Advanced Music Theory tutorials
9. Chromatic scales
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Ah, I see what's happening. Scales come in different color shades now, don't they?

  1. Topics of discussion
  2. Chromatic scales explained

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we are going to take a look at chromatic scales. So, let's have some fun.

2. Chromatic scales explained

Chromatic scales are failry easy to understand. Let's consider a note, say C3 which as you know is also known as middle C since it's located in the middle of the piano keyboard.

And let's consider the note an octave higher from this one, which is C4. The C chromatic scale is formed by playing every note located between C3 and C4 (or any other C notes, for that matter). What do I mean by every note? Well, it's simple. We simply take the root note and move up by one semitone until we reach the higher octave note.

As a result, the C chromatic scale will contain the following notes: C C♯ D D♯ E F F♯ G G♯ A A♯ B and then we end on C again.

As you can see, a chromatic scale contains 12 notes, each separated from the next one by one semitone. As a result, chromatic scales are neither major nor minor.

Chromatic scales will not really be used to write songs. What you will encounter though are chromatic tones, which translates to someone using notes outside of the scale during a song or section of a song. There are a few guitarists out there who make great use of chromatic tones in there solos, and chromatic tones are used to add a bit of "flavor" to your playing so to speak.

Here's a C chromatic scale:

C Chromatic

And here it is played back:

And...yeah, that's it for this tutorial as well. A rather short one this one for once. Next time, we are going to talk about modal scales. See you then.

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