The Scale Omnibus eBook Explores Nearly 400 Scales From Around The World

Midi-2-the-Max has released a new and more complete edition of The Scale Omnibus, by Francesco Balena.

This 458-page e-book, in PDF format, covers nearly 400 musical scales from all over the world and historic periods. Each scale is described by its intervals and the chords on which it “sounds good”, is transposed to all 12 keys, and often enriched with historical notes and trivia.

Related scales are connected via hyperlinks, so for example you can jump from “Dorian” to “Major” and from there visit all its seven modes.

Several tables in the appendix allow you to find a scale by its name (with 1000+ synonyms), intervals, modes, number of notes, etc.

Pricing and Availability

The Scale Omnibus is available now, as a pdf, download for 9 euros. A free excerpt that covers major and minor scales, and their modes, is also available.

25 thoughts on “The Scale Omnibus eBook Explores Nearly 400 Scales From Around The World

    1. Turns out, version 1.30 is out now, with changes in “similar scales”.

      Between this and the Tonality app and Leimma and Tessitura Pro and Sevish Scale Workshop… There’s quite a bit of material about “all possible scales”, from diverse perspectives.

  1. Yea, Alex, I was just looking to see if there was a way for those of us who bought the last version to get this updated one for free or discount. But if it isn’t an update, then I’m all set.

  2. Does anyone know of a similar resource which includes tunings? I’d imagine many of these interesting scales are not ideally tuned to equal temperament…

  3. I am the author of “The Scale Omnibus” and I apologize for the confusion (and for this long reply…). Being based on the same material, the current edition 1.20 is indeed very similar to previous version 1.10 but it has been thoroughly revised to fix minor mistakes and discard a few duplicated scales that escaped previous revisions and that have been replaced by new scales and the total count is still 399 scales.

    That said, for what I understand of the gumroad e-commerce platform, if you downloaded the e-book in the past – regardless of whether it was a free or paid download – you can download newer editions, as long as you log in gumroad using the same credentials you used for the first purchase. If you are a registered buyer of “The Scale Omnibus” and can’t download this current edition, please let me know.and I’ll fix it asap.

    BTW, I am working on a newer edition which is going to contain much additional info, including mirror scales, subset scales and superset scales. AFAIK, it will be the only scale-related book with this valuable info. As explained, buyers of current edition will be able to download this and all future editions at no additional charge.

    @Peter: Your idea of offering these scales as presets for Live’s scale is *very* interesting, and I’ll have a closer look at it. If I find a way of generating these presets automatically – as to avoid mistakes and accelerate the process – I will surely do it. Thank you for the idea!

    In the meantime, you might want to have a look at MXL PACK, a collection of 40+ max-for-live devices that allow you to manipulate midi in virtually any way possible. One of these devices (MXL Scale) is a sort of Live Scaler on steroids: it supports all 400 scales described in the Omnibus, allows you to quantize incoming notes to the scale using different algorhythms (drop, closer note up/down, etc.), hear how the scale sounds without having a keyboard, play scales on any root note using only white keys, synchronize devices in different tracks for using the same scale & root, apply quantization only to notes in a given pitch/velocity range, and more. You can save these settings in a preset that you recall by hitting a key on your midi keyboard (or by storing a note in the track or in a clip), which permits using this device in live performances more easily than Live’s Scaler. If it sounds intriguing, you can find more info here:

    1. Thanks for this info. I tried using the link that came with my email to download, but it only took me to the 1.10 version. I would like to get the updated version, if possible.

    2. I feel that a book about scales isn’t really complete unless it includes the diatonic chords from each scale.
      I’ve looked at the demo and, whilst it looks very interesting and useful, it doesn’t have those diatonic chords.
      Why the omission?

      1. I disagree. I need scales so I can create melodies and chords freely. I don’t want or need the book to be cluttered up with chords. It is easy to work those out.

      2. @Sonic: let me explain why I left diatonic chords out of the book. The concept of diatonic chords mostly applies to 7-note scales from the Western tradition, such es major, minor melodic and minor harmonic scales, and few others. When discussing pentatonic scales or scales with 9, 10 or 11 notes it’s harder to decide how to build diatonic chords and in fact there is no general agreement on that topic. Also, many scales belong to cultures where harmony is less central than it is in Western culture, and speaking of diatonic chords in those contexts would be nearly meaningless.

    1. It describes 400 distinct scales (and 1040 synonyms), each one is transposed to all 12 keys, with historical notes, hyperlinks between scale and its modes, list of chords over which the scale can be used, etc. The forthcoming release – due in one or two weeks – additionally contains links between scales that differ only for one note (changed, added or removed), which helps discover scales with similar sound and is a great aid when practicing.

  4. I don’t need the PDF version, but would be very interested in throwing cash at the Ableton presets if you can make that work.

  5. @stub @Jim J and all others who tried to download 1.20 … I can’t really expained what happened. Anyway I just upload version 1.20. While I was at it, I included most of the extra info that were scheduled for version 1.30, due in a week or two. Again, if you grab version 1.20 now you will be able to download any future version.

    1. @saxopedia

      I retried the link from the original purchase email, and this time version 1.20 was up. Thanks for fixing it.

      (I apologize if there is a duplicate post here).

  6. Got the email that version 1.30 has dropped. My original download link gave me easy access to the new version. This is an incredibly useful book for composers. The new version makes connections that are helpful.

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