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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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8answers
9k 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,...
37
votes
5answers
8k 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?
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13answers
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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 ...
28
votes
8answers
10k 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♯ ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Identifying the interval from A♭ to D♯

This is a very theoretical question but it's confusing me a little. So intervals overlap - That's why I can call a major 3rd a diminished 4th, and such. However, from what I understand, a perfect ...
22
votes
9answers
14k views

What is the full list of possible chord names? Are there chords that don't have a name in chord theory?

My chord book covers 35 different chord types. When I look on the web or in other tools, all the same types of chords come up. But I don't think this is the "full" set of possible chords. I'm not ...
22
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
944 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 ...
20
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12answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Which are all the musical intervals that are valid?

I have been reading around many sources, but it seems there is not a full standardized way in naming intervals, some sources say that such a thing as a diminished first exist. So I started making an ...
20
votes
3answers
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 ...
19
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10answers
5k views

Etymology of word “Octave”

How come the etymology of the word octave is related to the number eight, when the numbers that you would associate with the meaning of the word are either two – doubling of the frequency – , or ...
18
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6answers
5k views

Learning intervals - the fear it will change how I hear music

I wrote here before about my issue with studying intervals. I got the will again and went to train my ear, but I have a great fear all of a sudden that I will listen to music and melodies recognizing ...
18
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2answers
1k views

What is the name of the interval Db - D#?

I know that D♭ - E♭ is a major second. What is the interval D♭ - D♯ called (and why)?
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4answers
900 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. ...
16
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9answers
2k views

Musical Aids to Memorize Intervals

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 ...
15
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5answers
20k 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 ...
14
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6answers
710 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 ...
14
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3answers
2k 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) ...
13
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
12
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9answers
27k 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?
12
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5answers
4k 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. (...
12
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3answers
1k views

Interval of a 4th above the bass

As I was studying music theory (harmonizing a melody in particular) I got confused with the statement: The interval of a 4th above the bass is considered dissonant and must resolve down by step. ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Recognizing modulation style / pattern in Steely Dan's “West of Hollywood”

I'm a fan of Steely Dan's music, but I find analysis of their music to be difficult from a tone-, modal-, and chord-theory point of view. But perhaps the complex jazz-influenced M7/M9/M11 chords ...
11
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3answers
5k views

Is the tritone (A4 / d5 / DA3 / Dd6) still banned in Roman Catholic music?

The tritone is one of the most dissonant intervals in music. It is also known as the "Augmented 4th", "Diminished 5th", "Doubly Augmented 3rd" or "Doubly Diminished 6th", and it is composed of three ...
11
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2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

I need help to understand chord intervals (not single note intervals)

I understand intervals between notes. Each number of steps between two notes has a particular name. Like this: But some times I see people refering to intervals between chords, not single notes. Like ...
10
votes
1answer
857 views

Is i-V a stronger progression than I-V?

I'm just starting to learn a little music theory (in connection with learning to play the ukelele), and I repeatedly see I-V as basically the strongest chord progression (in whatever sense "strongest" ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
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5answers
4k views

Understanding the claim - “If composers want sad music, they use those two notes” [B&C]

Recently I had seen a great TED talk by Benjamin Zander in which he says (about Chopin's 4th prelude): ...... The first note is a B. [plays B] The next note is a C. [plays C] The job of the C is ...
9
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1answer
2k views

What interval is from G♭ to A♯ (same octave)?

It is a number 2 interval, but being 4 semitones, it is beyond an augmented second. So, what it is?
9
votes
1answer
521 views

What is the idea of “transposing by perfect unison”?

As far as I understand, a "perfect unison" refer to two notes sounding the same pitch. Why both MuseScore and Sibelius 7 (I work with these two programs) offer a feature to transpose the up or down by ...
8
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5answers
1k views

Why intervals are not named after distance [duplicate]

I was wondering about the foundations of the way we name intervals. For example, the interval between C and G is a fifth because there are five notes from C to G. But it's a common mistake of the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
997 views

What is the interval from C double flat to E double sharp called?

What is this interval called in terms of relative scale degrees?
8
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4answers
583 views

What makes augmented fourths and the diminished fifths so hard to sing/remember?

I've always wondered what makes these particular intervals so difficult.
8
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2answers
376 views

what does the apostrophe mean in this notation?

Found this whilst reading some basic theory on wikipedia, but am trying to figure out what the supposed meaning is. example: b-c' kleine secunde 16:15 source: Wikipedia link with interval table ( ...
8
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2answers
225 views

Eartraining: What to learn after mastering interval recognition?

(This is for relative pitch, absolute pitch gods please don't descend from heaven) I've been learning to recognize intervals for the past year or so, and I have to say I'm very good at it. (Mostly by ...
8
votes
1answer
329 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 (...
8
votes
3answers
7k 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
423 views

“Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

In 12-tone equal temperament, the tritone interval is made of three whole tones (six semitones) and is considered, if I am not mistaken totally, as the most dissonant interval. I have two questions: ...
8
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3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

Why in the study of counterpoint by johan fux are minor sixths allowed but not augmented fifth?

If augmented fifths and minor sixths are enharmonically equivalent why does johan fux in his book study of counterpoint allow minor sixths but not augmented fifths if they sound the same? How does one ...
8
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3answers
665 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
332 views

What is the history of the Augmented Second in World Music

In his book Gypsy Music, Bálint Sárosi states that the Augmented Second --- as found between the second and third, third and fourth, sixth and seventh in a lot of Gypsy as well as Indian and Middle ...
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4answers
2k 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?
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7answers
3k 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 ...
7
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5answers
3k views

Chords and Intervals - Unison

Just trying to wrap my head around intervals but I'm confused by Unison. If I am playing a chord on a piano, how do you play a Unison chord if you can't press the same key twice at the same time? ...