Western music tradition uses twelve different notes. The minimum distance – or interval – between two notes is a semitone.

The twelve notes are:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

where D# is a semitone higher than D. D# is pronounced D-sharp.

You can also print out the inbetween notes by b:

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

where Db is a D lowered by a semitone. Db is pronounced D-flat.

C# and Db are thus the same tone. The name used depends on the context the note is present in, for example what key you are in.

The interval between two adjacent frets on the guitar fretboard (on the same string) is one semitone. On a piano the interval between two adjacent keys is a semitone.

  • The interval of an octave is exactly twelve semitones.
  • It is a semitone between C and C#, C# and D, D and D#, and so on.
  • Note that it is only one semitone between the notes E and F as well as between the notes B and C.
  • A scale in which all twelve tones are included is called a chromatic scale.
  • When playing the guitar a often used technique is to bend the strings, especially when playing the blues. In this case it is common to also play quarter notes.