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Teaching Skills > What to Teach > Teaching Materials > Theory Development > Understanding the chromatic scale
Description: Printer friendly explanation of the chromatic scale and how it relates both to the keyboard and fretboard.
Imagine a keyboard with nothing but white keys:
It would be very difficult to keep track of which note was which. Early keyboards were a bit like this until someone had the idea of painting some of the keys black:
Then an even brighter and better idea - the black keys were narrowed and raised in height so that the player could find individual keys by touch alone:
The clever part of all this is the pattern of black notes grouped as they are in twos and threes, enabling the player uniquely to identify each note on the keyboard.
Understanding the Chromatic scale (continued)
The white (natural) notes are defined as follows:
C positioned just
to the left of the group of two black notes
The black notes each have two possible names depending on whether you are looking up at them from the note below or down at them from the note above.
C# is just to
the right of C and can also be called Db because it's just to the left
But notice that there is no E#, Fb, B# nor Cb because we have to leave a gap in the pattern of black notes at these points or the poor keyboard player would be right back where we started.
The chromatic scale is best learned in both directions:
sharp (#) names: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C and
The guitar fretboard is arranged chromatically and knowing this scale is the key to working out all the notes on your guitar. For example, here are the notes on the E string:
See if you can apply this scale to figure out the notes on the other strings.
|Copyright ©2002, 2009 Nick Minnion. This material may be freely copied and distributed providing that this copyright notice including the website address is included in full. This material may not be included in any publication offered for sale without the written agreement of the copyright holder. For further information on this and related articles please visit: www.TeachGuitar.com.|