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short song that uses the chromatic scale in the beginning as well as in the distorted part at 0:35
Chromatic scale
Number of pitch classes 12
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.[1]

Chromatic scale on C: full octave ascending and descending About this sound Play in equal temperament  or About this sound Play in Pythagorean tuning .

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:[1]

Chromatic scale ascending, notated only with sharps.
Chromatic scale descending, notated only with flats.
The harmonic chromatic scale starting on C.
The melodic chromatic scale starting on C.

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).

Non-Western cultures[edit]

  • 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 were simply a series of fundamental notes from which scales could be constructed."[2]
  • The Indian solfège, i.e. sargam, makes up the twelve notes of the chromatic scale with respective sharps and flats.

Total chromatic[edit]

The total chromatic (or aggregate[3]) is the set of all twelve pitch classes. An array is a succession of aggregates.[3] See also: Tone row.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.47. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ Needham, Joseph (1962/2004). Science and Civilization in China, Vol. IV: Physics and Physical Technology, p.170-171. ISBN 978-0-521-05802-5.
  3. ^ a b Whittall, Arnold. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Serialism, p.271. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68200-8 (pbk).

External links[edit]

Recommended Reading[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_scale — Please support Wikipedia.
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177849 videos foundNext > 


Chromatic Scale - Quick and Easy Guitar Lesson

This guitar lesson video will finally help you understand the chromatic scale with this easy and movable scale pattern. And as always if you need more help with guitar go to: http://www.yourguitar...

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https://www.GuitarZoom.com/ Request a song by clicking the link below: http://guitarzoom.com/songs/ I'll teach you how to play any song you want, just let me know. Click here http://guitarzoom.c...

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tons of lessons at http://www.guitarjamz.com.

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This video explains the meaning of the word 'Chromatic' as well as providing instructions on how a chromatic scale is formed. The video is suitable for those students studying grade 4 of the...

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345 news items

Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun (blog)

Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun (blog)
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:03:45 -0700

He lifts a chord progression from that old doo-wop ballad you forgot the name of and then adds a few notes, up and down the chromatic scale, to corrupt the bubblegum beauty just a little bit. It was still the loveliest song of the night, because of its ...

nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper

nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:33:45 -0700

There are countless melodies that can be composed with the 12 pitches of the Chromatic scale. There are more than 12 words in the English dictionary and this alone gives sense of dimension pertaining to possible word configuration. One might say that ...
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 09:52:30 -0700

Cutting through the madness of the follies numbers, this is perhaps one of Sondheim's most famous ballads and one of the biggest show stoppers of the evening. Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick's ascending chromatic scale makes the arrangement even more ...
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Thu, 02 Apr 2015 21:07:30 -0700

Especially for Pretty Yende, a brash and brassy Susanna, whose notion of "deh, vieni non tardar" completely lacks any of the wistful tenderness or delicate questing up the chromatic scale that paragons like Lucia Popp delivered (try YouTube to see her ...
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An exhibit at the Oxford Performing Arts Center, "Oxford at the Crossroads of History," will be up through May, according to Jane Batey, president of the Oxford Arts Council. Residents have contributed a broad variety of items that have been passed ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 22:03:45 -0700

The photography and overall design of Le Livre Blanc is a meticulously calculated gallery exhibition in a cascading chromatic scale of minimalism. Colors and unimaginable flavor combinations pop off the page and into one's now licorice-eel tinged ...


Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:38:33 -0700

The twelve-tone technique, or serialism, lends equality to all twelve tones on the chromatic scale, so that a piece of music does not gravitate to any identifiable key, as had been the case for centuries. With the odd exception, the result may seem ...
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:07:30 -0700

Visual artist and musician Melinda Steffy translates compositions by J.S. Bach and Béla Bartók into watercolor paintings on paper with each of the notes of the chromatic scale corresponding with a hue on the color wheel. Writer, painter, and Assistant ...

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