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In a book on jazz harmony in Russian I have noticed the term 'open interval'. Example 57 says that interval -9 in the right arrangement is 'open interval' (in this case it's bad). The left arrangement is 'better' (smth which looks like 67 is in fact 'major 7th' in Russian notation).

My question is: Does 'open interval' here mean that one of the notes which form the -9 interval is THE HIGHEST of all the four notes, i.e. openness implies there is nothing above Bflat here?

1 Answer 1


No, when talking about chord voicings, "open" means the voicing covers more than one octave. "Closed" means less than an octave.

So, in this case, the voicing on the left, spreads only a M7, while the one on the right spreads more than an octave (m9).

  • Note too that some textbooks call these "closed" and "open" intervals "simple" and "compound," respectively.
    – Richard
    Aug 29, 2018 at 11:42

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