chromatic scale

Insight 10: Chromatic Scale and Fretboard Geography

In this edition of Insight we talk about how notes move chromatically up the fretboard.  The chromatic scale is made up of all 12 notes that we can play.  They are ordered from A to G with a note in between each letter or “natural" note.  That in-between note we can call either the preceding note # or the following note b.  The # symbol tells to move an interval of 1/2 step, or one fret, up from whatever note it follows.  The b symbol does the opposite by moving down 1/2 step or 1 fret.  The two places where this differs is between the notes B and C and the notes E and F.  Here the distance between these notes is only a 1/2 step with no sharp or flat.  So our chromatic scale is as follows:

A   A#/Bb  B  C  C#/Db  D  D#/Eb  E  F  F#/Gb  G  G#/Ab  A

And the whole pattern repeats again at starting at A.  We can familiarize ourselves with where certain notes are on the ukulele, or what I call fretboard geography, with this exercise.  Play all the open notes and say each one aloud to yourself.  We want to view these open strings as being our 0 fret.  With a finger for each fret play each from 0 to 4 then back again.  You can use this to warm up or practice your dexterity but at least once go very slowly and say the notes you are playing aloud to yourself.  Give it a try and remember each of those in between notes has two names so the next time you do the exercise use its other name.

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