Chromatic scale drawn as a circle
: each note is equidistant from its neighbors, separated by a semitone of the same size.
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone above or below another. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the semitones are the same size (100 cents). In other words, the notes of an equal-tempered chromatic scale are equally spaced. An equal-tempered chromatic scale is a nondiatonic scale having no tonic because of the symmetry of its equally spaced notes.
The most common conception of the chromatic scale before the 13th century was the Pythagorean chromatic scale. Due to a different tuning technique, the twelve semitones in this scale have two slightly different sizes. Thus, the scale is not perfectly symmetric. Many other tuning systems, developed in the ensuing centuries, share a similar asymmetry. Equally spaced pitches are provided only by equal temperament tuning systems, which are widely used in contemporary music.
The term chromatic derives from the Greek word chroma, meaning color. Chromatic notes are traditionally understood as harmonically inessential embellishments, shadings, or inflections of diatonic notes.
The chromatic scale may be notated in a variety of ways.
Ascending and descending:
The chromatic scale has no set spelling agreed upon by all. Its spelling is, however, often dependent upon major or minor key signatures and whether the scale is ascending or descending. The images above, therefore, are only examples of chromatic scale notations. As an abstract theoretical entity (that is, outside a particular musical context), the chromatic scale is usually notated such that no scale degree is used more than twice in succession (for instance G flat - G natural - G sharp).
- The ancient Chinese chromatic scale is called Shí-èr-lǜ. However, "it should not be imagined that this gamut ever functioned as a scale, and it is erroneous to refer to the 'Chinese chromatic scale', as some Western writers have done. The series of twelve notes known as the twelve lü were simply a series of fundamental notes from which scales could be constructed."
- The Indian solfège, i.e. sargam, makes up the twelve notes of the chromatic scale with respective sharps and flats.
The total chromatic (or aggregate) is the set of all twelve pitch classes. An array is a succession of aggregates. See also: Tone row.
- ^ a b Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.47. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
- ^ Needham, Joseph (1962/2004). Science and Civilization in China, Vol. IV: Physics and Physical Technology, p.170-171. ISBN 978-0-521-05802-5.
- ^ a b Whittall, Arnold. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Serialism, p.271. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68200-8 (pbk).
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 14:58:39 -0800
The main figure in the accompaniment is a short, vertiginous, descending chromatic scale, but with one note stutteringly repeated — a quick, impatient drumming of the fingers. The harmonies shift abruptly; in certain passages, the pianist's hands pass ...
Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:37:30 -0800
Musicians are very quick to map things that they know--like a chromatic scale for a series of notes--onto things they hear, like a bird song. And mistakes can go in the opposite direction: 'We can't prove this bird is making music, so it's not.' I ...
Allentown Morning Call
Wed, 19 Feb 2014 18:32:17 -0800
Instead, strings were added for each missing note in the chromatic scale. Debussy's commission soon entered the repertory of the conventional harp, and the unwieldy chromatic harp was abandoned. It's the conventional seven-pedal harp, of course, that ...
Thu, 20 Feb 2014 10:41:30 -0800
A pupil of Schoenberg's, Webern was a prominent Second Viennese School composer who adhered to the serial 12-tone technique – all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are given equal weight, eschewing any key. The bracing appeal of 12-tone music defines ...
CMU The Tartan Online
Sun, 09 Feb 2014 22:38:39 -0800
“Persian music intervals are different,” Vali explained. The Persian octave has 24 notes, as opposed to the 12 in a Western chromatic scale, so Persian musicians actually have more notes at their disposal than traditional classical composers. In the ...
The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Sun, 09 Feb 2014 17:07:30 -0800
The system, also known as the 12-note technique, is a method of musical composition devised by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. It's a way to ensure that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded equally, preventing emphasis of any one note.
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