Talk:Chromatic scale

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Is (from C) 1212123121212123 etc really the normal fingering? 1313123131313123 etc, with the black notes always 3 (rather than mainly 2s with some 3s), seems more natural to me, and it's how I was taught. Checking my old Associated Board scale books, I see it's the fingering they recommend as well. --Camembert

I fixed it. UninvitedCompany 22:20, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

On violin it's 3 high 3 D low 1 on D 1 low 2 2 3 high 3...

☻I am only here because the Vulcans want to know when they should come☻ (talk) 20:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Definition History[edit]

  1. Greek definition(s) of chromatic.
  2. Modern definition(s) of chromatic
    1. 12 tone equal tempered scale
    2. Includes tone rows.

I don't have the Shir-Cliff book referenced, but I don't understand why sixth chords in general and the dominant seventh chord are described as "chromatic". I don't know what a "chromatic chord" is if not one which includes notes not found in the prevailing diatonic scale, so in what sense are these chords chromatic (C major, GBDF dominant seventh contains chords entirely in the C major scale, after all)? Also, what is an "expanded chord"? Sorry if you were planning to expand on these things anyway, but I wanted to note this now before I forgot. --Camembert

Yeh. I have no idea what a "chromatic chord" is either. You should look below at my diatribe about chromaticism. And leave comments. - paros 10:16, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

A big hole in history...[edit]

Chromatic scales played a big role in music of the Baroque period (17th and early 18th centuries) in pieces like the Fantasia Chromatica of Sweelinck, music of Michelangelo Rossi, Froberger and many others. Chromatic music constituted almost a separate style of composition, defined by the melodic use of chromatic semitones (C-C#, Eb-E, etc.) which in the prevailing meantone temperament were much narrower than the diatonic semitones. The unequal temperament gave such passages a unique expressive flavour which was certainly not 'ornamental flourish'. Harmonically the chromatic scale was also very important, with the chromatic descent from I to V being often used as a bass line for laments (for example in Dido and Aeneas) or lament-like movements (Crucifixus of B minor mass) suggesting a strong expressive effect in this context also.

So I would like to incorporate these facts into the article. This would entail considerable changes in the current version, which has a big hole between the Greeks and Mozart and assumes equal temperament in the 'modern' era ... --Tdent 17:20, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I totally agree with you, but... what are your sources? —Keenan Pepper 00:19, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
What sources does one need to give the facts that many pieces of music used chromatic scales, were entitled specifically 'chromatic fantasia' or something similar, and have a peculiar effect in the usual meantone tuning? Do you mean I should find another encyclopedia article that agrees with my observations? Perhaps the 'lament' claim does need a bit of backup... --Tdent 18:30, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
I was talking about statements like: The unequal temperament gave such passages a unique expressive flavour which was certaintly not 'ornamental flourish'. It's a valid argument, but it just seems a bit too much like original research. On the other hand, if you could find a book or a journal article or something that supported this view, that would be excellent. —Keenan Pepper 01:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Your suggestions for talking about how the chromatic scale was used in baroque are perfect. I second the motion to mention them right in this article. However, I want to scrap the entire subsection on "Chromaticism" and write an entire, separate wikipedia article on it from scratch. (more below) -paros 09:08, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Musicianswiki taken over by domain parker?[edit]

Was that link at the bottom taken over by one of those companies that gets expired domains to just put advertising sites on them? -- Myria 03:39, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

We need an in-depth article on Chromaticism[edit]

My suggestion is the completely DELETE the section on chromaticism here and link into a completely new stub on chromaticism. Using David Cope's defn of chromaticism is the worst possible way of talking about it. Cope wrote a book on "contemporary composing" that is aimed at students writing popular tunes (or maybe jazz?). Anyways, chromaticism as it was developed in Europe in the 19th century is an entirely seperate and complete approach to music and composing all by itself. It is completely alien to popular music and jazz. It is completely alien to how baroque music was composed in Europe. You cannot even define chromaticism outside of the context of the Sonata-Allegro form. Classical composers would deliberately modulate into the dominant(V) to state a second theme, but always return back to the "Home Tonic Key" in a kind of triumphant return. Nearly all music composed in Europe for about 70 years did this (c. 1740 to 1810). Indeed, it can be argued that it is impossible to really "hear" classical-rococo music unless your ear has an expectation of the return of the tonic at the end. Even high baroque music (Bach, Handel) never modulated more than one key center away from the home tonic, and nearly always returned to it at the end. As Robert Greenberg points out, 95% of the time JS Bach would modulate to only a few choice keys, about 4 different ones, which is much smaller than the 11 keys he could have modulated to.

A more true-to-reality defn of chromaticism is that it is form of harmony in which no key center is preferred over any other, but it is still a tonal method of composition and still ruled by the push and pull of consenance and dissonance. Works written chromatically often change unpredictably in character from one section to the next, and flow in fanciful directions. Whereas rococo Sonatas are structured by an intellectual tonal logic, works written with chromaticism cater to structures which emphasize the corporeal, emotional, and theatrical experience of listening to music.

In general, the bulk of work written by early romantics show a conspicous lack of the Sonata-Allegro form and a general disinterest in it as a structural framework. The early romantics (Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann) would modulate to totally unrelated keys and then stay there for large portions of their pieces. But modulation was not a hard rule in any case. Often the works simply go to a new key without any clever transition at all. Chopin ended his sonatas' finales with large sections in some unrelated major key. The early romantics still respected a "Home Tonic Key", generally, up until Wagner. Wagner's operatic music made no concessions to a "Home Tonic Key" whatsoever. Liszt and Wagner, in particular, developed a style of chromaticism where the audience is not aware of any extreme and unusual chord changes because they were so carefully crafted to sound like smooth transitions. The disregard for any Home Tonic Key is a hallmark of music from the time of Wagner until the time of Mahler and Sebelius.

The late romantics were to stretch chromaticism to its breaking point. Even the opening bars of their works state harmonies that are only ambiguously related to any major or minor scale; but their music is still completely Tonal. Only when composers began to literally stop resolving dissonances can it be truly said that they were composing ATONAL music.

I have always loved the description of Tristan und Isolde as a work in which the major/minor system of harmony is stretched as far as it can go without breaking. Perhaps an article on chromaticism should start off by describing what the Major/Minor System IS exactly before delving into how chromaticism exploits it. The article should also mention whole-tone scales and music written in this manner, at least to differentiate it from chromaticism (which it is not).

But this little diatribe of mine is lacking something. It will need many cited references. Someone will need to DISCONNECT the word "Chomaticism" in wikipedia so that it stops rerouting people to the this article. Comments? Suggestions? - paros 10:15, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm suprised no one has caught this before. Basically, split the article. I am going to, but I'll need your help in expanding the Chromaticism article. To me, there are two different types of chromaticism (both defs from the Harvard Concise Dictionary):

The use of at least some pitches of the chromatic scale in addition to or instead of those of the diatonic scale of some particular key. It can occur in limited degrees that do not detract from the sense of key or tonal center; thus it can function fully within the system of tonic-dominant tonality.

This is similar to the first contention you make.

The term may also refer, however, to the procedures employed in music in which no single diatonic scale or key predominates and in which, terefore, chromaticism cannot be regarded as the elaboration of an underlying diatonic structure.

Here this seems to deviate from your 'stretched as far as it can go' definition, and merges into the definition of Atonal music. ALTON .ıl 02:45, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Paros -- Next time you criticize a book you should find out what the book is about. Cope's Techniques of the Contemporary Composer is described below:
"This text is a practical guide to the compositional techniques, resources, and technologies available to composers today. Each chapter traces the development of traditional and modern elements that form the foundation of music in the late twentieth century. Among the subjects discussed are interval exploration, serialism, pitch-class sets, twelve-tone music, electronic music, algorithmic composition, and indeterminacy." ([1])
As such the first part of your argument is false. This casts doubt on your further arguments. Hyacinth 17:50, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Diatonic and chromatic[edit]

The article uses the terms "diatonic" and "chromatic" without adequate explanation. These terms are the cause of serious uncertainties at several other Wikipedia articles, and in the broader literature. Some of us thought that they needed special coverage, so we started up a new article: Diatonic and chromatic. Why not have a look, and join the discussion? Be ready to have comfortable assumptions challenged! – Noetica♬♩Talk 22:23, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


Re: "The chromatic scale is the scale that contains all twelve pitches of the Western tempered scale.":

This is patently false. There was a chromatic scale, called a chromatic scale in Western music, and especially in Western music theory, millennia before equal temperament was invented. The twelve-tone equally tempered scale, in fact, is a tempering, or modification, of the Pythagorean chromatic scale. It lowers each successive 3:2 perfect fifth slightly less than two cents to eliminate the Pythagorean comma (approximately 23.5 cents). Most of the resulting intervals involve irrational numbers, which explains why it took so many centuries to implement and why, to this day, it is very far from universally accepted and even further from universally practiced. TheScotch 05:35, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Subsequently fixed. TheScotch 07:59, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

What scale does contain all twelve pitches of equal temperament? How does your description of a scale historically described as chromatic mean that a more recent use of the term is "patently" false? Do you realize that most if not all names for modern scales at once referred to something else? Hyacinth 17:46, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Re: "How does your description of a scale historically described as chromatic mean that a more recent use of the term is "patently" false?":

The equally tempered dodecatonic scale is of course a tuning or tempering of the chromatic scale, and I haven't disputed this. I have disputed, rather, that the phrase "The chromatic scale is the scale that contains all twelve pitches of the Western tempered scale" is the proper definition of the chromatic scale. Notice that the definition I replaced it with in the article does not state that the chromatic scale is a set of 3:2 perfect fifths. Both the Pythagorean chromatic scale and the equally tempered dodecatonic scale are historically significant and valid representations of the chromatic scale.

Re: "Do you realize that most if not all names for modern scales at once referred to something else?":

Whether or not this is true (we'd have to do a bit of tallying to say), the Pythagorean chromatic scale is not "something else". It is just as much a representation of the chromatic scale as the equally tempered dodecatonic scale. TheScotch 02:26, 20 June 2007 (UTC)


Wikipedia is not for seizing onto whichever source you have on had and decrying all other sources as idiotic mistakes or lies. What articles do is describe the differences between sources, not eliminate sources. Hyacinth 17:55, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Audio Example: Bassoon[edit]

I'm not equiped to listen, but it seems to me we already had an "audio example" here. Isn't another redundant? (Warning: If you want this to stay, you must defend it--in a reasonably timely manner.) TheScotch 07:04, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Note spelling[edit]

Is the note naming convention shown under the section "SPELLING" really the most common and widespread way of notating the chromatic scale? i.e., notes that are chromatic to the major scale are written as sharps ascending and flats descending, even though it results in double sharps when starting on notes such as A:

A A# B B# C# D D# E E# F# F## G# A

I would have thought the melodic and harmonic forms of the chromatic scale were more important, useful and also better known.

Melodic chromatic: (varies depending on the starting note and notes are named for the purpose of cutting down on accidentals in notation, with the proviso that both the major and natural minor scales are represented.)

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

Harmonic chromatic: (same in both directions - notes are named according to their tonal origins.)

A Bb B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A

Can anyone tell me why the convention currently shown in the article is considered the best? And if it is the best, shouldn't the others at least be mentioned? (Mark - Jan 13 2008)

The terms melodic and harmonic are meaningless in this context. Your example of what you call "melodic chromatic" is really a chromatic scale spelled in reference to an A natural minor (or A Aeolian) scale. Your example of what you call "harmonic chromatic" violates the elemental rule of musical notation that ascending chromatic notes are spelled as sharps and descending chromatic notes are spelled as flats.
In non-equally-tempered tuning enharmonically equivalent notes do not correspond to equivalent frequencies. An A# in Pythagorean tuning, for example, is sharper than a Bb. String players are not traditionally taught to play in terms of Pythagorean tuning as such, but they are taught to be play (except in contexts that make this untenable) sharps sharper than enharmonically equivalent flats. The idea is to lean into the direction of resolution. This is a fundamental idea associated with the essence of musicality, and it's reflected in conventional notation. TheScotch (talk) 10:23, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I now understand the logic behind the note naming convention employed in the article thanks to your clear explanation.
Regarding my examples that I posted above, unless things have changed, those two forms and their terms (harmonic and melodic), are commonly taught in school music departments as well as turning up in theory exams set by reputable music college examining boards, e.g., "Write a one octave ascending and descending chromatic scale on A, using the harmonic form of the scale." Yes, the harmonic form does violate the rising sharp/falling flat convention, but that's because it's following a different convention, i.e., naming the notes according to their closest tonal relationship with the key centre.
Regardless of their particular merits (or lack thereof), the fact that they are included in the standard music tuition programmes of many education authorities, in various countries, I feel, makes them important enough to be mentioned or explained in the article. Would you agree? However, if I'm out of date, and those forms are no longer taught or accepted in mainstream music education, then I withdraw my comments and apologise to all whose time I've wasted reading them. (Mark - 26 January 2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

It would help if you could say specifically where these terms and spellings are, or have been, used--and provide sources. In what countries? By what college examining boards? I've managed somehow to go from grade school to grad school (and to teach myself) without ever encountering them before (I'm writing from the United States)--and I don't find them in Grove (which is British) either. You've probably noted by now that the article as it currently stands is explaining chromatic scale notation as it would actually (and ideally) occur in a piece of music. This notation is contextual (but not specifically contextual, with regard to individual pieces of music, in which deviations may appear) rather than abstract and pedagogical. TheScotch (talk) 17:53, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking specifically of the external "graded" exams of the UK based "Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music" (ABRSM) and Trinity College of Music, whose exams are officially recognised by all UK (and many Commonwealth of Nations countries) education authorities.
As I recall, (going back a few decades) the harmonic form of the chromatic scale was introduced in the ABRSM grade 6 Theory (intermediate) level.
The spelling of the harmonic form derives (in relation to the keynote) from the notes of the Tonic, Dominant and Subdominant parallel major and minor scales combined. The purpose is not to show the most meaningful notation of chromatic scale passages, but rather, as its name suggests, the most significant harmonic/tonal relationship each of the 12 (tempered) pitches usually has with the key centre. So, in the 'harmonic' chromatic scale of A, as I wrote above, D# is by default always D#, not Eb, as D# (being the the leading note of the Dominant key) is considered tonally closer than the diminished 5th Eb. Similarly, G, the 7th degree of the Tonic (natural) minor of A is the default notation for that pitch because it is considered harmonically and tonally more significant than the chromatically raised sixth degree, F## of A major (in actual music, of course, the context may demand otherwise).
The melodic form is simply for cutting down on accidentals in notation. It has the least musical value of the three systems but is probably the most user friendly for beginners (albeit somewhat misleading). It follows the rising sharp/falling flat convention but always uses a natural note if possible rather than a sharp or flat, and double sharps/flats don't occur. Right now I'm looking at an old Trinity College of Music Scales and Arpeggios book. It shows the chromatic scale in E, for example, as:
E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E Eb D Db C B Bb A Ab...etc.
On a side note, the notated (fingering)illustration of the B chromatic scale in the article seems to follow a different system completely. (Mark 30 January 2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:03, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate the extended reply, but I'm in a bit of rush now, so I'll begin taking these points in reverse order and see how far I get (and then return tomorrow or so).

1) If this article's fingering illustration does indeed follow a system, it escapes me. Although it seems profligate with natural signs within a measure (Eb to E-natural, rather than D# to plain E), it's perversely stingy with courtesy natural signs (the measure beginning with B's immediately after Bb's could do with some).

2) Trinity's E "melodic" chromatic scale looks to me just the same as the A one you cited earlier except that it starts on a different letter. You say the idea is to cut down on accidentals, but to me that's the same thing as saying the idea is to make it in reference to C major. (Only the "black keys" are rendered with accidentals; just so, everything that isn't a black key on the piano is a member of the C major scale.)

3) It sounds as if you have (had when you wrote the above) the Trinity book in hand. Does it have a date of publication, an author, and a publisher? Can you quote it verbatim about both of its kinds of spellings?

Have to go. TheScotch (talk) 02:18, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I may have misled you. The Trinity book isn't a theory book discussing scales. It's their scales and arpeggios publication for their practical grade exams (this one published 1977 by Trinity College of Music, London). They make no mention of harmonic or chromatic forms as it's not for their theory exams. I just included it as an example of notation that differs from the one in the article. I thought it was conforming to the melodic form as I understood it, but I'm having second thoughts about that now having done a little Googling.
On the ABRSM forum someone asked a question on the meaning of the melodic chromatic scale and received this reply from another member:
"Have you got the AB(RSM) Guide to Music Theory? (The Pink Book).
There's a section in there about Melodic and Harmonic Chromatic scales (page31).
....They (Melodic Chromatic Scales) differ in their ascending and descending versions, and also according to whether the key is major or minor. Perhaps the simplest way of forming them is to include, first, all the notes of the key (in a minor key these include the notes of both the melodic and harmonic scales). The additional notes are then provided by sharpening the diatonic notes (where required) in ascending form, or by flattening them in the descending form.
"Having said that, according to the Gde 4 Music In Theory Practice book, it says (bottom page 37)"
The (exam) question will not ask you to use either the 'harmonic' or the'melodic' form of the chromatic scale.
From the above question and reply with a quote from an official Associated Board source it looks like the melodic form, according to that definition, is the same as the one in the article. It also suggests that, although both forms are covered in the syllabus, either form is acceptable in the exams.
I figured I must have wrongly remembered the melodic form but I then found another definition on the Dolmetsch (organisation, foundation or whatever they are) website:
"Two types of chromatic scale have been suggested, the harmonic and the melodic."
"The harmonic chromatic scale is the same whether rising or falling and includes all the notes in the major, harmonic minor or melodic minor scales plus flattened second and sharpened fourth degrees. This leads to a single fifth, single tonic key-note, single octave key-note and pairs of every other degree. This means that the notation of a harmonic chromatic scale varies according to the key signature."
"The melodic chromatic scale is more problematic because there is a general lack of agreement as to how it should be written. As with any chromatic scale, the interval between successive notes is a semitone. The way the notes are written, however, is left to personal taste, and, for this reason, we have given no example. In every case, the ascending and descending versions are different (for example, the rising scale might be written with naturals and sharps while the falling scale is written with naturals and flats) and they will vary according to whether the key is major or minor. The main notes are still drawn from all the notes of the major and both minor scales. To find the remaining notes, the only clear rule is that no note name should be used more than twice in succession and that the first, fifth and eighth degrees can be repeated.
The melodic form given above is at odds with the ABRSM version as it refers to BOTH major and minor scales combined resulting in A A# B C..., (in relation to the major OR minor key) rather than A A# B B#... (in relation to the major key).
I'm just mentioning the above internet sources out of interest and not trying to pass them off as evidence of any kind other than that these terms and forms do exist, and I appreciate your informative and helpful responses to my query.
As it stands, I'm now inclined towards the ABRSM/Wiki version for the melodic form rather than the Dolmetsch one above. The harmonic form, though, is pretty constant. There seems to be no disagreement among the various online sources regarding its notation. (Mark - 31 January 2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:44, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Presumably the idea is to make it (the "harmonic chromatic scale") analogous to the harmonic minor scale. The harmonic minor scale includes an augmented second, traditionally considered undesirable, but the notes of the interval can be used successfully in successive chords as long as they don't appear in the same melodic voice. The main thing, though, is that minor key chords are mostly derived from the notes of the harmonic melodic scale. The implication is that we don't really mean scale in the strict sense (ordering), but rather set of notes. Thus the Bb in the A "harmonic chromatic scale" probably wouldn't really ascend to B-natural, nor the F# descend to F-natural.

I have to say the analogy seems a bit forced and ill-fitting though. In common-practice music chromatic notes are auxiliary notes; the chromatic scale is not an entity in the same sense that the diatonic scale is--a chromatic chord is any chord with notes foreign to the diatonic scale corresponding to the key. Serialism is the only widely known body of music I can think of that does use the chromatic scale as such an entity (systematically), and in serialism spelling is officially a matter of indifference.

Beyond this consideration, I still don't have a very good idea what the "harmonic chromatic scale" is for, what it's supposed to teach or illustrate. TheScotch (talk) 07:35, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

The reason the harmonic form is taught is to enable students to name (isolated) chromatic notes, especially chromatic roots, according to their simplest (and therefore most likely) harmonic relationship with the tonal centre. Yes, as you suspected, it's a note set for reference, rather than playing. If, in the key of C major, a chord progression goes: C - Bb - F - C, that Bb is Bb, not A#, because it's simply the bVII degree (corresponding to the same degree of the closely related parallel minor key). In that context, it's obviously not the distantly related #VI, A#. A student, not knowing that, however, might only know that it's a chromatic root and have no idea whether to call it A# or Bb. The harmonic chromatic scale (or note set if you prefer) confirms that, (in the absence of chromatic semitone movement suggesting otherwise) it's Bb, not A#.
Another reason is that it has a very easy to remember formula. Deriving, as it does, from the closely related major and minor scales of the Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant keys, means that, when writing out the scale (in either direction) every letter will be used twice in succession except for the Tonic and Dominant. (Mark - 1 February 2008)
Me again! I found an interesting and hopefully credible source explaining the reasoning behind the various notational forms of the chromatic scale. It's from "Music Notation and Terminology" by Karl Gehrkens A.M. Associate Professor of School Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, published by A. S. Barnes Company, New York 1914. (sections 93 & 94).
Now out of copyright and available free from Gutenberg Press at:
Here's what he says:
93. The chromatic scale[18] is one which proceeds always by half-steps. Its intervals are therefore always equal no matter with what tone it begins. Since, however, we have (from the standpoint of the piano keyboard) five pairs of tones[19] which are enharmonically the same, it may readily be seen that the chromatic scale might be notated in all sorts of fashions, and this is in fact the real status of the matter, there being no one method uniformly agreed upon by composers.
Parry (Grove's Dictionary, article chromatic) recommends writing the scale with such accidentals as can occur in chromatic chords without changing the key in which the passage occurs. Thus, taking C as a type, "the first accidental will be D♭, as the upper note of the minor ninth on the tonic; the next will be E♭, the minor third of the key; the next F♯, the major third of the super-tonic—all of which can occur without causing modulation—and the remaining two will be A♭ and B♭, the minor sixth and seventh of the key." According to this plan the chromatic scale beginning with C would be spelled—C, D♭, D, E♭, E, F, F♯, G, A♭, A, B♭, B, C—the form being the same both ascending and descending. This is of course written exclusively from a harmonic standpoint and the advantage of such a form is its definiteness.
94. For sight-singing purposes the chromatic scale[20] is usually written by representing the intermediate tones in ascending by sharps, (in some cases naturals and double-sharps), and the intermediate tones in descending by flats (sometimes naturals and double-flats). The chromatic scale in nine different positions, written from this standpoint, follows, and the syllables most commonly applied in sight-singing have also been added. In the first two scales the student of harmony is asked to note that because of the very common prac[Pg 39]tice of modulating to the dominant and sub-dominant keys, the intermediate tones ♯4 and ♭7 are quite universally used in both ascending and descending melody passages. In other words the scales that follow would more nearly represent actual usage if in each case ♯4 (FI) were substituted for ♭5 (SE) in the descending scale; and if ♭7 (TE) were substituted for ♯6 (LI) in the ascending form.
The terms "harmonic chromatic" and "melodic chromatic" aren't used (they must have come along later), but those are exactly the two main forms we've been discussing. (Mark - 3 February 2008)

I'm removing from the article references to "harmonic chromatic" and "melodic chromatic" forms. I'm willing to discuss putting them back after someone cites a valid source which specifically uses these terms. (If such a source is cited, howewever, it will still have to be weighed against other sources that may seem conspicuously not to mention the terms.) TheScotch (talk) 08:38, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Malware Audio File?[edit]

I removed the following link from the main page: About this sound Chromatic scale from B.ogg . When I downloaded it, it attempted to alter my registry and Windows Media couldn't play it. This may simply be nothing, but as I don't know how to better investigate this, I removed the link to protect viewers until someone with better experience can fix the problem.Reverend Distopia 15:26, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Possible bias?[edit]

"The term chromatic derives from the Greek word chroma, meaning color. Chromatic notes are traditionally understood as harmonically inessential embellishments, shadings, or inflections of diatonic notes." <== Sounds a touch biased, and not like a fact. Can anyone back it up that it's a harmonically inessential embellishment shading or inflection of diatonic notes? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 27 January 2009

Bias Heck! It's down right meaningless to the person trying to learn something. I'm trying to figure out what-the-bleep "...harmonically inessential embellishments, shadings, or inflections of diatonic notes." means. I've been playing guitar for some time and decided to look into a few of the details of music and I am unable to decypher what this is trying to convey to the reader. I understand equal tempered to mean equal frequency ratios between half steps, but 'inessential. shading and inflection' don't address the tone orf frequency, as I was expecting in my vocabulary. It, unfortunately, uses one of the terms the article is trying to explain (diatonic) to explain the other it is trying to explain (chromatic) and the modifying terms (...embellishments, shadings, and inflections) are quite meaningless (even if they are possibly exact in advanced music theory). Can it be explained in easier to understand terms, such as pitch, tone frequency, or overtones? -- Steve -- (talk) 00:32, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Fingering... what's the use of that in this article?[edit]

There's a unique fingering for each instrument for a chromatic scale. why a keyboard? the only interesting thing worth mentioning in this article pertaining to a keyboard is that you play the closest key up or down to play a chromatic scale on a keyboard.

How to finger a certain scale belongs in a "how to" or piano book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I tend to agree. Wikipedia isn't a :How to..." manual. I've provisionally removed the material. Feline Hymnic (talk) 21:55, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 20:42, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Tag removed. Hyacinth (talk) 00:39, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Removed: Harmonic chromatic scale[edit]

The harmonic chromatic scale starting on C.
  • The harmonic chromatic scale has a set form that remains the same whether ascending or descending and regardless of key signature. It is created by including all the notes from both the major and minor (melodic and harmonic) scales{{clarify|date=February 2011|reason=There are many major and minor scales: D-major, G-minor, and so on – so which ones are meant here?}} and then adding the lowered 2nd and raised 4th degrees from the starting note. The harmonic chromatic scale therefore has every degree of the scale written twice, apart from the 5th and the key-note or starting note at the top or bottom.

The above was removed from the article, but the discussion, could have also gone on the talk page. Which major and minor scales are meant? Any parallel major and minor scale. In the example shown, C. Hyacinth (talk) 01:49, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Removed: Audio[edit]

About this sound Listen  About this sound Listen 

A bassoon playing a chromatic scale from B-flat1 to B-flat4, ascending then descending.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The above were removed from the article, on the basis that there was an audio file located earlier in the article, not on the basis that there was a superior audio file in the article. Hyacinth (talk) 00:49, 25 January 2012 (UTC)


Coming to this page for information on the topic, as I am not familiar with it, the second sentence of the first paragraph leaves me completely confused. When it says "...all the semitones are the same size" I have no idea what is meant by size in this context. The word size is used again in the second paragraph, and again I do not understand it. Hopefully someone knowledgeable on the topic will shed light on this in the article. (Hope this does not violate some sort of Wikipedia convention). — Preceding unsigned comment added by RHinCT (talkcontribs) 02:50, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

No, RHinCT: you are not violating any convention! ☺ Your questions are welcome at talkpages. One thing to note: always sign your contributions by typing ~~~~ at the end, OK?
I understand how "size" could be confusing to people not intimately familiar with the theory of intervals in music. There is a continuing question of how to present the basics, and of what to assume and what to explain. Thank you for pointing out your concern.
Let's see what others come up with about this. I am a contributor to the articles on music theory, but I am less active there these days. Let me know at my talkpage (User talk:Noetica) if things are not resolved, yes?
NoeticaTea? 03:05, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

"Distance", "size", or "width" are proposed by User:Paolo.dL with no support given for either term. Hyacinth (talk) 22:02, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

A quick (and dirty) Google Books search shows:

  • 770 hits for: "interval distance" music
  • 2,170 hits for: "interval size" music
  • 197 hits for: "interval width" music
  • 8 hits for: "interval height" music


  • 93 hits for: "distance of an interval" music
  • 311 hits for: "size of an interval" music
  • 50 hits for: "width of an interval" music
  • 1 hits for: "height of an interval" music

Hyacinth (talk) 22:18, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Hyacinth, I did not propose the word "distance"! On the contrary, yesterday you replaced "size" with "distance", and I reverted this part of your edit. In my edit summary I explained that "distance" is rarely used: "..."Distance", "size", or "width" are equally meaningless for non-musicians (see talk page). However, size or width are more commonly used terms..." Paolo.dL (talk) 07:43, 28 September 2012 (UTC)