Pronunciation: kroe-MA-tik

What is Chromatic?

A chromatic scale is a 12-pitch scale, each being a semi note or half-step, which are above or below the last note. It is arranged in an ascending or descending order.

Key Takeaways

  1. A chromatic scale consists of all the 8 notes of an octave and all the half-step notes.
  2. It adds color and emotion to the minor and major scales.
  3. To play the chromatic scale on a piano, you must play all the white keys and all the black keys one after the other in an ascending or descending order.

Understanding Chromatic

Chromatic comes from the Greek word, “chroma,” which means color. The term was used because the scale adds color, emotion, or embellishment to the notes of the minor and major scales. It adds an additional dimension but without changing the center key.

Typical western music uses an octave or the eight notes that consist of “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do.” A chromatic scale consists of these eight notes, but also all the additional half or semi notes.

The musical effect of the chromatic scale is an edgier tonality and closely associated with 20th-century classical music and progressive jazz musical styles.

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