[Lesson] The Almighty Intervals

Discussion in 'The Sevenstring.org Workbench' started by peterchau, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    Alright dudes, I got a bunch of finals and I don't feel like studying for them. So I've decided to write a lesson on intervals. I'm not gonna claim to be a master or anything, so if I happen to make a mistake let me know. Also I learned this stuff off a site on the net. I plan to sum all this stuff up, and show some ways to use it when playing the guitar.
    When you see some like this C4, that number four means it middle C. If its a five, that means its an octave higher.
    Remember, almost everything in music is relative to something else. And assume everything we do is in treble clef.

    Generic Intervals:
    First of all, an interval measures the distance between 2 notes.
    Generic Intervals are measured on the staves of your sheet music.
    Now when counting generic intervals, you start from your root note (in this case it is G4), and then count till you get to the note your trying to reach.

    G4 to G4 (or Gb4 or G#4) is a FIRST apart G.
    G4 to G4 is also known as a UNISON
    [​IMG]

    G4 to A4 (or Ab4 or A#4) is a SECOND apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to B4 (or Bb4) is a THIRD apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to C4 (or C#4) is a FORTH apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to D4 (or Db4 or D#4) is a FIFTH apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to E4 (or Eb4) is a SIXTH apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to F4 (or F#4) is a SEVENTH apart.
    [​IMG]

    G4 to G5 (or Gb4 or G#5) is a EIGHTH apart.
    G4 to G5 is also known as a Octave.
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, when dealing with Generic Intervals, accidentals don't matter. Your just measuring the lines and spaces between (and including) 2 notes.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Specific intervals
    Alright, Specific Intervals are measured in half steps. Normally people learn this on the piano, keyboard, key-tar, and organ, whatever. I'm going to teach this on the guitar. Why would I do that you ask? It is so you can apply it.
    This part feels like everything is just random numbers. But if you know the number of half steps in Major Intervals, and perfects then you'll be fine.

    Major Intervals
    There are four Major Intervals: Second, Third, Sixth, and Seventh.

    Major SECOND is a Generic SECOND on the staff, and TWO half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-2-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Major THIRD is a Generic THIRD on the staff, and FOUR half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-4-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Major SIXTH is a Generic SIXTH on the staff, and NINE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---0--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Major SEVENTH is a Generic SEVENTH on the staff, and ELEVEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---2--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Perfects Intervals
    There are three Perfects Intervals: Forth, Fifth, and Eighth (Octave).

    Perfect FORTH is a Generic FORTH on the staff, and FIVE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---1--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Perfect FIFTH is a Generic FIFTH on the staff, and SEVEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---3--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Perfect EIGHTH (Perfect Octave) is a Generic EIGHTH on the staff, and TWELVE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---3--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented Intervals
    You can Augment any Major Interval, and Perfect Interval. To Augment an Interval, you ADD a half step to it, and change the prefix (Major, Perfect) to Augmented.
    There are three Perfects Intervals: Second, Third, Forth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth.

    Augmented SECOND is a Generic SECOND on the staff, and THREE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-3-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented THIRD is a Generic THIRD on the staff, and FIVE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---1--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented FORTH is a Generic FORTH on the staff, and SIX half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---2--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented FIFTH is a Generic FIFTH on the staff, and EIGHT half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---4--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented SIXTH is a Generic SIXTH on the staff, and TEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---1--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented SEVENTH is a Generic SEVENTH on the staff, and TWELVE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---3--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Augmented EIGHTH is a Generic EIGHTH on the staff, and THIRTEEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---4--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished Intervals
    Diminished Intervals are like Augmented Intervals. However, Major Intervals act differently.
    When you SUBTRACT ONE half step from a Perfect Interval, it becomes a Diminished Interval.
    There are three Diminished Intervals that come from Perfect Intervals: Forth, Fifth, and Eighth.

    Diminished FORTH is a Generic FORTH on the staff, and FOUR half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---0--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished FIFTH is a Generic FIFTH on the staff, and SIX half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---2--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished EIGHTH is a Generic EIGHTH on the staff, and ELEVEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---2--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    When you SUBTRACT TWO half steps from a Major Interval, it becomes a Diminished Interval.
    There are four Diminished Intervals that come from Major Intervals: Second, Third, Sixth, and Seventh.

    Diminished SECOND is a Generic SECOND on the staff, and NO half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-0-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished THIRD is a Generic THIRD on the staff, and TWO half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-2-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished SIXTH is a Generic SIXTH on the staff, and SEVEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---3--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Diminished SEVENTH is a Generic SEVENTH on the staff, and NINE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---0--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Minor
    When you SUBTRACT ONE half step from a Major Interval, it becomes a Minor Interval.
    There are four Minor Intervals: Second, Third, Sixth, and Seventh.

    Minor SECOND is a Generic SECOND on the staff, and ONE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-1-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Minor THIRD is a Generic THIRD on the staff, and THREE half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B------
    G-0-3-
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Minor SIXTH is a Generic SIXTH on the staff, and EIGHT half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E------
    B---4--
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Minor SEVENTH is a Generic SEVENTH on the staff, and TEN half steps on the fret board.
    [​IMG]
    E---1--
    B------
    G-0----
    D------
    A------
    E------
    B------

    Sometimes you will see Cb or F## instead of B and G. This is because the intervals must keep their place on the staff. even though they would enharmonicly be the same, you must keep those accidentals so their places would be kept on the staff.

    Interval Inversions

    When inverting intervals, you move the lowest note in a group an octave higher. This group could be a standard interval, or maybe a chord.

    Here is a chart for interval inversoins:
    (Taken from www.musictheory.net)

    Minor<->Major
    Third<->Sixth
    Second<->Seventh
    Diminished<->Augmented
    Perfect<->Perfect
    Fourth<->Fifth

    What this means is, if you invert a Minor interval, it will always invert into a Major interval. Or if you invert a Perfect interval, it will always invert into a Perfect. Other then that, there isn't much more to say or draw about interval inversions.

    How this matters when playing your guitar
    Alright, so now you know all about Intervals. But how can you use this vast amount of knowledge that has been granted to you by me?

    Here is a short list of how intervals can be useful:
    Chords
    Now when building chords you will understand what it means to add a major third and a perfect fifth. Or what it means to add a major third and a augmented fifth.
    Ear training
    It is possibly easier to train your ear to recognize intervals now. You now know that a Major Third is not as sharp as a Augmented Eighth.
    Tabbing
    If you learn what intervals sound like, you won't have to guess what the next note in a song is. You can instead figure out what the interval is, and it will be easier to figure out the next note.

    There are many other ways that intervals can be used. They are one of the most important aspects of music. if you can fully understand them, many doors will open.

    All of this info can be found at www.musictheory.net. I've pretty much summerized intervals from this site.
     
  2. Ken

    Ken Forum MVP

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    Couple things here.

    You asked to be informed if there are mistakes. I believe there are, so I'm going to list them here. I'm no expert either, so if I'm wrong then just ignore me.

    An interval between the same note (i.e. G1 to G1) is called a "Unison", not a "First". G1 to G2 interval is an "Octave", not an "Eighth".

    I don't believe that Intervals are separated into General and Specific categories. As you said, an Interval is a name for the distance between two notes. They are all equal in status. A Major 3rd is no more general or specific than a minor 3rd, any more than 4 blocks is from 3 blocks. Just a name for a distance.

    I know you're not done with your lesson, and maybe I'm speaking out of turn here. Just want to chime in before someone learns this and says things like "play an Eighth above the bass line".
     
  3. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    Thanks for informing me on my miskates ken, I also wouldn't want anyone with messed up theory because of me.

    About Generic and Specific intervals. These might not be called that, but I believe they do exist, and their is a difference between them that matters.

    Generic intervals measures the distance between (and including) 2 notes on sheet music.

    Specific intervals is the measure of half notes between (but not including the root) 2 notes.

    A generic third, and a major third, minor third, or Aug third are all different.
    generic third: This is a Third apart
    major third: This is 4 half steps
    minor third: This is 3 half steps
    Aug third: This is 5 half steps

    They are still thirds. the Generic third just represents them all.

    The reason for intervals is for composing and chord building.

    An Aug Fifth (8 half steps), is enharmonicly the same as a minor Sixth (8 half steps). If you used these in a chord, they would both be named differently.
    and the next chord in your progression would probably be a different chord.

    I've added Unison and Octave. The same to notes, at the same pitch is a Unison, my mistake. With an Octave though, I think both names would be correct. The reason I didnt put it was because technically, G1 and Gb1 arent an octave apart.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    *fixing links
     
  5. Ken

    Ken Forum MVP

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    Uh, 1 half-step is a minor 2nd, 2 half-steps is a Major 2nd, 3 half-steps is a minor 3rd.
     
  6. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    Um.. Ignore that, I meant 3,4,5.

    Thanks Chirs I've been freaking out, trying to figure what happened to photobucket. :)
     
  7. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    ;)

    Once this is sorted out, I'll put it in the Workbench.
     
  8. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    Cool, only a few little problems in the way.
     
  9. Ken

    Ken Forum MVP

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    Guess I should get busy on my own lessons rather than picking others' apart... :lol:
     
  10. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    :lol: no way, without you I wouldnt have noticed that I put the wrong number for middle C.
     
  11. 7stringninja

    7stringninja Southpaw Bastard

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    I'm by no means an expert, but this is my understanding on the terminology.

    Let's use C as a root example.

    C - Unison (1st/tonic) *Tonic when referring to modes
    C# - Minor 2nd
    D - Major 2nd
    D# - Minor 3rd
    E - Major 3rd
    F - Perfect 4th (I guess it could be referred to as a "minor" OR "major, but "Perfect" is more acceptable)
    F# - Augmented 4th/Diminished 5th
    G - Perfect 5th (Same as above - Notice, you hear about 5th chords everyday, but I never remember it being called a "Minor 5th" or "Major 5th")
    G# - Minor 6th
    A - Major 6th
    A# - Minor 7th
    B - Major 7th
    C - Octave (I guess it COULD be called an 8th, but usually isn't)


    You run into the issue of terminology in this setup really. Because alot of the intervals can technically have multiple names. A Major 7th COULD be called a Dimished Octave, but I've never heard it referred to as such.

    Once again, I am no expert. This is just me, telling you what I have learned.
     
  12. peterchau

    peterchau Heavy Metal Pirate

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    Right. But in the case of Major 7th bring called a Dimished Octave, the notes would be on a differant place on the staff. Major 7th would read as B. Diminished Octave would read as Cb.

    The point im trying to get across is that intervals can be called differant things given a certain situation.

    But if something should be a Major 7th, and you decide to call it a Dimished Octave, technically it wouldnt be right.
     

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