Is there an official definition used to describe a phrase constructed by playing three ascending half steps in quick succession, e.g. for a bass fill? I hear this used by a lot by John Taylor from Duran Duran.

  • Chromatic triplet?
    – Tim
    Jul 19, 2020 at 11:13
  • 2
    This just made me think of a documentary I saw once, with Bernard Edwards giving John a Masterclass in bass playing. I mean, John wasn't bad, but when your producer is Bernard, you're never going to look good in comparison. I found a bit of it - youtube.com/watch?v=14kXaX5D6Ng - there was a whole lot more but this is cringeworthy enough ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 19, 2020 at 16:41
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    @Tetsujin Taylor watching Edwards is the same as me watching Taylor! I'll be studying Edwards some day in the future although Taylor is much more accessible to me right now (as a self-taught amateur of 1 year) because his lines are simpler but still sound great. Jul 19, 2020 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


I would call it a chromatic run, as it is a portion of the chromatic scale.

In the minor blues scale for instance, you have it between degrees 3 and 5, e.g.:

E - G - A - A# - B - D - (E)

Calling the middle note a passing tone fits as well.

  • This seems to be correct. If you google the term chromatic run we find this definition. And if not I‘d vote up anyway. Jul 19, 2020 at 15:42
  • Thanks, that's perfect as "run" quantifies any number of half steps: not only three. Jul 19, 2020 at 15:56

Chromatic run is accurate but more specifically it’s a double chromatic approach since the target note is the third chromatic note.

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