Here, we are going to talk about two things:

  • semi-tone
  • whole-tone

Make sure that you checkout my previous article how do music notes work

We will of course talk about intervals later!
Basically, semi-tones and whole-tones are easier to see on a keyboard, and intervals are easier to see on staves.

Try to remember the sound (by playing, singing ...) of a semi-tone, and the sound of a whole-tone, as they are the fundamental elements of western music theory.


A semi-tone is the smallest distance between two notes that you can see on the keyboard:
For example:

  • C and C♯
  • F♯ and G
  • E and F
  • G and A♭
  • B and C

all note names


A whole-tone is equivalent to two semi-tones:

  • C and D are a whole tone apart.
  • F♯ and G♯ are a whole tone apart.
  • E and F♯ are a whole tone apart.
  • B♭ and C are a whole-tone apart. all note names