#1
Guys, I'm having a hard time understanding it. I'm not sure why but I just can't. Can some one explain the basics idea of it to me?
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
#3
Quote by kagendew
its every note. C, C#, D, D# etc...

I know that (That's about all I know) but why?
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
#4
Well, when the scale was created, it needed a name. Since it uses every note, including the accidentals, it was called the Chromatic Scale. Just like we have the Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic, Major Scale and countless others, we also have the chromatic. That's really all you need to know - is that it uses every note and what it's called.
#5
Quote by KG6_Steven
Well, when the scale was created, it needed a name. Since it uses every note, including the accidentals, it was called the Chromatic Scale. Just like we have the Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic, Major Scale and countless others, we also have the chromatic. That's really all you need to know - is that it uses every note and what it's called.


But that's all? Like literally, that's it?
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
#7
Quote by unicornfist
But that's all? Like literally, that's it?


like, literally, that's it.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Quote by unicornfist
But that's all? Like literally, that's it?


Well also "chromatic" refers to stepping up or down semi-tone by semi-tone. So going chromatically from C to D would go C C# D, each a semitone apart. The chromatic scale goes up by semi-tones until it reaches the octave.

For the major scales, there's a major formulae which follows it's pattern of tones and semitones, and so does the minor etc. Some scales have strange/multiple names which are definately a situation where a name has been made up just for ease.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Quote by unicornfist
I know that (That's about all I know) but why?

the Chromatic scale is derived from the concept of Chromatic notes. Which comes from the Greek "Chorma" which means "color." In western music, Chromatic-tones "color" the scale in use in the particular piece by "filling in" the space between two notes (Passing tone) or by lowering and raising the pitch before returning to the original note (neighbor tone).

Now, by this definition, all sorts of pith bends (such as those produced by bending a guitar string, using a slide, sliding between two pitches with your voice, etc.) would be "chromatic" figures, as they provide color to what is written on the page (Chromatic figures probably arose via improvisation on top of a rather ordinary melody, thus truly "coloring" a "dull" figure). But in the western classical tradition at the time the concept of chromatic notes were developed, the octave was divided into 12 distinct pitches, so tones smaller then a semitone (or half step) are refered to as microtones, not chromatic notes (microtones were more of a recent development in western music theory, though there were examples of practical uses before that). As scales of seven units became common (in which pitches were seperated either by a whole step or a half step), the only "chromatic notes" were half-steps away from a scale-unit that was seperated from the next one by a whole step. Thus chormatic notes tended to be thought of as primarily half-step in nature.

With this in mind, it is easy to see how the chormatic scale developed. To conceptualize it in the way we have done previously, you could think of it as a scale consisting of all possible chromatic tones for any diatonic scale. However it is much more practical to just say "it contains all 12 distinct pitches in an octave."

Now, the Chromatic scale has two real uses. First is as we have discussed where it is overlay-ed on top of a scale in use and the non-scale tones are used to color the diatonic scale. However, if it is used as a scale by itself, it may function in a different way then a seven-note diatonic scale. A chromatic scale (not chromatic colorations of a diatonic scale) represents to tonality what a constant sequence of unaccented eighth notes represents for rhythm. In a constant stream of unaccented eighth notes (or any uni-length note), it is impossible to determine a definite downbeat, so in a true chromatic scale, it is impossible to determine a definite tonic.

However, the chromatic scale may suggest a definite tonic depending on how a composer uses the scale. For example, based on whether he uses any leading tone motion, or what tones he accents, etc. A chromatic scale is versitile as it may emphasize a number of tonics, instead of just one. In fact, depending on the composition, a chromatic scale may treat as tonic anywhere from 1 to all 12 notes (as in atonal music) in an octave
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Jun 27, 2011,
#10
Quote by AeolianWolf
like, literally, that's it.




Alright, thanks everyone.

Especially nmitchell076 since you wrote that up for me.
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
Last edited by unicornfist at Jun 27, 2011,
#11
Quote by unicornfist
But that's all? Like literally, that's it?


No, that's not all. You really need to study the history of Western music to understand how the chormatic scale, as we know it now, came into being. Occidental music theory came from the Greeks who had three genera of scale/tuning systems - one of which was called "chromatic." The chromatic tetrachord was 2 semitones and an "incomposite trihemitone" [Nicomachus*], which we would spell E F Gb A. A full 7-note scale would be E F Gb A B C Db (E). You can see how this scale features what we would now call "chromaticism." Nicomachus goes on to say that "...the chromatic [genus] is between these two [the enharmonic and diatonic], for it deviates minimally from the diatonic, by one semitone only. From whence we say that men who are changeable have 'color.'"

From here, read what nmitchell076 wrote.

* Manuale harmonices by Nicomachus (2nd cent. C.E.)
#12
Quote by Harmosis
No, that's not all. You really need to study the history of Western music to understand how the chormatic scale, as we know it now, came into being. Occidental music theory came from the Greeks who had three genera of scale/tuning systems - one of which was called "chromatic." The chromatic tetrachord was 2 semitones and an "incomposite trihemitone" [Nicomachus*], which we would spell E F Gb A. A full 7-note scale would be E F Gb A B C Db (E). You can see how this scale features what we would now call "chromaticism." Nicomachus goes on to say that "...the chromatic [genus] is between these two [the enharmonic and diatonic], for it deviates minimally from the diatonic, by one semitone only. From whence we say that men who are changeable have 'color.'"

From here, read what nmitchell076 wrote.

* Manuale harmonices by Nicomachus (2nd cent. C.E.)


^ or skip this bit and go on to what nmitchell076 wrote straight away.
#14
You can see it in action here, it's a solo from a Megadeth song called "Sweating bullets"

Basically everything can sound good as long as you know how to use it.
#17
Quote by piszczel
You can see it in action here, it's a solo from a Megadeth song called "Sweating bullets"

Basically everything can sound good as long as you know how to use it.

Quote by Hail
This is good way to look at it.

(Vic Wooten is the man! I love his stuff with Bela Fleck's Flecktones)
Quote by Flibo

methinks we are getting ahead of ourselves. TS wanted basics, I think he's gotten them, so this thread has served its purpose. We should (for TS's sake) keep all examples in a seperate thread, imo. Something along the lines of a "12-Tone Compositions" thread.

But as for this thread, I think its done (unless anyone has any more questions about the fundamentals of the chromatic scale)
#18
Quote by unicornfist
Guys, I'm having a hard time understanding it. I'm not sure why but I just can't. Can some one explain the basics idea of it to me?


Because it's very hard to teach yourself, when materials out there don't teach.

Have you considered private lessons?

Best,

Sean
#19
I'd like to briefly expand upon the analogy I made earlier between the chromatic scale and a sequence of eighth notes.

Consider you have some sort of machine that can generate rhythmic sequences (a metronome for instance), if you set it on 1/4 (that is, one beat of one quarter note, and every note is treated as a downbeat), and set the speed to very high (lets say, 200+ bpm), and hit start/play. Since the machine accents every beat, the only true downbeat that is justifiable is the first note. Any other downbeats you hear is purely a result of your imagination (ie, you as a listener place the downbeat mentally, not the performer.)

Similar, if you have a player-piano that begins with the lowest note of its range and plays every note in sequence in a uni-rhythmic pattern, what you perceive as a "tonic" would also be a mental act on your part (it could be, for instance, if you impose a 4 beat-per-measure pattern mentally on it, then you might see it as an ornamentation of an augmented chord. Or if you imposed a 3 beat-per-measure pattern on it, then you might see it as an ornamentation of a diminished 7 chord.) All of that would be something you as a listener impose upon the music, and not something that the music has within itself.

Everything else (about how composers can emphasize tonics using various methods) was explained well-enough above.

I apologize if this is in any way redundant, I just felt I wasn't clear with my analogy before