Chromatic and diatonic enclosures are a great way to begin working with melodic embellishment. In this exercise the 3rd of both a major triad (with an added 9) and the 3rd of a minor triad (with an added 9) are embellished or “enclosed” with 2 chromatic steps below and 2 chromatic steps above the target note (which is, in this case, the aforementioned 3rd).
There are many ways to enclose a target note or chord tone. Chromatic and diatonic or whole step enclosures are common, but any group of intervals leading to a a target note could conceptually be thought of as an enclosure.
Getting comfortable with approaching notes by half steps or whole steps is a valuable tool for improvising and also dealing with “mistakes”. For example, if you hear the 5th of the chord in your head but accidentally play the 4th on your instrument, you can begin a chromatic or diatonic enclosure of the 5th and create a melodic passage out of what might otherwise have broken your flow. Playing this material in triplets and enclosing different chord tones or target notes can lead to an infinite number for variations. Chromatic enclosures are difficult to really “hear” and sing. Start singing them very slowly making sure you’re getting the pitches preceding the target note in tune. There is a sing along mp3 below for ear training.