The Optimal String Instrument-technics' Regular Exerciser


Last update: 01.09.2012.


Autors' clause


The OSIRE – as such

The instruments supported by OSIRE

Scale systems used in OSIRE

How the OSIRE works

Additional chapters about OSIRE


Autors' clause


All rights are reserved. Any unauthorised copying, editing, exhibition, public/private performance (teaching), diffusion and/or lending for aforementioned purposes, of this application or any part thereof is strictly prohibited. Infrigements of the rights of the copyright owner and/or terms of the contract for the sale of this application may lead to civil action being taken. Breach of the copyright law may also result in criminal offences punishable by fine or imprisonment.




In our age, enormous efforts are being invested in 'digitalising', 'putting into the computer', and tries to virtualise the whole world. We could spend hours debating on its benefits (or lack of them), and it also brings up important ethical issues, but this process is unstoppable, and happening right now. You are reading it in your browser, You are part of It. We all are.

Why? Because despite its shortcomings, there are huge possibilities underlying in it as well! The Guitar School of Penzes exploits the benefits of the digital world since 2004, and that makes it the very first Hungarian institution to do so. It is logical to assume therefore, that due to this continuous effort of merging musical studies and computer programming has resulted in the development and distribution of a teaching and exercising software product. All we needed is a completely logical methodology and a genius computer scientist. I would like to introduce Tamas Toth,



who have shown his talents before with the Midronome software in other chapters. It took him three weeks to come up with the first version of the Optimal String Instrument Techniques' Regular Exerciser (the OSIRE), and he surprises me every week with some extra function or some other eye candy. We have many things in common, one of this is the desire to build up a working system on solid foundations. Thus, we are both a bit maniacs .



So, let's see what have we got here!


The OSIRE – as such


Due to the programming skills of Tamas, this piece of software does not simply comply with the methodology of Penzes, but develops it further in certain aspects. The original name for the product was 'The Real Guitar Hero', but we wanted to avoid conflicts with the creators of this nonsense called 'Guitar Hero'.




This is our 'newborn baby, the OSIRE itself.


(horizontal view of the fretboard of a 6-string guitar in 1v)

(the vertical view of the fingerboard of a cello)


The original name of this software which appeared on this website was OGRE, which represented the fact that we wanted this to be used with guitars, and guitars only. Of course this has no relation whatsoever to the film character Shrek, but has something in common with two things:

Well, we won't have any great adventures with this software, but we are confident that it will propagate slowly and surely across Western-Europe and the USA later on.

I am very confident in the future prospects of this software.


How the OSIRE is different to other software products on the market?
The biggest problem with current software solutions is that they failed to realise the fact that the classic music theory does not apply to them any more, and the visual user interface (the fretboard, for example) is distorted to look like tabs (the lowest E string is on the bottom), and the other part is always tab or keyboard.




The methodology of Penzes have decommissioned classic guitar tabs, as they are as far from logical and understandable as London from New Jersey.
Tabulatures are also not optimal because

So, the only optimal and straightforward way is the mirror-method of Penzes,



which can be viewed in the OSIRE between 7-32 frets, with the default of 24.


The other current disadvantage of current software products that they don't have a built-in 'learning curve', enabling students to learn as they go. There are software suites like Finale or GuitarPro, which displays the music, but has no practice feature built in. However, Earmaster does it the other way, which was meant to develop the 'musical ear' in students by having complex exercises in solfege.


It is my professional opinion that the only way leading to instrumental knowledge is trough practising technical scale structures, which will evolve to scale variations later on. I don't take back this statement even if I admit that I am not familiar with the teaching methods for other instruments than guitars.
However I see where the pointless effort of song learning goes: nowhere. The only way to teach a student with average abilities is to introduce a systematic methodology, which the student can later on think in. The OSIRE was made for this purpose, to give aid in this systematic approach.
First of all, we need to learn the most important the most important music scales in an instrument-centric way. And then, the most important objectives of the system could come: the scale variations. These could be either

  1. Mathematical variations: there is a simple formula, and all the possible combinations can be played along in a particular scale

  2. Musical variations: where there is no point of a mathematical approach, but there are some useful combinations of notes, which is important in techniques, or it simply sounds good.

Of course there will be some negligible amounts of overlaps, but these are not relevant in familiarising with the software.
The OSIRE is a complex exerciser software product for mathematical variations. There are a large number of different variations in the scales (for seven-note scales: 7^25 = 1,341,068,619,663,964,900,807) which are more than enough for perfecting techniques.

The technical and musical methodologies are entirely supported in the Guitar School of Penzes, and will be available in English as well.
The OSIRE is therefore fully compatible and fully related with any of the chapters of the Guitar School of Penzes.


The instruments supported by OSIRE


The OSIRE is capable of modelling and practising with the following instruments:

It is possible to set any tuning configurations and string number in the OSIRE, but there are dedicated hotkeys for each instruments at the top of the main window:



Six-stringed guitar


Seven-stringed guitar


Four-stringed bass guitar


Five-stringed bass guitar


Notice that in instruments where there are no frets, the holding spots (black dots) were relocated to the position of the frets. The reason for this has been discussed in an other chapter.








Double Bass


Scale systems used in OSIRE


Certain tuning configurations are accessible via hotkeys. This section discusses how different scales are noted and how different notes are assigned to different frequencies in the tempered (western) system.


The classical music theory divides the entire audible spectrum to octaves and the following names are given:



The white keys are representing the C-major scale, which is built up with the notes of (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-(C)). The key marked with red spot is the note 'C' (261.62 Hz), which is shown in the tab below


(the two symbols are representing the same note!)


The one lined C note (indicated by red spot above) divides the audible spectrum to two parts, and into octaves: the left hand side is the bass (represented by the F clef), and right hand side the treble (represented by the G clef). There are common parts in the two sides, and it is indicated by the extra lines on the tab. However, the very base note of the of the tempered system is the 440 Hz. This note is located five white keys right from the note C.



Subcontra octave
The two lowest notes available on the keyboard. Most normal pianos have it, including my Roland digital piano.

The two notes are: A2 – B2 - (C)



Contra octave
The classic notation is: C1 – D1 – E1 – F1 – G1 – A1 – B1 - (C)


Big octave
The classic notation is: C – D – E – F – G – A – B - (C)


Small octave
The classic notation is: c – d – e – f – g – a – b - (c)

One lined octave
The classic notation is: c1 – d1 – e1 – f1 – g1 – a1 – b1 - (c)


Two lined octave
The classic notation is: c2 – d2 – e2 – f2 – a2 – b2 - (c)


Three lined octave
The classic notation is: c3 – d3 – e3 – f3 – g3 – a3 – b3 - (c)


Four lined octave
The classic notation is: c4 – d4 – e4 – f4 – g4 – a4 – b4 - (c)


Five lined C note
This note is the only one left, and it really sounds like bird tweeting (4186 Hz). The classic notation is c5.



Well, as you can see, this notation system is far from optimal. Capitals, lower cases, and different numbering systems guarantee the maximum confusion for students. I never wanted and never could learn this. So, let's redefine the notations by using the straightforward MIDI libraries!

And now, we put the OSIRE's standard tuning settings (indicated with yellow) in this table:


Six-stringed guitar
E2 - A2 - D3 - G3 - H3 – E4
82.406 - 110 – 146.832 – 195.997 – 246.941 – 329.627 Hz

Seven-stringed guitar

H1 - E2 - A2 - D3 - G3 - H3 - E4
61.735 – 82.406 - 110 – 146.832 – 195.997 – 246.941 – 329.627 Hz

Four-stringed bass guitar

E1 – A1 – D2 – G2
41.203 - 55 – 73.416 – 97.998 Hz

Five-stringed bass guitar

H0 - E1 - A1 - D2 - G2
30.876 – 41.203 - 55 – 73.416 – 97.998 Hz


G3 – D4 – A4 – E5
195.997 – 293.664 – 440 – 659.255 Hz


C3 – G3 – D4 – A4
130.812 – 195.997 – 293.664 – 440 Hz


C3 – G3 – D4 – A4
65.406 – 97.998 – 146.832 – 220 Hz

Double bass

E1 – A1 – D2 – G2
41.203 – 55 – 73.416 – 97-998 Hz

The problem of the bass instruments is that their sound is simply too low, and many commercial sound systems simply can't cope with it. For example, the five-stringed bass guitar's lowest note is only 30.86 Hz! We have implemented an option to convert everything an octave higher to get rid of this problem. This feature is accessible through the MIDI preferences:



...and this is it:


How the OSIRE works


The most important feature of the OSIRE is that it assigns numbers to each note in the scale, and these numbers are independent on the scale being used.


An E-minor pentatonic scale looks like this:

E – 0
G – 1
A – 2
H – 3
D – 4

Whereas an F-major scale has the same numbers (relative to the scale)


F – 0
G – 1
A – 2
B – 3
C – 4
D – 5
E – 6


Scale variations in the OSIRE therefore just numbers, that are specified relative to the scale. This enables us to represent different scales the same way, which opens up a lot of possibilities.


The OSIRE does not get involved with techniques of plucking or sounding the string otherwise. Please read the 'User Manual' of the OSIRE to make the most out of this software!


Additional chapters about OSIRE