Get mentioned on PlayInKey.com

Do you have a website or a blog that is related to playing or teaching music? Would you like to get mentioned on PlayInKey.com? If you answered yes to these questions then read further to find out how to get listed as resource on PlayInKey.com.

As you may have noticed, every page that describes a particular scale on PlayInKey.com has a section titled ‘References & Background’. This section contains links and references to sources that are relevant to that scale. See for example, the page for E Harmonic Minor.

If you have a website or a blog that contains an article related to a particular scale, such as a music lesson, you can get listed as a resource on PlayInKey.com, which means I will add a link to your article on the page about that scale. In return I ask you to add a link pointing to a page on playinkey.com on your site, that’s all. Seems fair, right?
Use this contact form to get listed! Include the following information in your message:

  • your email so I can contact you
  • the link you would like me to add as a resource
  • a short description (1-2 sentences) about the resource
  • and finally, a link to a page where you will add a link to playinkey.com.

You can also use the same form to ask any questions you might have on your mind.

PlayInKey.com Updated

About a week ago, during the holidays, I finally got around to updating PlayInKey.com and adding some new features. I updated the frontpage and added some new scales and other data and implemented a system for ranking the search results based on their relevance. Here’s a short description of what I did.

A New Frontpage

I attempted to simplify the frontpage and add some color to it. The old frontpage contained a lengthy textual description of the site and was quite boring, so I threw away the text and gave the search-form a more prominent space in the middle of the page. The bigger search form highlights the purpose of the site and is particularly handy when browsing the site with a mobile device. I also created a big logo and changed the layout to add some color. For the logo I used a nice looking font called pg-gene that I found for free from DaFont.com. Easthetically the frontpage now seems way better than the previous version, although there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

New Scales and Data

  • scale steps, incrementally and accumulatively
  • harmonization
  • new scales: diminished, wholetone and the dominant bebop scale

I added a lot of new information on the site. For every scale there is now information about the ‘steps’ of the scale: for every note of the scale, measured in halfsteps, it tells how far the note is from the previous note in the scale, and also accumulatively how far that note is from the root note. This helps to get a grasp of the scale and for guitarists, this information is particularly convenient when playing single string exercises.

For most of the scales, there is also information about how the notes of the scale can be harmonized as four note (ie. seventh) chords by using the common method of stacking thirds on top of the note.

I also added a few more scales in the database, namely the diminished scales, wholetone scales and
the dominant bebop scales (‘The Bebop Scale’) for each key. I’m trying to be a bit selective with respect to
what scales to include in the database, since PlayInKey.com is meant only to be a tool for those interested
in learning modern pop, rock and jazz-oriented music. It isn’t meant to be a full database of all existing
scales in the world, since I fear that too much irrelevant information might dilute the purpose of the site.

A Ranking System for Scales

This is, in my opinion, by far the coolest new feature on the site. I implemented a ranking system that attempts to sort the search results by their relevance with respect to a given query, so that the most relevant results will more likely be on top of the list and more esoteric scale choices are pushed down towards the bottom of the search results. I think this works fairly well particularly for modern popular (western) music, where the choice of scales and chord-progressions tend to be quite conservative and lean towards diatonic due to the way we are accustomed to hearing music. If that sounds boring and you’re looking for something more exotic or controversial, you can use the ranking system to your advantage in that case as well: just look for the more unusual choices by starting from the bottom of the search results.

I will explain the details of how the ranking system works in later blog post, so stay tuned for that!

Rest In Peace, Gary Moore

I was sad to hear just a while ago, that Gary Moore had passed away. He was definitely one of my all time favorite guitarists so I thought I’d take a moment to write a few kind words in his memory. Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one -at the time of writing Twitter lists Gary Moore and Thin Lizzy as trending topics. His website seemed to be down a minute ago, due to overload, I’m guessing, as fans are flocking there after hearing the sad news of him passing away.

I’m sure a lot of people associate him especially with the beatiful ballad Still Got the Blues. When I picked up the guitar at the age of thirteen the album Still Got the Blues had just been out for a little while. I used to listen to that album over and over only hoping I could someday sound something like that. His music was a constant source of inspiration when I was trying to learn to play the guitar, and still is. Not many people could make the Les Paul sing the way he did. Just listen to the instrumental ‘Supernatural’ on Blues for Greeny for an example, if you don’t know what I mean. How can feedback and distortion sound so wonderful :-) That beautiful guitar sound with endless sustain paired with great songs like Parisienne Walkways have definitely ensured that his legacy will last for a long, long time. Rest In Peace, Gary Moore.

Introducing PlayInKey.com

For the topic of the first blog post here at the PlayInKey Backstage Blog, I thought it would be appropriate to explain what PlayInKey.com really is. Play In Key is a free search engine for musical scales, covering the most common scales used in modern pop, rock and jazz.

It’s free and open for everyone.

Since it’s still at an infant state, some of the features are still under development, but the most central feature -querying for scales by using a set of notes- is already completely functional. Scales and modes that Play In Key currently covers are the diatonic scales as well as the harmonic and melodic minor scales and their most commonly used modes in all keys, plus the minor blues scale and pentatonic major and minor scales. I will be adding more data and features along the way (besides working on developing PlayInKey.com I work 9-5, so it might take a while for me to get everything up and running…). On the list of upcoming features are things like coverage of the diminished scales and some other scales and a ranking scheme to rank the search results based on their relevancy with respect to the query.

Ultimately I’m aiming for Play In Key to be a tool for learning scales and music theory. With this I am targeting people who already know some basics but still want to learn some more. And there is always something more to learn… PlayInKey.com might at some point expand to include other tools besides the search engine, but at the moment I’m focusing on improving the search features.

Besides using Play In Key to find scales it could also be used as a toy for exploring and for trying to get some fresh musical ideas in case you happen to find yourself in a creative rut. For example, pick a scale or a key that you’re not familiar with (say… Phrygian Dominant Scale in A sharp, anyone?) and try to write some music using that scale and see what you can come up with. Let me know if you come with something cool by using this method. I’d love to hear about it :-)

If you want to read some more about PlayInKey.com, go to the About page on the blog site. Also help me improve the site and let me know if you find any bugs or if you have any feature requests etc.

Now, go to PlayInKey.com to try it out!

Test for Echo!

Finally got the blog up and running. Slowly getting the hang of this whole blogging thing…
RW52CZK34VSB