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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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352 news items

Baltimore Sun
Tue, 26 May 2015 09:52:30 -0700

These students have memorized all nine major scales to four sharps and four flats, plus the chromatic scale. Megan Ball, percussion; Kathleen Maiorana, tuba, and Ryan Weinberg, tuba join Whitney Ye, percussion; Ocarina Lin, oboe; Kristina Kim, flute ...


Wed, 20 May 2015 23:03:46 -0700

We have really had sixty years of mass market pop utilising essentially the same verse-chorus structure, focusing on sexual and romantic subject matter of interest to its predominantly youthful market, all based on the 12 notes of the chromatic scale ...


Wed, 20 May 2015 02:45:00 -0700

An instrumental audition consists of a prepared solo, a number of scales including the chromatic scale and a very technically challenging etude. A vocal audition consists of two prepared solos (one accompanied and one acappella) as well as scales.
Camarillo Acorn
Thu, 21 May 2015 20:33:45 -0700

Their audition consists of scales up to 4# and 4b, chromatic scale, a prepared piece and sight reading. Band rehearsals will start at 7 p.m. Mon., June 15 in room C, 700 Temple Ave., Camarillo. Sponsored by Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District ...

The Guardian (blog)

The Guardian (blog)
Thu, 14 May 2015 10:22:46 -0700

Boulez took the 12-tone concept to an extreme in this first chapter of Structures, even using the same “row”– the same ordered collection of the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale – that Messiaen had employed in his own composition. So much for the ...

Florida Today

Florida Today
Fri, 08 May 2015 14:09:45 -0700

At the opposite end of the chromatic scale, black is also a favorite choice, although it is a more prevalent preference in urban areas rather than in coastal locations such as Brevard. Marsala, Pantone's color of the year for 2015, is a warm and deep ...


Wed, 13 May 2015 14:52:30 -0700

Even some of her own students, too, though she hates to toot her own horn, or better yet, play her own chromatic scale. Performing at both Friday and Sunday's recital is Jacob Pfeifer, a student at Owatonna Junior High School, who's been receiving ...
Pattaya Mail
Thu, 21 May 2015 20:10:38 -0700

Schoenberg is perhaps best-known for his invention of twelve-tone serialism, a composing technique based on a tone row, which is a particular arrangement of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. Verklärte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”) was written ...

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