Intervals Explained

10 Nov

Printable PDF: Intervals explained

An interval is the distance between two notes, and it is indicated by ordinal numbers (2nd, 5th , 7th) except when describing the unison (identity of pitch) and the octave (two notes 12 semitones apart).

Intervals of a 2nd ,3rd ,6th ,7th are called major.

Intervals of a 4th ,5th and octave are called perfect.

If a major interval is raised by a half step it is called augmented. If a major interval is lowered by a half step it is called minor. If lowered by two half steps, diminished.

If a perfect interval is raised by a half step it is called augmented. If a perfect interval is lowered by a half step it is called diminished (note the difference).

There are two basic ways to calculate an interval,  that will lead to the same result.

1. Calculating by the number of half steps between the two notes:

N.of halfsteps

1

2

3

4

5

6

6

also

7

8

8

also

9

10

10

also

11

12

Interval

m2

M2

m3

M3

P4

4aug

5dim

P5

5aug

m6

M6

6aug

m7

M7

P8

Example

C

Db

C D

C

Eb

C

E

C

F

C

F#

C

Gb

C

G

C

G#

C

Ab

C

A

C

A#

C

Bb

C

B

C2

C3

where m=minor, M=major, P=perfect, dim=diminished, aug=augmented.

2. Finding  the interval from the major scale. All the intervals from the tonic of a major scale to any other note of that scale are major or perfect (i.e. between C and D=major2nd,  C e E=major3rd, C e F=perfect4rth, and so on…). Of course you need to know your major scales!!

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Gianni

Gianni Chiarello has gained a reputation as an extremely versatile musician, having professional credits as a guitarist, bassist, arranger and producer. His music is a preconception-free mix of Jazz, Funk, Blues, R&B and contemporary elements, influenced by . Born in Italy, in his forming years he performed with some of his country's finest musicians working towards developing different styles, from rock to pop, funk and jazz. In 1999 he moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, on a scholarship program, where he graduated with a Degree "Magna cum laude" in Professional Music, studying under the direction of Mick Goodrick, Hal Crook, Brett Willmott and Dave Samuels, also playing in the Boston area and along the States' east coast as a freelance musician. Alongside studio work, he has been performing with, and leading as Musical Director, numerous bands and orchestras, comping for celebrities from the sixties like The Platters, The Coasters, Bobby Arvon, The Diamonds, Vegas – Broadway entertainers like Tony Tillman, Kenny James, Hal Fraiser, Lorna Luft, Ben Vereen, Susan Anton and Roy Walker. Furthermore his work entailed musical theatre style production reviews, encompassing shows such as “Smokey Joe’s Café”, “We Will Rock You”, “Starlight Express”, “Grease” and “Rent”. After relocating to the UK in 2005, has performed, amongst others with Robbie McIntosh (John Mayer, Paul Mccartney) Jeremy Stacey (Tom Jones, Sheryl Crow), Jason Rebello (Sting, Jeff Beck), Iain Ballamy and many others. His latest instructional eBooks can now be purchased online: “Contemporary solo guitar” (2008) and “Contemporary blues soloing” (2009) “Contemporary Blues Chords and Comping” (2011)

2 thoughts on “Intervals Explained

  1. I think intervals are the base of understanding music theory, all you have to do is knowing the major scale and its intervals, so while learning guitar scales you just see what intervals differ from the major scale and change them (minors, diminished…etc), great post.

  2. Pingback: Intervals Explained pt 2: practical application on guitar. | TrueGuitarist.com Free Video Guitar Lessons

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