Music Theory – L1 Lesson 3

Chromatic Scale on a Piano Keyboard

The 12 note chromatic scale can be represented using either method found in Example 8. Remember a C# is the same note as a Db on the piano. If you play a C chromatic scale on the piano you would move consecutively up the piano keyboard starting on C (See Example 9). Remember the distance between each note of the chromatic scale is called a half step and the distance between each note of the piano is also a half step. Notice that sometimes this half step occurs between and white and black note and sometimes between two white notes.

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Finding a C Major Scale Within a Chromatic Scale

Though the chromatic scale represents all 12 notes, much of western music of the last few centuries has been based around only 7 tones. If we extract these 7 notes as shown in Example 10 we end up with a major scale.  In this case a C Major Scale.

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If we look at the distance in half steps between the notes of a major scale we see a pattern; whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. All major scales are based on these intervals (See Example 11).

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