How to teach the difference between chromatic and diatonic semitones : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I teach a 14 year old who is not understanding the difference between a diatonic semitone, and a chromatic semitone. To be honest, I always struggled with this aspect in theory myself, and just barely made it through my book. Could someone explain to me how to make this clear to my student? The diatonic semitone is what he is really confused on. Thank you so much!


-- Caroline Dean (, July 28, 2002


Diatonic semitones have different letter names. (In other words, the two notes can be found in a diatonic scale.)

E-F is a diatonic semitone since both occur in C Major A-Bb is a diatonic semitone since both occur in F Major

C-C# is a chromatic semitone because it only exists in the chromatic scale and not in any diatonic (major) scale.

-- Jason (, August 01, 2002.

Isn't a diatonic semitone a whole step? And a chromatic semitone a half step? You may find using different terminology will eliminate some of the confusion. Remember that 5 finger patterns and scales are built on a series of half steps and whole steps.

-- marciajyurko (, February 05, 2003.

Nope. My original answer is, in fact, correct! The terminology is not common in the United States but does appear in other countries.

-- Jason (, February 11, 2003.


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I guess you are looking for something or someone to chew on. Here we go:

-- a former piano student (, November 22, 2004.

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