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  • Writer's pictureJeff Powers

Half Step And Whole Step

Updated: Mar 20

This is beginning knowledge of music theory:

Half Step and Whole Step. Sometimes written as: H for half step and W for whole step…and sometimes 1/2 and 1

A half step means you went from one note to the very next note either ascending or descending. On the piano it looks like one key to the very next key above or below and on the guitar it looks like one fret above or one fret below the starting note.


A whole step means you went from one note to two notes away ascending or descending. On the piano it looks like two keys away from the starting note above or below and on the guitar it looks like two frets away above or below the starting note


To summarize: a whole step is equivalent to moving two notes or keys/frets away from the starting note, either ascending or descending. It is a bigger leap compared to a half step, which is just one note/key/fret away.


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