semitone

play
noun semi·tone \ˈse-mē-ˌtōn, ˈse-ˌmī-, -mi-\

Definition of semitone

  1. :  the tone at a half step; also :  half step

semitonic

play \ˌse-mē-ˈtä-nik, ˌse-ˌmī-, -mi-\ adjective

semitonically

play \-ni-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Did You Know?

A semitone (sometimes called a half tone or a half step) is the distance from a white key to a neighboring black key on the piano keyboard—for example, from G to G-sharp or from E to E-flat. In an octave (from G to the next G above, for instance), there are twelve semitones. Semitones are the smallest intervals that are used intentionally in almost any of the music you'll normally hear. Two semitones equal a whole tone—the distance from G up to A or from E down to D, for example.

15th Century

First Known Use of semitone

15th century


SEMITONE Defined for English Language Learners

semitone

play
noun semi·tone \ˈse-mē-ˌtōn, ˈse-ˌmī-, -mi-\

Definition of semitone for English Language Learners

  • music : a difference in sound that is equal to 1/12 of an octave


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