A sequence of half-steps derived from the chromatic scale, which consists of all 12 notes found in Western music

Sam Blakelock avatar
Written by Sam Blakelock
Updated over a week ago

Western music contains 12 notes consisting of semi-tones (half-steps.) The chromatic scale is all 12 of these notes played in succession. The entire scale consists of half-steps (the equivalent of moving up one fret on the guitar.) Chromaticism is often heard in jazz improvisation when notes outside of a given key are played as half-step "passing tones" between diatonic notes.

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