements for that particular grade along with the necessary scale notation. While I do have the book for Grade 5, and presumably Colin has the book for Grade 6, I did not use any ABRSM-published books in creating the MIDI files I use to practice my scales. (I actually had them automatically generated to the specification of the ABRSM Grade 5 exams by a plugin in the Sibelius notation software I use, so none of the information was actually lifted from the books except for necessary information such as scale ranges and expected minimum speeds, as well as the particular scale selection for the grade, of course.)

There is nothing to say that the output of the Sibelius plugin is copyrighted. If all else fails, I could start again from scratch and just create all the MIDI files again by hand, and release them into the public domain.

Regarding the pieces though, all of the ones published in the book have been edited by ABRSM editors and are therefore definitely copyrighted, and will not be legal to include in Synthesia. The first four List A pieces have a good chance of being found in the public domain via another edition due to being old enough, but the other pieces, as far as I know, are copyrighted because they are 19-20th century pieces, therefore the author/editor(s) of any of the currently-published existing editions are not likely to have all been dead for at least seventy complete years.

The following information is from the UK Copyright Licensing Agency site, but bear in mind that this deals with UK law. However, the "seventy years" condition also applies to US copyright law, from what I can gather - but don't quote me on that, because I don't know enough about US copyright law to actually verify this.
How long does copyright last?


The duration of copyright varies according to the work involved.


For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works it is 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies (if there is more than one author it will be 70 years from the death of the last remaining author).


For typographical arrangements (ie layout or appearance of the printed article), the duration is 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published with that layout/appearance.


It is important to note that whilst the underlying work itself might be out of copyright, if a new edition is set and printed or additional text such as an introduction is added these new elements will attract copyright protection.

Nicholas
Posts: 12035

Post by Nicholas » 08-21-10 8:25 pm

Regarding Sibelius, that comes down to licensing. Usually "student" editions or even full versions of software purchased under an academic (lower cost) license, generally don't allow you to publish your works. Though, the second green box on the right hand side of this page for Sibelius Student does say "Share and sell scores worldwide on SibeliusMusic.com" so maybe they don't have that limitation.

Beyond that, anything you create in a piece of software is usually considered your own work, right? Even if the built-in tools are the ones doing most of the job, I'd imagine.

cussansc
Posts: 6

Post by cussansc » 08-22-10 4:35 am

Electode/Nicholas,

Thank you so very much for all of your help. At them moment learning all these new scales seems so daunting, but I'm sure if I had the confidence of knowing I was playing the right notes and in time then the whole process would be so much easier. I had assumed that the pieces themselves would be copyrighted, but hopeful that MIDI versions of the scales will be fine and that it is just the fingering that has protection. Thank you once again for your help and advice.

Colin

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-22-10 9:43 am

Nicholas, I made sure to get myself the Professional edition precisely because I did not want any express or implied limitations being imposed on anything I create. I have looked for information on whether scales themselves (and their fingerings) are copyrighted, and all my searching has not actually turned up anything that said that scales are copyrighted. The best I can find is that only the typographical conventions and the layouts of the printed editions of scale books are copyrighted - which relates to what I said earlier in the thread.

So, making MIDI files of scales is OK because scales are essentially public domain. Printed scale books (and books with editions) are copyrighted, but only relating to the layouts/fonts/graphics/edits etc. The actual scale notes are not copyrighted.

If we can agree on this, I will post the scales I have.
Last edited by Electrode on 08-22-10 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nicholas
Posts: 12035

Post by Nicholas » 08-22-10 1:49 pm

Electrode wrote:So, making MIDI files of scales is OK because scales are essentially public domain...
Well, with one exception. The fixed-in-MIDI representation of any scales you post would technically be copyrighted by Electrode! :D

If you're willing to disclaim copyright and place them in the public domain (or even something like cc-by) then we'll finally be there. I would say feel free to post them.

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-22-10 4:44 pm

The Creative Commons licence you linked to sounds good, Nicholas, so I think I'll release it under something like that. I'll take a look at the licences they offer, but I'll be sure to choose one that allows redistribution and adaptation (with credit for the original work). I think the licence you offered pretty much covers that, actually.

The plan is: I will redo the scales and arpeggios to make them as generic as possible (i.e. not to any ABRSM standards). However, I will do them in such a way that speeds will easily correlate to BPM (i.e. 100% = 100 BPM). Therefore, you will be able to simply use Up/Down arrows and TAB + Up/Down to change the speed to whatever you desire. (e.g. for Grade 5, you'd set the speed to 126%)

I'll start work on them tonight, and they should start going up within the next day or two (or maybe even tonight if I can work fast enough).

There will be separate files for similar and contrary motion, and separate files for major and minor keys. All 12 keys will be in each file (EDIT: it's actually 15 keys for both major and minor, so the scales are in 15 keys, not 12), and you can use the loops to practice any specific scale. I will also do separate files for one/two/three/four octaves. I will bundle each scale set (with all ranges) in a separate ZIP file, so all the similar motion major scales (1/2/3/4 octaves) will be in one ZIP, etc.

Regarding fingering, would it be better to include a TXT file with fingerings in the ZIP files, or would you rather the fingerings just be posted up here? Or both? Let me know! (EDIT: Fingering is included in a TXT file in the archive. I decided not to clutter up the forum by including them here also.)
Last edited by Electrode on 08-27-10 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cairnz
Posts: 182

Post by cairnz » 08-22-10 5:59 pm

Fingering! - whatever it takes to get it faster into the game. It's my #1 "hmm" at the moment. Even on some simple czerny i'm all like .. what finger goes where! - practicing technique and memorizing seems to be my teaching bane at the moment. I'm planning on checking out Sibeilus Auralia and Musition for some ear training + music theory, but it seems Synthesia will cover quite a lot with these things + fingering.

Say it again, Fingering!

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-24-10 7:09 pm

Here are the major scales. Fingering is provided in a TXT file. Licence information is also provided in a TXT file (which basically states that the scales are released under the cc-by 3.0 licence, along with a little bit more information). The MIDI files come with markers at the start and end of each scale, so you can import them as bookmarks in Synthesia. Each scale has a one bar break before it (except the starting scale). This break is to allow an early change to the next key signature, making sure the key and note labels have changed in good time before you start playing. This also gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with the note names of the new key before starting to play the scale. (Getting to know the notes of a certain scale is very valuable for sight reading.) I don't think it would be much use when looping, though. It should be somewhat useful for Practice Mode and Rhythm Mode.

Let me know (by posting here) if there are any problems with the files, or if you're having trouble with understanding my (perhaps a bit too concise) fingering explanations.

Have fun! :D

Next up: similar motion harmonic minors!
Attachments
Scales for Synthesia - Majors.zip
MIDI files for the major scales (all 15 keys, 1-4 octaves, 100 bpm)
(8.12 KiB) Downloaded 1904 times

vicentefer31
Posts: 899
Location: Madrid, Spain

Post by vicentefer31 » 08-25-10 4:40 am

Thanks Electrode
Picasso: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

cussansc
Posts: 6

Post by cussansc » 08-25-10 6:50 am

Thanks Electrode- that is hugely appreciated :-)

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cairnz
Posts: 182

Post by cairnz » 08-26-10 3:03 pm

Is there any reason why the order of the scales seem to be mixed up? (I'd be expecting C, Db, D, Eb, or something in that order)

Nicholas
Posts: 12035

Post by Nicholas » 08-26-10 4:03 pm

They follow the circle of fifths. Each scale loses one flat / gains one sharp.

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-26-10 7:50 pm

Not only that, but grouping the scales using the circle of fifths allows for easier understanding of scale fingerings.

C, G, D, A, E major are all fingered the same way. (12312345 right hand or 54321321 left hand)
Cb/B, Gb/F#, Db/C# major are similar... (thumbs on white keys except for B major starting note in left hand, which is finger 4)
...as are Ab, Eb, Bb, F major (Finger 4 on Bb in right hand except for starting note in Bb major which is finger 2, 32143213 is the pattern for this group in the left hand - except for F major, which follows Group 1 in the left hand)

Each scale group requires a different fingering, and therefore, different technique.

All the groups follow the circle of fifths within the group itself, and the last scale of each group leads directly on to the first one of the next group (wrapping back to C once you get past F). So, every major scale is part of one of these three groups. Having all the scales grouped together allows you to learn one fingering pattern for multiple scales, and be able to repeat that pattern multiple times (with one or two slight alterations) by playing different scales. This allows you to memorise and commit to your muscle memory the fingering patterns required for all scales in a greatly-reduced amount of time than if the scales were arranged chromatically. It is easier to go from C to G (change the F to F# and start on G instead of C) than to go from C to Db. (No flats or sharps, to five flats! Not good!)

Understanding the circle of fifths is definitely one of the top five most useful things to learn in music theory. The foundation of all classical and pop harmony is based on this concept.

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-27-10 12:49 pm

I apologise for the double post, but I want to keep the files separate from any other posts I make in this thread.

Here are the similar motion harmonic minors. Next up: melodic minors!
Attachments
Scales for Synthesia - Harmonic Minors.zip
MIDI files for the harmonic minor scales (same format as before)
(9.5 KiB) Downloaded 1492 times

Nicholas
Posts: 12035

Post by Nicholas » 08-27-10 1:13 pm

If that's what you call a double-post, sometimes I quadruple post! You're fine.

My definition is when you hit the submit button in rapid succession and you actually get two of the same thing.

cussansc
Posts: 6

Post by cussansc » 08-27-10 4:03 pm

@Electode/Nicholas Thanks again to you both I have been overwhelmed with your help regarding my initial post. My scales are now coming along very nicely :-)

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-27-10 6:28 pm

It's wonderful that I can be given the opportunity to help this project, and to help others too! In my opinion, Synthesia has lacked a decent "Technique Building" section filled with scales and exercises and things of that nature, and only now is that starting to get addressed with these scales, and with the Hanon and Czerny that have been recently posted up on this forum.

Synthesia is geared towards beginners, with the emphasis on the G Major stuff, but for those intermediate students who have hit a plateau in their learning and want to break through that barrier while not wanting it to seem like they have to continually whack their heads against a brick wall to do so (I'm talking about myself, here, as well as others in a similar situation to me!) - then these sorts of technique exercises will really help, as well as other things I'm planning to eventually get up here (such as Burgmüller's Op. 100, which has been called 25 Studies, 25 Progressive Studies, or 25 Easy and Progressive Studies - which is brilliant for working on technique while actually playing music at the same time! But that's for after these scales.)

I still have the melodic minors, contrary motion majors and minors, major arpeggios, minor arpeggios, chromatic scales, contrary motion chromatic scales and scales in thirds to go, so I anticipate working on these for a few weeks yet (as an optimistic estimate!). Please be patient with me, and the scales will gradually go up section by section. Also, please do let me know if I'm missing an important section out! I wouldn't want these scales to seem incomplete. :)

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