Tones and Semitones

A semitone is a musical term we use for a half-step, it is the note immediately above or below.

For example, the black note immediately above C is C sharp.

Semitone on Piano

As you can see, in most cases the note immediately above is a black key. However, the two exceptions are E-F, and B-C.
A semitone up from E is F. There’s no black key between E and F (a gap).

Semitone on Piano

What Is A Whole Tone?

A Whole tone, also a Whole Step or Tone, is the equivalent of two semitones.
For example, the distance between C and D. (Skipping the black key in between)

Tone on Piano

Similarly, the distance between these two black keys is a Whole Tone (skipping the white key in between)

Tone on piano between two black keys

Here is a full scale from C to C.

As you can see, the naturals are mostly Tones (T) with two exceptions of Semitones (S).

Tone – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone – Tone – Semitone

Tones and Semitones with Keys