Jacobs Ladder – An endless Scale

A piano sampled to reproduce a shepard scale effect....

The story

Dear PianoBook-Community

I created a kontakt instrument to demonstrate the illusion of the “shepard scale”. For this i sampled three octaves from the piano in my classroom with a zoom H6. After a while of experimenting with the right volume i think I found the right balance to deceive our ears.

To hear the effect, just play any scale and you’re not gonna realize that you always stay in the same octave.
And because a scale is called ladder in german, I named the instrument “Jacobs ladder – an endless scale”
Beside the possibility to demonstrate this phenomenon the sound is also useful as a piano-hit for all kind of music styles.
I hope you have fun with it.

P.S. There is also a rotary effect on the modwheel.

Reviews

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  • I am not sure what I am supposed to do with this

    While I love the movie, I am a little split when it comes to this instrument. The idea is based around the "Shepard Tone" effect, which is the illusion of a sound where its pitch feels that it is constantly rising, when it really doesn't. This is done by stacking and overdubbing notes from lower and higher octaves, and that's what is going on with this instrument. It's really just one octave. It's cool, it has minimal noise, fake velocity dynamics, and a modwheel that adds an effect with a cool GUI design. It's an interesting phenomenon, though I am not sure how this can be used musically more than just a few times.

    Alex Raptakis19 October 2021