My Marbles Scales

@Dadodetres brought up the topic of custom Marbles scales recently, and I realized I’ve never shared my custom scales, so here we go.

These are based on my personal music theory/language, and with the ability to switch scales using cv via @ukyzky ‘s alt firmware were meant to work together allowing me to switch harmonic function and color within a given key.

The note sequences show how the scales are built up moving the Steps knob ccw from fully cw, and the resulting chords/scales are listed below. The terms in curly brackets are my names for those scales.

E | C Ab | G | Eb B | Db F A

C Augmented Hexatonic
C Tcherepnin[1] {C Augmented Enneatonic}

C | E B | F# | A | D# G

Am6/9 {C Vibrant Pentatonic}
E Harmonic Minor

G | F B | C | D Ab | E

G11(b9) {C Dominant Hexatonic}
C Harmonic Major

F | C G | D | Bb A | Eb

Gm11 {C Resonant Hexatonic}
G Natural Minor

C | Eb G | Bb | F | Db A

C Pentatonic Minor
Bb Melodic Minor

Eb | C Gb | Bb | Db Fb | G A

{C Diminished Hexatonic}
C Korsakovian[2] {C Diminished Octatonic}

[1] see Alexander Tcherepnin (Serge Tcherepnin’s father (yes that Serge))

[2] Alexander Tcherepnin’s father, Nikolai, coincidentally was a pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for whom this scale is named.


I just programmed 6 custom scales in my 2 Marbles.
Been thinking of it for months, and since I got a gig in 3 weeks, I stopped procrastination and did it.
On each table, the column of the left is the Scale degree, and the number on the right is the amount of times I presses the CV keybourd controller (so its the amount related to STEPs knob).

Pentatonic ( ++ )
(I call it “++” because it actually has the 4th and 7th scale tone, but in a very low percentage, so if I actually want the full Major Scale, I can set STEPs to 12:30 o`clock).

1- 14
2- 7
3- 9
4- 2
5- 9
6- 7
7- 2

(I prioritize the 7m to the 5th)

1- 14
2- 5
3- 10
4- 5
5- 5
6- 2
7m- 9

(When I play the Piano, I found playing a lot in Lydian, but the 4+ degree is so strong and characteristic and evokes so much mystery, than I didnt priorityze it, and left is as a color to add sparsely anfter wondering around the ther major triad)

1- 14
2- 5
3- 10
5- 9
6- 2
7- 3

(This scale givers more priotity to 9th and 11th degrees, then to 6th and 7th, then to 3rd and 5th, so it can be only for color on top of whatever is happening harmonically in the patch)

1- 12
2- 10
3- 2
4- 10
5- 2
6- 7
7- 7

(Easy and simple for Bass Lines or Brass Pads)

1- 20
4- 12
5- 13
7m- 5

Bass for Pentatonic
(this one is a mixture of what I usually play on my left hand when playing piano in a Pentatonic scale. I only contains the 5 pentatonic notes, having the 3rd and 6th degree in lower amount, since is ment to be for bass and those degrees are the ones thet make the harmony Minor when played on bass.)

1- 20
2- 8
3- 3
5- 15
6- 4


Thank you for sharing.
However, for a real music theory noob like me, this doesn’t makes sense to program it into marbles…what if someone was ready to share it as a midi file, this way noobs like me could just put it into marbles from our daw?
Maybe it’s very annoying to do or something, let me know

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Your approach is probably much more practical then mine, I have a tendency to overthink things a little bit :woozy_face: Looks great

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If you have a keyboard with cv out (eg: Arturia keystep) or midi to cv then you could just play the notes from the scales above into marbles.

Nini, as says below, scales are entered with a CV keyboard, no MIDI from the DAW.
Also, if you got the chance, the scales I programed are super “musically simple” and “practical” (as Jeaux said) so I encourage to try them.

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Yep, simple works for me.
Also, In eurorack I so far do not change key within a patch, either for Drone or Rhythm (which im new), so i`ll pick one of those and stick to it for at least 1 day.
Also, I play Ambient piano regularly, and frequently in a Cafe near my home. Ive been doing it for 6 years and make the music for about 1 hour, regular clients already know the music i make. When O play piano I stick to one key for a while (several minutes or way more), then when the music asks for, I change key. Rarely I make chord changes bar-to-bar. I use my experience as an ambient piano player to decipher the scales to programe into marbles, and the numbers on the Right column are based on this.

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Cool thread.

I spent a full day (and lots of grief) trying to figure out why my custom scales were missing notes until I realized I wasn’t letting up the previously played note while entering them from a keyboard (there’s probably a musical term for this). All good now, and really opens up Marbles. It’s much easier to enter scales than I thought it would be.

My chosen scales (all in C): Mixolydian, Aeolian, Pentatonic, Blues scale, and Hungarian minor. The 6th is left open to be used as needed.

All three X outputs go through a CalTrans which allow me to change the entire key simultaneously. Good times.

@Dadodetres Your choice to prioritize certain notes over others, is that based on some kind of music theory, or from what you know you like to play?

I should give this idea more thought. Thanks.

While we’re here, any tips on getting Marbles to play two or three notes more or less simultaneously more often in order to emulate chords from the X outputs?

For chords you can try transposing just one voice up or down a 5th. I’ve gotten some interesting results doing that. Or maybe transpose one up and one down.

You can also just transpose one up and one down an octave so even when they hit the same note it won’t be unison.

Another idea is to use one output to control the root note and another to choose the chord, maybe the third to choose the inversion. I guess it all depends on the voice you’re working with.

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Thanks! But I meant getting 2 or 3 X values sent at more or less the same time. This is probably very easy and I’m missing it…

Patch one of the t outputs to the CLOCK input on the X side.

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Brilliant (and blew open my mind with other ideas). Thank you.

This is called “legato” in musical terms, where the 2nd note does trigger and just changes pitch but continues the flow from the previous note.

I study musical theory 22 years ago from the perspective of electric bass guitar. I was taught the Modes, not just the scales, so (western) musical theory became second nature. I play actively in several bands, different instruments, and also Im an audio engineer who owns a semi-commercial studio and produce bands records, so I been through lots of different musical approaches. The scales I choose are based on those experiences as a musician but also as a music lover, who can speak the language and know the terms.
There are still some “musical approaches” I yet cannot seem to make, and Im exploring several Modules (like Instruo Harmonaig) to archive those.

I don’t know if this is actually what you mean, but one week ago I proposed an idea for a Firmware update/alternative firmware in which the three X outputs wouldn’t repeat the notes played, so every time Marbles trigger, a new triad chord is created. To add to that Idea, and expand, maybe there can be another layer of programming where X1 would favor the “most common notes” from the scale selected, while X2 the middle, and X3 the rarest ones. I don’t know if this is doable software wise.
Also the other idea sites in that proposition is having STEPS be quantized in all the knob spread, and when it is before 12oclock, then the “common notes” would start to be removed.

Jazz is Vaguely used here, since “jazz” is a infinite world of permutations of Western Theory. I used the term “Jazz” as the first thing jazz musicians learn (harmonically) is to use the notes that are not bread and butter" (-Miles Davis quote), which are the 9th, and 11th, instead of 3rd and 5th.


This is what Ive been doing to make the “repiting note” less frequent.

How would you do that? where do you plug the 2nd output?

I dont understand what you both mean here, and Im really interested since we are in this topic.
Can you develop or explain more detailed?

I was imagining using Plaits in chord mode, but it could be done with other modules as well. X1 could modulate the chord type (Harm cv), X2 to V/Oct, X3 to inversion (Timbre cv).

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I understand now!

I think xidnpnlss’s goal was to get all 3 outputs of Marbles to change at the same time (instead of having them triggered independently by the t1, t2 and t3 outputs) – this is achieved by sending a clock signal on the X clock input.


To get chords:

You could also try using a trigger delay (manually adjusted to ‘hit’ at the right time). Eg: MI Stages red can do this.

Then take the delayed trigger and use it to trigger a sample and hold (MI Stages orange or Kinks). The T out should be this input in of the S&H.