The chromatic scale is formed by the sequence: semitone-semitone-semitone-semitone, etc.
That is it, all the notes have a semitone interval. Thus, we can conclude that this scale has 12 notes (all the 12 available notes of occidental music). Check below the chromatic scale of C:
C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B
Shape of the C chromatic scale
Due to this peculiar characteristic, it has become common to use the term “Chromaticism” to refer to notes with a distance of a semitone. For example, if some solo has the notes D, D# and E played in sequence, we say that this patch has chromaticism.
Chromatic scale application
In practice, in music context, the chromatic scale does not use to be applied in all its extension. Normally we use small patches of chromaticism. The chromatic effect is really interesting and explored by many musicians of various styles. The sonorous result that is produced creates a feeling of passing notes. Even if some notes are out of the tonality of the song, when played fast in chromaticism these notes are “forgiven” to our ears, because we feel as they were passing notes, steps of a ladder that has the objective to arrive in a specific place.
For now we will stay in this introductory concept about chromaticism, because to explain the applications with all the details it would be exhausting. Instead of it we chose to show you chromaticism utilization in each specific context. You will see chromaticism here in the website in studies of Diminished Chord, Target Notes, SubV7, Jazz Bebop, among others.
From now on, chromaticism and chromatic scale will be part of your musical background. And its importance will be evidently in each application.
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