Definition of half step in English:

half step


North American
  • The smallest interval used in classical Western music, equal to a twelfth of an octave or half a tone.

    ‘the music rises a half step and goes on doing what it did before’
    Also called semitone
    • ‘Andreas Werckmeister was a musician and music theorist who invented the equal tempered scale - the octave divided into 12 equal half steps - in 1685.’
    • ‘Take the opportunity to point out that a perfect fifth - when counting either direction in the alphabet - contains seven half steps, avoiding confusion between B and F-sharp, or B-flat and F.’
    • ‘For example, when I first used MusicEase, I was dismayed to hear that the pitch emanating out of my computer was about a half step flat.’
    • ‘For example, the sight-singing student who depends upon intervallic content alone in rendering pitches will view the passage C-D-E-F as two whole steps followed by a half step.’
    • ‘Remind the student that in major keys, the half steps will occur between degrees three and four and degrees seven and eight.’


half step