Circuit's in Key | NovationMusic.com

Searching for a solution to scales and chords?
You don’t need to understand musical theory to make use of Circuit

For today’s outside the box (OTB) producers, getting scales and chords can be a problem. Let us introduce to you to the inspirational grid-based Circuit.

Circuit is a great electronic musical instrument based on two Novation MiniNova synth engines, four drum parts and a six-track, 16-step sequencer.

Circuit is extremely flexible in how it lets you configure the note pads in the playing grid to suit many musical genres in key or scale. There are two aspects to specifying how the note pads are laid out: the scale and the root note.

Up to 16 musical scales are available: these include those common in western musical styles such as major, natural minor, pentatonic and chromatic as well as more unusual scales (or modes) such as Dorian, Lydian and Mixolydian. Not all these scales contain eight notes, though the only one that has more than eight is Chromatic, with 12.

You don’t need to understand musical theory to make use of different scales. Because Circuit lets you alter the scale in use after you’ve created a pattern, it’s easy to get an idea of their effect and their differences.

Record a simple pattern of synth notes, then play it back using different scales, and you’ll notice that with some scales certain notes shift up or down a semitone, and that this gives the 'melody' you’ve composed quite distinct 'moods' or 'feels', some of which will be more suited to what you’re trying to achieve than others.

Furthermore, although the default keyboard is based on a note of C, it is possible to redefine the lowest sounding note to be any note of the chosen scale.

Both scale and root note are set using the Scales View, accessed by pressing the Scales button.

You can store your notes and chords in the sequencer. To edit any synth part notes, press and hold a step on the bottom two rows while pressing notes from the top two rows.

We created three videos to show you how easy it is to make a track using Circuit, even if you don’t understand musical theory, due to its powerful Scales Mode.

How to make chords

How to develop chords with Scales Mode

How to play melodies using Circuit