What is a chromatic scale?

The chromatic scale is a musical scale consisting of 12 pitches, each a half step or semitone apart from the next. It includes all the notes in Western music, both those used in major and minor scales and those that fall “in between” the whole steps of those scales. The 12 pitches of the chromatic scale can be represented by the natural notes (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) and the accidentals (sharp # and flat b).

Here is an example of the chromatic scale starting from the note C:

C – C#/Db – D – D#/Eb – E – F – F#/Gb – G – G#/Ab – A – A#/Bb – B – C

In this sequence, each note is a half step away from the next note. The chromatic scale can be played on various instruments and is often used to create tension, transition between keys, or explore dissonant or atonal music.

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