Semitones are slippery characters! It's a challenge to keep track of them, but they're essential for filling out melodic lines and adding color to chords.
They present a unique challenge to the hand and fingers, so regular practice is essential to ready the hand to close-quarter work.
Regular, dedicated work with semitones will develop your aural skills, and these pattern-based finger drills will challenge you to precise listening and thinking.
Download the PDF for the Scale City Chromatic Scales here.
Take a look at a sample pattern: No.1, ascending.
The arrows above the stave show whether you go up or down a semitone to the next note.
You will be told if the movement is more than a semitone.
The shorthand below the music tells you how far up or down each six-note pattern takes you. 'Up w-t' is shorthand for "up a whole tone" - from C to D.
The descending pattern is always the inversion (vertical flip) of the ascending pattern. (Check the sequence of up/down arrows to verify.)
Note that both halves of the bar are the same pattern - not always the case.
Try your utmost to 'get your head' round the symmetry of the ascending and descending patterns. It's high-level attention-paying that pays off in spades!
All semitones: four up and two down makes net two up, therefore, rises a whole tone (w-t).
You should ideally be playing from a mental 'shorthand' version based on the ascending and descending patterns.
Yes, the performance speeds up! Let's not languish in our comfort zones! These chromatic runs should blur into a smear of sound!
You could try to stick to the approved chromatic scale fingering, but in reality you're more likely to end up 'winging it' and fingering instinctively.
This usually means you teeter on the edge of running out of fingers and rescue the situation by the skin of your teeth.
Exactly as it should be!
Don't be surprised to find yourself using finger five or using the thumb on black keys. All you want is for it to sound effortless!
Also 'four up and two down', but the 'two down' come at the end of the six-note run.
Still all semitones; five up, one down, therefore net four up - rising a major third. A much faster up/down movement!
All semitones, but the two halves different, and rise/fall by major third (M3) and whole tone (w-t).
Semitones plus a minor third (m3) skip.
The two halves of the bar are different, and rise/fall by different amounts.
Two minor third skips in the pattern.
Continue to visit the Chromatic Scale pages here at Scale City.
You're well prepared to go on to the Chromatic Dominant module now, for a crash course in a practical application of chromatic scales in popular music.
Scale Practice Patterns (SPPs)
Scale-tone practice patterns (STPPs)
The MusicartaA methodical approach to keyboard syncopation for