Tones and semitones are the fundamentals of music. Whenever somebody is playing a music, they are just playing tones and semitones whether they know it or not. So what are these so called building blocks of music. Its very simple.
What are tones and semitones? :
As you might remember from the last post, there are twelve notes in total including the sharps.
Semitones are just the movements from one note to the next note. That means from A to A#, A# to B, B to C, C to C#, etc when moving upwards. Or C# to B, B to A#, etc when moving downwards. Tones or whole tones are movements from A to B, B to C#, etc. when moving upwards and C# to B, B to A, etc when moving downwards.
Semitones are just one step movements and whole tones are two step movements. For example, in a semitone movement from A to A#, you are just moving one step. In a whole tone movement from A to B, you are moving two steps, ie, you leave A# and move directly to B.
Easy way to remember tones and semitones:
In other words, you can simply say that semitones are movements from one fret to the next fret on your guitar. And tones or whole tones are movements from one fret to the other fret leaving a fret in between. But in the long run, you should be able to recognize the tones and semitones by any method.
Remember that, along with the musical alphabets A,B,C,D,E,F,G , all their sharps are also included when dealing with tones and semitones. Whenever you deal with tones and semitones, always remember to include the sharps too. So the line of notes alphabets will always be A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#.
You may also want to read my post “names of guitar strings and notes on different frets“.
So that was simple. Isn’t it? Don’t worry if you cannot get it in the first read. Come back next time and read it again until you get the hang of it. It’s actually quite a simple concept. Just takes some time to get it into the head sometimes 🙂