Rules for notating Chromatic Scales
- Do not change the starting note enharmonically.
Whatever note your chromatic scale starts on must always be written the same way. So if you start on G♯ for example, do note call the same pitch A♭ later in the scale.
- Do not use the same letter name more than twice in a row.
For example, we can not write F♭, F♮ and F♯ when writing a chromatic scale, as this is using the letter name (‘F’) three times.
- For chromatic scales without a key signature, try to use sharps for the ascending part of the scale and flats for the descending part.
This is because sharps are easier to read when going up and flats when going down.
- For chromatic scales with a key signature (such as in a musical score), choose accidentals based on the key signature.
This means that if the key signature is made up mostly of flats, stick with flats when writing your scale (even the ascending part). The same goes for sharps.
Wring a Chromatic Scale with or without a Key Signature
Writing a Chromatic Scale Without a Key Signature
Writing a Chromatic Scale With a Key Signature
Note that we did not use sharps at all in the ascending part, as recommended by our Rule #3. Instead, we stuck with flats as per Rule #4, to keep things consistent throughout our scale. If we had used sharps, this is how our ascending part would look.
Example of a Chromatic Scale in Music
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