The chromatic scale. A rainbow of notes!

Today we’re going to learn about the chromatic scale. The chromatic scale is important because it provides us with all of the notes we need to create other scales and chords.

The chromatic scale is simply a fancy term that means all of the notes. There are 12 notes in all, and here they are:

The chromatic scale, with sharps (the “♯” symbol represents a sharp, as in A-sharp):
A   A♯   B   C   C♯   D   D♯   E   F   F♯   G   G♯

The chromatic scale, with flats (the “♭” symbol represents a flat, as in B-flat):
A   B♭   B   C   D♭   D   E♭   E   F   G♭   G   A♭

The two chromatic scales shown above are enharmonic, or exactly the same. The only difference between the two is how we’re identifying the accidentals. The term accidental is a broad term that describes any note that is sharp or flat. Every accidental has two names:

A♯ is equal to B♭
C♯ is equal to D♭
D♯ is equal to E♭
F♯ is equal to G♭
G♯ is equal to A♭

As you can see, there are five accidentals, each with two names. You may thinking that I missed two accidentals. Actually, I didn’t miss them at all. There just isn’t an accidental between B and C or E and F.

There are 12 notes total and the accidentals account for five of them, so what about the other seven? They are called natural notes.  A natural note is a note that isn’t sharp or flat.

So there you go. The chromatic scale is the collection of all of the twelve notes we have at our disposal. It consists of seven natural notes and five accidentals. Think of the chromatic scale as a musical rainbow!

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2 responses to “The chromatic scale. A rainbow of notes!

  1. Pingback: One step at a time. « EW Guitar Lessons, Glen Burnie, Baltimore area private guitar instruction. Blog about all things guitar.·

  2. Pingback: Memorize the notes on the fretboard « EW Guitar Lessons, Baltimore and Annapolis area private guitar lessons. Learn about all things guitar.·

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