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whole-tone


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Interval of 2 semitones, e.g. from C up to adjacent D. whole‐tone scale progresses entirely in whole‐tones instead of partly in whole‐tones and partly in semitones as in major and minor scales and modes. The scale is obtained by taking every other note of the 12‐semitone chromatic (or equal‐tempered) scale, thus only 2 whole‐tone scales are possible, one beginning on C, the other on C♯ (but since there is no keynote each scale can begin on any note). Used by Debussy, Vaughan Williams, Glinka, and others for chords and short passages.

Subjects: Music.


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