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.
First Known Use of semitone
SEMITONE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of semitone for English Language Learners
music : a difference in sound that is equal to 1/12 of an octave
Learn More about semitone
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about semitone
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