A chromatic scale is a twelve note scale with a numeric formula of 1-♭2-2-♭3-3-4-♭5-5-♭6-6-♭7-7-8/1. The chromatic scale is a series of 12 half steps or semitones and represents all of the tones available to us in Western music. There are numerous ways to write a chromatic scale but the example below is written as a harmonic chromatic formula which is the same for both ascending and descending, some alternative writing methods specify the use of sharps for ascending and flats for descending.
An improviser would rarely play the chromatic scale from tonic to tonic, the chromatic scale is used so an improvisor may take a small passage from the scale for use in a melodic phrase. There are three chromatic scale patterns below, two are grouped together as ascending (upwards) and descending (downwards), these two scales are used when you wish to stay "in position" when improvising. The third scale pattern labelled alternate is used if you wish to shift positions during a chromatic melody.
Chromatic scale profile
|Notation formula (key of C)||C-D♭-D♮-E♭-E♮-F-F♯-G-A♭-A♮-B♭-B♮-C/1|
|Stepping||half, half, half, half, half, half, half, half, half, half, half, half|
|Tonal||semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone, semi-tone|
|Harmonized triads (key of C)||n/a|
|Harmonized tetrads (key of C)||n/a|
Chromatic scale patterns
Chromatic scale audio sample(s)
|C Chromatic scale alternate pattern|