Chromatic scale


Audio: chromatic scale (0:06)

Chromatic scale
Figure: chromatic scale

chromatic scale plays the chromatic scale on a piano. The chromatic scale figure shows the score:

  • Bar 1 ascends twelve chromatic notes from note D to note C#.
  • Bar 2 descends twelve chromatic notes from note C to note Db.

A chromatic scale consists of all the 12 notes available in 12TET.

The interval between any two successive notes in the chromatic scale is always a semitone.

The word, chromatic, is derived from the Greek word for colour. Chromatic music is colourful because it uses the full palette of notes available.

A chromatic scale is sometimes labelled with the starting note. For example, the C chromatic scale starts on the note C, the D chromatic on the note D, and so on. It does not really matter which note you start with because the same 12 notes are used in all chromatic scales. A chromatic scale should really be labelled THE chromatic scale.