December 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm #21687
Intervals are the building blocks of music. An interval is the distance between two pitches. There are different qualities and distances of pitches. The basic qualities include diminished (°), minor (m), Major (M), Perfect (P), and augmented (+). Diminished and augmented can also be doubly diminished/augmented, or triply, quadrupled, and so on. Past being doubly diminished/augmented it can become excessive and almost never encountered in music. The smallest interval is the unison (u), the second is a 2nd, the third is the 3rd, until the eight is an octave (not labeled as an 8th). These intervals go past the octave for example, the ninth interval is the ninth. Now with intervals past an octave they are basically the same type of interval as they were before the octave but plus an octave. For example a ninth is like a second plus an octave. A tenth is like a third plus an octave. An eleventh is like a fourth plus an octave and so on. Lets look at this closer….
these are the notes in music a-g and then it repeats higher.
a b c d e f g a b c d e f g a b c d e f g……..
two a’s at the same pitch level are an unison
an (a) with the (b) after it is a second
So how could you figure out what a third is? Well you could count letters through the alphabet and repeating a-g.
lets have the root of the interval be the letter (a). Count 1 on (a) then 2 on (b) then three on (c). As you can see counting like this reveals that between (a) and (c) there is some sort of third.
a b c d e f g
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
looking at the simple diagram above can you figure out what a fifth is? well if the root is (a) then (e) is the fifth. With the root of (a) what is a 7th? Well if the root is (a) then (g) is the 7th. So what if we start on a note other than (a)? Well we can count in the same way. Lets say that (c) is the starting note.
c d e f g a b
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
In this case the fifth above (c) is (g), the fourth is (f). How about the 6th? well that would be (a).
g a b c d e f
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
So in this example a type of fifth above (g) is (d) a type of seventh is (f). So how about intervals larger than an octave? well in this case you just keep repeating the alphabet.
a b c d e f g a b c d e f g a
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
So now we can see past the octave (8). So (b) is an 9th above (a). (a) and an (a) eight notes above is an octave. (a) and an (a) 15 notes above is two octaves.
In this example I used the () to keep the letters from becoming confusing in the typing and they serve no musical function. I will try to add sheet music with the diagrams on staff paper, but this will require a lesson on how to read sheet music.
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