Basic Features

Both NewModeWheel and the original ModeWheel feature a graphical wheel that — for any of four common families of Western heptatonic scales — rotates to identify the steps of each of its seven modes in any key. The notes of the scale are displayed on a piano keyboard and can be sounded via an audioclip. Each version of the application has its specific advantages and intended audience, and each is available for both Windows and macOS.

Advantages of NewModeWheel:

Screenshot of NewModeWheel app

Intended for musicians who prefer a simpler and more responsive interface, NewModeWheel

  • Displays all four families in a single window, which simplifies quick comparison of modes across families and tonic keys
  • Substitutes higher-quality graphics, optimized for newer computer screens
  • Employs better-quality (.mp3) audioclips of the scales (ascending only)
  • Includes intuitive computer keyboard shortcuts to switch quickly between scales without needing to reach for the mouse or trackpad.

Advantages of the Original ModeWheel:

Screenshot of original ModeWheel app

Designed as a (hopefully) more entertaining and informative introduction to the concept of modes, the original ModeWheel includes a more elaborate animated and color-coded display, with various audio playback options (employing somewhat lower-quality audioclips):

  • The scale steps of the chosen mode and its root seventh chord are displayed, with alterations from the basic scale marked in color
  • On audio playback, each note is highlighted on the keyboard as it is played
  • A simple II-V-I progression of seventh chords (in root position), sounded either as chords or as arpeggios
  • Options to adjust the tempo, rhythm, and octaves for playback of the scale and to adjust the tempo and rhythm of the arpeggiated chords
  • Program menus that identify computer keyboard shortcuts to minimize the need to use a mouse/trackpad to trigger the basic options
  • A Quickstart Manual (in PDF format) that details most of its features.

This two-minute videoclip (in .mp4 format) displays the basic features of ModeWheel:

ModeWheel demo video

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