Intervals

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What is an Interval?

Name of Intervals

Interval Quality

Seconds

Thirds

Fourths

Fifths

Sixths

Sevenths

Interval Constructor

Identification and Construction

Geometric Interval Constructor

Other Tutorials:

Reading Music

Scales

Chords

Harmonic Functions

Musical Forms

Related Exercises:

Intervals Ear Training

Interval Construction

Interval Identification

Identification and Construction

There are more reliable, faster and easier methods to identify and construct intervals than counting whole and half steps. This animation will let you explore some of them. A brief description of each one:

  1. Scales - if you know the major and minor scales in your instrument, you can use scales to identify intervals. For example: from D to A we have a perfect 5th because they are the 1st and 5th note of the D major and D minor scales. If the A is sharp, the interval gets bigger and becomes augmented. If the A is flat, the interval gets smaller and becomes diminished.
  2. Chords - if you know the basic chords in your instrument (or the arpeggios), you can use chords to identify some intervals. For example: from D to A we have a perfect 5th because they are the 1st and 3rd note of the D major and D minor chords. If the A is sharp, the interval gets bigger and becomes augmented. If the A is flat, the interval gets smaller and becomes diminished.
  3. Inversion - This method is very useful to work with big intervals like the 6th and the 7th since after inversion they become 3rds and 2nds. Isn't it easier to identify a 2nd than a 7th?  See Inversion and Identifying by Using Inversions for more information.

Seconds

Scales: the first 2 notes of every major or minor scale are a major second.

Thirds

Chords: from the root of a any major chord to its 3rd we have a major 3rd. In the case of minor chords the 3rd is minor.

Scales: from the 1st note to the 3rd note of any major scale we have a major 3rd. From the 1st note to the 3rd note of any minor scale we have a minor 3rd.

Fourths

Scales: from the 1st to the 4th note of any major or minor scale we have a perfect 4th.

Fifths

Chords: from the root to the 5th of any major or minor chord we have we have a perfect 5th.

Scales: from the 1st to the 5th note of any major or minor scale we have a perfect 5th.

Sixths

Inversion: a 6th inverts into a 3rd (we invert an interval by raising its lower note one octave). Perfect intervals remain perfect, augmented intervals become diminished and diminished intervals become augmented.

Scales: from the 1st note to the 6th note of any major scale we have a major 6th. In minor scales the 6th from the 1st to the 6th note is minor.

Sevenths

Chords: from the root to the 7th of any major seventh chord we have a major 7th. From the root to the 7th of any dominant seventh chord we have a minor 7th.

Scales: from the 1st note to the 7th note of any major scale we have a major 7th. In minor natural scales the 7th from the 1st to the 7th note is minor.

Inversion: a 7th inverts into a 2nd (we invert an interval by raising its lower note one octave). Perfect intervals remain perfect, augmented intervals become diminished and diminished intervals become augmented.

© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

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13.11.05

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