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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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335 news items

South Jersey Local News
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:52:30 -0800

Each student was required to perform all twelve major scales and/or the percussive rudiments, a selected chromatic scale, selected solo excerpts and a challenging short piece that was sight-read during the audition, he said. “The students studied and ...
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:18:45 -0800

The students were required to learn four jazz scales, multiple octaves, the chromatic scale for their instrument and a full solo. The students were then asked to perform for a set of judges who ranked them against their peers to determine who would ...
Palm Beach Daily News
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:11:15 -0800

Case in point: many pianists substitute the final chromatic scale of Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 with a more virtuosic interlocking octaves display. But not Lang Lang, whose faithfulness to Chopin's text is to be commended. What is more, his scale ...
Inside NoVA
Sun, 15 Feb 2015 06:46:54 -0800

“By the end of their sixth-grade year, the overwhelming majority of her students can play a chromatic scale and several major scales, articulate correctly, count dotted rhythms accurately, and play with a characteristic tone,” says nominator Deidra ...

Noisey (blog)

Noisey (blog)
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:37:30 -0800

The Puget Sound region of Washington State has a long and proud heritage of rock n roll. Those early garage rock bands? We had The Sonics and The Wailers. Surf rock? We had the motherfuckin' Ventures. The golden age of classic rock? We had this one ...
Jewish Exponent
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:30:14 -0800

Berg denied the request for years until, Shaham relates, he was moved by the death of a friend's daughter to create the concerto that showcased Schoenberg's technique of sounding all 12 notes of the chromatic scale in equal proportions, including ...
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:33:46 -0800

It began the program on a sustained pianissimo E in double-bass harmonics interrupted by quiet bursts of upper-register percussion jingles and woodwind birdcalls, and then a sudden fff chromatic-scale downslide (I thought of the full-orchestra horse ...
Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:18:45 -0800

Of course, it's nearly impossible to capture in printed words the wild energy of the newly wide-open harmonic terrain found in bebop, “drawing on all 12 notes of the chromatic scale,” as Encyclopedia Britannica explains. Bebop was less inclined to ...

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