Sven's Guitar Site
Theory made simple - the music slide rule
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In my humble opinion, most parts of music theory are some kind of simple math (no division, no square roots!). The problem is that we are all used to calculate with numbers, but calculating with A, Eb, G# etc. is kinda unusual for most of us. When I started learning music theory, many years ago, I had that problem and an idea that would help me to do the "calculations" in whatever key required. I have built a music slide rule.


That slide rule even impressed my teacher at that time. I haven't used it in a long time (althought it would have helped me to do some things quicker), but it is still around somewhere. On my trip to the USA and Canada (it was echo jam time again), I have found another kind of music slide rule im my buddy's basement, which he is using for transposing music to other keys.


This inspired me to develope an improved version of a music slide rule, with more features and losta handy information on the back side.


It is eay to make (requires about 10 minutes of work). You just have to print out the GIF-file (or the TIF file, in case you can handle it better) I have made, glue it on some cardboard, cut out the parts, and to glue them together.

What is the music slide rule good for? - Examples

How to build your own music slide rule in 10 minutes.

Download the template for the parts of the sliderule.

Download the template for the parts of the sliderule in TIF format here.

In case you have problems to print out the GIF-File, try the ACDSee Picture Viewer. IMHO one of the best programs for viewing picture files any way and worth to try. The TIF file should be printable in the normal size and you can e.g. paste it into a MS Word file to print it out. It is a bit (50%) bigger though.

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Last modified on Friday, 2. January 2009