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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

Bay Area Reporter

Bay Area Reporter
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 18:52:30 -0700

The second movement may include all 12 tones of the chromatic scale, but it's anything but forbidding. Passages filled with heart-tugging sadness and lyrical yearning predominate. With the sonata's third movement, modeled on the songs of Schubert and ...
New York Times
Wed, 16 Sep 2015 17:56:15 -0700

In his hands, a simple chromatic scale became funny, even delightful. Successions of bleeps and blops charmed. If there was little innovative about the piece's harmonic language, its emotions spanned the furious and the gentle, the fierce and the genial.


Mon, 21 Sep 2015 12:07:43 -0700

This led him to create the 12-tone system. which dictated that each note of the chromatic scale could only be played once. He also created Sprechstimme which is singing that sounds like speech. With all of this, Schoenberg makes this list as he ...

Valley News

Valley News
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:07:30 -0700

But unlike the diatonic, the chromatic also has a spring-loaded button, a small slide that shifts a note by half a step, something that allows a three-octave chromatic scale, which includes sharps and flats, to be played. It's simple to play. But ...


Wed, 16 Sep 2015 11:08:56 -0700

Even his decision to compose the score using Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg's 12-tone technique of musical serialism, in which each tone of the chromatic scale is organized into a particular sequence of notes, was deliberate. 'I have a lot more ...

The Hans India

The Hans India
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:48:45 -0700

“The octave is divided into twelve intervals to form the chromatic scale. Each of these intervals is further divided into 100 cents. Cents are used to describe small differences in pitch in terms of percentage of a semi tone,” he shares. Dr Lindley is ...
Music Indistry News Network
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 21:16:09 -0700

They also include 34 sets of kicks organised into every note of the chromatic scale and 34 offbeat bass patches for Spire. They also include 3 video tutorials from the producer including some trade secrets, a video with Mike Monday on increasing your ...

Premier Guitar

Premier Guitar
Wed, 29 May 2013 10:03:45 -0700

The chromatic scale is simple—it's all 12 notes that we use in Western music. In our quest to outline the chords we're playing over, we'll fudge this chromatic scale a little. We'll just outline the most important scale tones and leave a few passing ...

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