# Do chord voicings matter for the intervals

If I'm playing in C Major the C Major open guitar chord and then I want to play the 5th to this chord, what chord should I play ?

I know there's a rule that says "to determine interval between 2 notes you count from the lowest note to the highest", and I assume that when someone says "give me the 5th of C Major open chord" it means a chord whose root note is a 5th interval apart from the root note C. So, following this logic I can tell that F Major bar chord on 1th fret fits perfectly:

since from F on 1st fret of 6th string to C on 3rd fret on 5th string the interval is P5. But, at the same time I can build F Major chord differently, in other words use other voicing:

And in this voicing interval between C on 3rd fret of 5th string to the root F on 3rd fret of 4th string is P4.

So, in first voicing the interval is P5 and in second vocing the interval is P4. And the question is: "Who is the real P5 to our C Major" ? Can voicings change the function of the chord (P5 to P4 etc.) ?

• A 5th up from C is G, btw [guitar strings are mainly a 4th apart]. I don't actually understand the rest of what you're saying, sorry. Mar 31 at 18:09
• @Tetsujin, F on 1st fret of 6th string is also 5th from the C (on 3rd fret of 5th string). Which chord considered to be 5th then F or G ? Mar 31 at 18:13
• Ah, I see what you're doing - the F is a 5th below the C, which is going to confuse you to start with. For now, always count up, or if you count down, start from 8 & count backwards. Mar 31 at 18:17
• Several topics have gotten mixed up here. When we talk about “intervals,“ the context is usually talking about the distance between individual notes, not chords. We also use language like “the fifth of“ when talking about the function of cords within a key, as in “the fifth of C major is G.“ And then we also use it when talking about the notes within the chord itself, in which one of the notes is the “root,“ and the other two notes in a simple cord are the “third“ and the “5th.“ Mar 31 at 19:35
• This can't be answered as it stands, as it's asked using skewed facts, and uses distorted information.
– Tim
Mar 31 at 19:51

The advice you're working with -- "to determine interval between 2 notes you count from the lowest note to the highest" -- is incorrect. In fact, you can count in either direction and get the same result, but the direction is of course the opposite. If you count up from C to G, you get an ascending perfect fifth. If you count down from G to C you get a descending perfect fifth. In both cases the interval spans five letters (counting inclusively) and seven semitones (not counting inclusively).

On the other hand, if you count down from C to G (or up from G to C) you have changed the interval. (This change is known as "inversion.")

English uses ordinal numbers for intervals and for scale degrees. Because we identify the components of a chord by the interval between the root and the component in question, we also use ordinal numbers to identify them.

As mentioned above, intervals can be either ascending or descending. A perfect fifth above C is G. A perfect fifth below C is F. But because scale degrees and chord components are always identified by the ascending interval, the fifth degree of a C scale is always G. The fifth of a C chord (and of C7, Cm, Cm7, Cmaj7) is always G, regardless of the chord's voicing.

To identify the chord built on the fifth degree of the scale we use a roman numeral, and we speak it as a cardinal number. Therefore, "the V chord" is pronounced "the five chord," and in C major (and C minor for that matter) it is always G, because as described above the fifth degree of the scale is always G.