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Questions tagged [intervals]

For questions centered around the ideas about and classification of distances between two pitch.

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44 votes
8 answers
16k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names for example the note F# can also be written as Gb. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
Dom's user avatar
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39 votes
14 answers
35k views

What makes an interval "Perfect"?

I've been trying to find an answer, but to no avail. Is what we call a perfect interval somewhat arbitrary? It seems as if the modern definition is "perfect under inversion". I know the other thing ...
user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

Defining intervals.

There seems to be a lot of confusion over naming intervals. Some seem to think it involves major intervals being from major keys/scales, thus minor intervals need to follow from that. Some seem to ...
Tim's user avatar
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16 votes
9 answers
2k views

Reference songs for interval training (esp. A5/d5; M6; m6)

As the tutor for my school's music department, I spend a lot of time helping students drill intervals. However, I only have a handful of songs to recommend recognition. P8 — Somewhere Over the ...
31 votes
8 answers
16k views

Are doubly augmented and doubly diminished intervals practical?

In music theory when naming intervals, a lowered diminished interval is a doubly diminished interval (dd) and a raised augmented interval is a doubly augmented interval (AA). One example is a C♯ ...
Dom's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
29k views

How to differentiate between a diminished fifth and an augmented fourth interval?

Both are a tritone appart, both sound the same. How can we differentiate when an interval is an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth? Context: In voice leading we learn that when the spelling of ...
TaylorSwiftFan5932's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
17k views

Having trouble memorizing intervals in ear training

I've been using some of those interval training games like this one and I have tried some on my phone as well. The problem is that I don't think I'm making any progress. Right now (on the website I ...
user1028270's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
4k views

How can a perfect fourth interval be considered either consonant or dissonant?

I've been reading Ralph Denyer's book, The Guitar Handbook, and in the section on intervals he states that the perfect fourth can be either consonant or dissonant but it's not explained as how or why. ...
skinny peacock's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Dissonance: why doesn't the roughness curve have a dip for complex intervals like 7/6?

Roughness is explained well in Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord? In particular the Plomp-Levelt curve is derived, which has various dips showing how simple intervals (...
Sideshow Bob's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
970 views

Perfect 4th is dissonant?

Why is the perfect fourth dissonant in some cases when it does not sound dissonant? When I play it in close position, it does not sound dissonant at all. When I play it as a compound interval, I ...
user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why is a major second not called a perfect second? [duplicate]

Apart from a second, intervals can be described as either {Diminished, Perfect, Augmented} or {Dim, Minor, Major, Aug} depending on whether or not the major and minor scale share that interval. For ...
Tim Hargreaves's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why are thirds used to construct chords?

I am (slowly) learning music theory on the guitar. I've begun learning about scales and chords, and it seems that all chords are built using some combination of thirds. For example, a minor triad is ...
sdasdadas's user avatar
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8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Recognizing intervals without interval songs?

I would love to know all my intervals by ear but where ever I search for help it says to learn interval songs e.g. Jaws theme for minor 2nd. I find this to be pretty ineffective honestly. I don't hear ...
Raymond Visconti's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

General procedure for determining the name of an interval given a major key / diatonic collection [duplicate]

I'm attempting to program a library that lets one make use of concepts from Peter Westergaard's tonal theory. The current problem I'm trying to solve is to determine the specific name of an interval ...
chairbender's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
3k views

Are intervals like major 3rd, minor 3rd, and major 2nd all based on the scales, or are they based on how many semitones they have?

Are intervals like major 3rd, minor 3rd, and major 2nd all based on the scales, or are they based on how many semitones they have? I ask this question because if I play the C major scale, and I ...
mack's user avatar
  • 71
6 votes
6 answers
929 views

(Piano) How should I play this harmonic unison

I stumbled with harmonic unisons for the first time trying to play this arrangement I found this question where some techniques to deal with harmonic unison are discussed, and it helped me with the ...
xvan's user avatar
  • 647
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Lower interval limits

I've heard about this concept of lower interval limits: An arbitrary limit to how low any given pattern of harmonic intervals can be played before it starts to sound muddy. It generally predicts that ...
user45266's user avatar
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15 votes
6 answers
948 views

What is this scale? [Root , +1 , +3 , +1 , +2 , +1 , +3 , +1]

Intervals (relative to previous note): Root , +1 , +3 , +1 , +2 , +1 , +3 , +1 (Root again) Example: A, Bb, C#, D, E, F, G# This scale is used often in Turkish Music. But I don't know if it has a ...
jeff's user avatar
  • 253
8 votes
6 answers
15k views

When is a note flat/sharp?

For instance we are playing a B, is the third note of the chord a Eb or and D#? If we play Bm is the fifth a Gb or a F#?
SovereignSun's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
78k views

Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?

What is a simple way to accomplish transposing a song from one key to another key? In other words if I am looking at a song written in the key of C and can't sing it in that key and I want to ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
502 views

Naming Intervals -- Tactics, Strategies, Tricks

For naming intervals I have two strategies in my head. STRATEGY #1 First identify the generic interval between the two given notes by counting the notes between them (inclusive of those two given ...
xusi's user avatar
  • 31
28 votes
11 answers
5k views

If someone can sing a melody, why can they not also recognize the intervals within that melody?

Surely everyone who struggles with relative pitch already has in-built relative pitch, so why is it so hard to actually recognise intervals? What I mean is from a child I (and most other people I ...
smotala1's user avatar
  • 397
26 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why don't we measure the size of intervals starting from zero?

Note: italics such as "2nd" refer to my proposed notation; existing notation is written without italics: "2nd". Why is the interval between C and D called a 2nd, as they are 1 note apart? Surely this ...
lily's user avatar
  • 432
19 votes
12 answers
53k views

What is a perfect fifth?

I have gone through many documents, but don't understand what a perfect fifth is. Can somebody please explain with an example? (An example is important!) I have already found these explanations, but ...
Manoj Singh's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

Does a diminished first exist?

Are there any instances where the first note in a scale/chord is "diminished"? For instance, could a Db occur in a D chord, where the context explicitly requires that this is a Db (diminished first) ...
Lee White's user avatar
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13 votes
11 answers
48k views

Confusion about major and minor second intervals

Why is a major second interval different from a minor second interval considering that in the natural scales formulae they are both one whole step?
Loc Vu's user avatar
  • 139
12 votes
6 answers
29k views

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
10 votes
8 answers
4k views

Does the bass note in a "slash" chord really have an associated interval?

I have a question about "slash" chords. Look at the chord E/G: E G♯ B G 1 3 5 ? G is the minor 3rd interval (♭3) in the key of E. However, I would have thought by definition chords cannot ...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are some useful ear training exercises for moving beyond two-note interval training?

I've practiced enough that I can recognize two-note intervals in isolation (sequentially), but this doesn't seem to help that much for understanding actual songs. What exercises would help to go ...
Brian Slesinsky's user avatar
10 votes
8 answers
3k views

How to develop a musical ear when even singing poses great difficulty?

I love music and would love to develop a musical ear. My problem is that I can't get started. All tutorials that I find start at a more advanced point compared to where I am at. I can't carry a tune. ...
Wynne's user avatar
  • 416
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why call a major second a diminished third?

In the Hungarian minor scale we have the following intervals, expressed here in semitones, between the scale's notes (I to VIII): I II III IV V VI VII (I) / VIII ...
hvth's user avatar
  • 155
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is so special about the devil's interval (tritone)?

I'm interested in learning more of the Devil's interval: how it originated, some of its uses and what exactly about the interval of a diminished fifth makes it sound ominous?
Neil Meyer's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Naming Scale Degrees

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b It says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the Major ...
Scott's user avatar
  • 165
4 votes
6 answers
536 views

What have I misunderstood about calculating intervals?

Caution: I have studied single-variable calculus, but have never taken a physics course. Vi Hart demonstrates with a violin that on a violin string's length, playing at: 1/2 produces a note an octave ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
448 views

What's the Reason for Naming Major Second a Diminished Third? [duplicate]

I know that interval between those is identical, but very often I see that instead of typing CM2, people use Cd3 to indicate the interval. Isn't simpler to simply use fewer accidentals and make the ...
Lubu's user avatar
  • 47
1 vote
2 answers
263 views

History of standardization of pitch and tuning: measuring waves

The velocity of a traveling wave in a stretched string is determined by the tension and the mass per unit length of the string. for a string of length cm and mass/length = gm/m. For such a string, the ...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar
58 votes
8 answers
14k views

Which notes are optional in jazz chords?

I have a question on jazz chords, and what notes can be removed from the chord. My understanding is fairly superficial - mostly from what I've read in books. This is what I understand: In some chords,...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
35 votes
11 answers
4k views

Advantage of 7-note based theory over 12-note alternative

I'm a beginner at music, so I apologize if this is a dumb question. I've been trying to figure out why (in a 21/12 equal temperament tuning) music theory is based on 7 distinct notes (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) ...
Alexbib's user avatar
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21 votes
12 answers
4k views

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? (as opposed to containing C and D♭ notes)

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? Or do you always have to use D♭ rather than C♯ in a chord that already contains the note C? I'm guessing the answer is no, both C and C♯ should not be ...
asgeo1's user avatar
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20 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are octaves, fifths, fourths and thirds considered as "consonant" in all music cultures?

Our western music culture revolves around the rule that certain intervals are very consonant, and others (such as the interval between a B and F) are dissonant. The octave is the most consonant ...
Lee White's user avatar
  • 5,941
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the characteristic intervals or scales of 13-limit harmony and beyond?

I've been studying and really getting into the Extended Just Intonation music of composers like Ben Johnston and Kyle Gann. I've started trying to explore the sort of intervals and scales that are ...
Pat Muchmore's user avatar
  • 18.3k
12 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why is a minor 3rd consonant but an augmented 2nd dissonant?

I am currently reading the Jazzology and on the chapter per the consonant and dissonant intervals I came across this statement: while a minor 3rd is consonant, an augmented 2nd is dissonant. (...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

Why is a major third considered more consonant than a perfect fourth?

The "perfect" quality implies it should be as consonant as a perfect fifth, but that doesn't seem to be true. Moreover, a perfect fourth has the slightly nicer ratio of 4:3 compared to a major thirds ...
gardenhead's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
6k views

What are the interval patterns for the modes?

I came across this on this site: C Ionian is C D E F G A B, whereas C Dorian is C D E♭ F G A B♭ The WWHWWWH is for Ionian. What is the equivalent for the other modes?
user1584421's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why wasn't the actual "semitone" taken as the unit and therefore called "a tone"?

A more practical formulation of the question is "Why do we count by tones, instead of semitones?", but its meaning could be misinterpreted; the target of the question is actually on the concept of "1 ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 211
10 votes
5 answers
19k views

What is the list of intervals in order of dissonance

I understand that some intervals are considered dissonant (minor second) and some intervals are consonant (perfect fourths). However whenever I see intervals listed, they are always listed from ...
David Kethel's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
10k views

Exercises for quickly identifying intervals on the staff

In order to improve my piano sight-reading, I want to practice recognizing intervals on the staff faster. If possible I'd like to combine the interval-recognition with a training for my finger memory, ...
Florian Brucker's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
315 views

Consonance/Dissonance of 5th according to the explanation of 4th

The consonance of the 4th interval depends on the context, as several music theory sources describe. Why isn't that idea generalized to all intervals? Let me illustrate this comparing what I have in ...
Allan Felipe's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to recognize harmonic intervals?

I've been doing some ear training, I'm quite at ease when recognizing melodic intervals, whether they are ascending or descending intervals, yet when it comes to harmonic intervals, I don't know how ...
Juan Luis's user avatar
  • 501
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do professionals think about notes/degrees/intervals while playing a melody

By my count there are 3 natural ways one might think about a simple melody - I'll use "row row row your boat" as an example. a) notes: CCCDE EDEFG b) scale degrees / distance from tonic: 11123 32345 ...
mathandy's user avatar
  • 247