Basic Theory Exam #2 Diatonic, Chromatic Semitones, Whole Tones


Working on a basic theory exam? Question 2 may be about answering questions or writing diatonic, chromatic semitones, or whole tones.

This question is one of the simple ones.  What students tend to forget is the difference between diatonic and chromatic.  Remember that diatonic starts with the letter ‘d’  D for different.   Therefore, the note won’t be on the same line or space.

A semitone is another word for half step.  When a student first writes in the note look to see if the question is for a chromatic or diatonic tone.  A chromatic tone will be drawn on the SAME line or space.  Add the necessary accidental.  A DIATONIC semitone is written directly above or below the given note.  For instance, if the given note is a line note and the question says ABOVE…draw a note in the SPACE above the line note.  Then add the necessary accidental to create a half step. Remember to read the question carefully.

A WHOLE tone (also known as a WHOLE step) is ALSO written on the line or space above (or below) the given note but the accidental (if needed) has to create TWO half steps.  This creates the whole tone or whole step.

ANOTHER problem students tend to forget for CHROMATIC tones…which are written on the SAME line or space… to add an accidental to the second note.  For instance, if the given note is C# and the question asks to write a chromatic tone BELOW the given note…the note beside the C# has to be C Natural.  A natural sign needs to be placed before the second note.

Enharmonic?  This means to Draw the SAME tone with a different note.  If the note is C# the other name for it is D flat.