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Fundamentals of Music: Intervals
Transcript of Fundamentals of Music: Intervals
thrown around here occasionally. The dictionary definition of "interval" is
the distance between two things. Today... interval - the distance between the pitch value of two notes. Before we measure the distance of these intervals, let's talk about two different kinds of intervals: melodic interval - an interval as it occurs in a horizontal relationship. (say, within a melody) harmonic interval - an interval as it occurs in a vertical relationship. (you guessed it... within a harmony) to repeat... The Size of Intervals It's as simple as counting the number of steps between notes... ...with one important caveat: In measuring an interval, we count the lines and spaces between notes, plus both notes . 1 2 3 4 5 The Quality of Intervals 1 2 3 4 5 Five steps, including both notes. Five steps, including both notes. this is an interval of a fifth . Whether melodic or harmonic, (Because there are five steps.) 1 2 3 4 5 Hey! We can do this for all
kinds of intervals, now! 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 second interval of a third fourth sixth fifth seventh interval of a Yes, when you have a chord with an interval of a second, the notes are stacked askew, with the higher note to the right. If you have a stemmed chord, it looks like this: third second third second 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 second third fourth sixth fifth seventh Notice that this chart covers seconds through sevenths. What about the values on either side? 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 seventh 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 8 ? This is not an "eighth"! 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 seventh 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 8 We call this an octave . octave Hmm... we have used this word before. "Octave" comes from the Italian word for eighth, "ottava" (We get pretty much everything from the Italians.) Oh, hey! These are both F's! 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 8 F F 1 2 3 1 2 second third ? How about this one? These two notes are the same pitch. And like the octave, we don't call this a "first". It's called a unison . 1 2 3 1 2 second third unison We are not concerned about intervals over one octave,
but so you know, they are called ninth, tenth, etc. These numbers are what we call the size of interval. We can abbreviate the type of interval using simple numbers. octave seventh sixth fifth fourth third second unison 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 Five steps, including both notes. Five steps, including both notes. Whether the melodic interval goes up or down does not affect the interval. 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Notice that any accidentals do not affect the size of the interval. fifth fifth The quality of intervals fall basically into two classes: P1 M2/m2 M3/m3 P4 P5 M6/m6 M7/m7 P8 Some intervals are perfect . Other intervals are or . major minor The Perfect Intervals Perfect Unison Perfect Fourth Perfect Fifth Perfect Octave P1 P4 P5 P8 We abbreviate the perfect quality with an uppercase P. The Major/Minor Intervals Major Second Major Third Major Sixth Major Seventh M2 M3 M7 M6 m2 m3 m6 m7 Minor Second Minor Third Minor Sixth Minor Seventh We abbreviate major intervals with an uppercase M.
Minor intervals are abbreviated with a lowercase m. Here is another way to look at it. This relates well to the major scale. Let's use F Major as our example scale. F G A B F E D C The interval from F up to any other note in this scale is either Perfect or Major. F G A B F E D C P1 M2 M3 P5 P4 P8 M7 M6 F G A B F E D C P1 m2 m3 P5 P4 P8 m7 m6 The minor intervals are found by lowering the major intervals by a half step. These do not conform to the minor scale, which you have not yet learned. FYI... Only major intervals have matching minor intervals. Perfect intervals do not. Perfect intervals stand on their own.
That's why they're perfect. To find the quality of the interval between two notes, first find the size of the interval. 1 2 3 4 5 fifth Next, consider the major key signature of the bottom note. The key of A Major has three sharps. We ask ourselves if E is in the key of A Major. ? Yes, it is. This is a perfect fifth. P5 Steps for finding the quality of the interval Count to find the size of interval. If no, it is minor, diminished , or augmented. Check the number of half steps away from perfect/major to find out. If yes, the interval is perfect or major. Ask if the higher note is in the key of the lower note. Find the key signature of the lower note. There are two more qualities of intervals. Augmented Diminished Just remember that augmented means to make bigger and that diminished means to make smaller . , P4 If I increase the interval by a half step, it becomes augmented . Let's take the perfect fourth as an example. A4 This would also be true if I had left the G alone and changed the C to C sharp, because in either case it makes the interval bigger. P4 Yes, make the interval smaller, either by lowering the top note... How do I make a diminished fourth? d4 or raising the bottom note (which would have paired a G sharp with the C). The abbreviation for an interval is an uppercase . The abbreviation for a interval is a lowercase . augmented A diminished d Here is a good chart to write in your notes: Quality of Intervals smaller larger P d A M m A major interval made a half step smaller is a minor interval. A minor interval made a half step smaller is diminished. A major interval made a half step bigger becomes an augmented interval. d A The distance between each quality on this chart is one half step. (Not really, but if you wanted to know why they're called perfect, we would have to launch into a history lesson about the ancient Greeks. <END OF PRESENTATION> But accidentals will affect the quality of the interval.