Simple intervals are not bigger than an octave while compound intervals are larger than an octave. Ninths, tenths, elevenths and thirteenth are examples of compound intervals. Octaves, thirds, fifths are simple intervals.

Each compound interval is related to a simple interval. By subtracting 7 from the compound interval you get the related simple interval. For example 9 - 7 = 2, so a 9th is related to a 2nd. A compound interval has the same quality as the related simple interval. Several examples of compound intervals and the related simple interval:


Major 9th / Major 2nd


Major 11th / Perfect 4th


Major 13th / Major 6th

See Reading Music in the Tutorials section.


Search   •    Write to us

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
José Rodríguez Alvira.