Semitone

semitone | m2
Image © Brandy Kraemer, 2015

Definition:

A semitone is the smallest musical interval in modern Western music (or, the smallest distance between notes in the chromatic and diatonic scales*). There are two semitones in one whole tone.

* A semitone is always a half step; however, it can be called either diatonic or chromatic:

  • Diatonic semitones affect two different note-names; the distance between F and G-flat (pictured) is a diatonic semitone.
  • Chromatic semitones name the same note; the distance between A and A-sharp.

Also Known As:



Musical Symbols:
Staff & Barlines
The Grand Staff
Key Signatures
Time Signatures

Note Lengths
Dotted Notes
Music Rests
Tempo Commands

Accidentals
Articulation
Dynamics & Volume
8va & Octave Commands

Repeat Signs
Segno & Coda Signs
Pedal Marks
Piano Chords

Trills
Turns
Tremolos
Glissando
Mordents



Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪   Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪   The Point Of Double-Sharps
 ▪   Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪   Essential Piano Fingering
 ▪   Comparing Major & Minor Chords

Getting Started on Keyboards
 ▪   Sitting Correctly at the Keys
 ▪   Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪   How to Buy a Used Piano


Piano Chords
 ▪   Chord Types & Symbols in Sheet Music
 ▪   Root Notes & Chord Inversion
 ▪   Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪   Essential Piano Chord Fingering

Piano Care
 ▪   Everyday Piano Care
 ▪   Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪   When to Tune a Piano
 ▪  Easy-to-Spot Signs of Piano Damage
 ▪   Piano Room Temps & Humidity Levels

Piano Recitals & Performing
 ▪   What to Eat & Drink Before a Performance
 ▪   Concert Etiquette for the Audience
 ▪   Warming Up for a Piano Performance
 ▪   Overcoming Mistakes On Stage

♫ Musical Quizzes!
 ●  Identify the Piano Keys
 ●  Key Signature Quiz
 ●  Note Length & Rest Quiz (U.S. or U.K. English)
 ●  Grand Staff Notes Quiz
 ●  Time Signature & Rhythm Quiz



Musical Articulation:
 ◦  staccato
 ◦  tie
 ◦  (rfz) rinforzando
 ◦ arpeggiato
 ◦  accentato

Volume Commands & Symbols:
 ◦  (mf) mezzo forte
 ◦  (sfz) sforzando
 ◦  diminuendo
 ◦  al niente
 ◦  (fp) fortepiano

Common French Musical Terms:
 ◦  à l’aise
 ◦  doucement
 ◦ en ralentissant
 ◦  mi-doux
 ◦ très vite

German Musical Commands:
 ◦  anschwellend
 ◦ lebhaft
 ◦  geschwind
 ◦ fröhlich
 ◦  schnell


Illustrated Piano Chords:
AbmajAbma7Abma9  |  AbminAbm7Abm9  |  AbdimAb°7  |  AbaugAb+7  |  Absus2Absus4

 

 

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kraemer, Brandy. "Semitone." ThoughtCo, Jun. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/semitone-definition-2701770. Kraemer, Brandy. (2017, June 29). Semitone. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/semitone-definition-2701770 Kraemer, Brandy. "Semitone." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/semitone-definition-2701770 (accessed November 18, 2017).