What are Music Intervals?

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Introduction to music intervals

In music the relationship between two notes will often refer to its interval.

Interval in music simply means the distance between two notes.

For example,

The distance between C and G is an interval. This is similar to the interval between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock in the clock system which defines an hour interval.

Types of intervals in music

In music, we have two basic kinds of intervals namely;

1.       Harmonic Interval

2.       Melodic interval

The Harmonic interval is the interval between two notes pressed down simultaneously, a perfect example is when C and G is pressed together. It defines a harmonic interval.

Melodic Interval on the other hand defines an interval between two notes played one after the other (in succession). A perfect instance of a melodic interval is when you play C and next you play G.

However, whether it be a harmonic or melodic interval it will still define the same distance except for the fact that the interval type will be indicated along with it. For instance, in music the distance from C to G defines a 5th interval  but if C and G is pressed together we will say “Harmonic 5th” and “Melodic 5th” when G is played after C. But you can observe that they still have the common attribute of a 5th.

For easy reference, let’s identify all the intervals in the key of C. Note that this will still apply to other keys when we will deal with the major scales in all 12 keys.

In the key of C major,

We call the C the root or unison because it is the starting point of the C Major scale.

Subsequently based on the way you play the next notes (Harmonic or Melodic)

D is harmonic or melodic 2nd from C

E is harmonic or melodic 3rd from C

F is harmonic or melodic 4th from C

G is harmonic or melodic 5th from C

A is harmonic or melodic 6th from C

B is harmonic or melodic 7th from C

C is an octave from C (“Oct” means eight because this is either the 8th note of the scale also referred to as the “1” since it’s same with the first note)

Like we stated earlier, this works on all 12 keys and not just key C alone.

Below is the F major scale


You can use the same concept we used on key C to define their intervals too.

Do the drill now:

We call the F the …………… or unison because it is the starting point of the ………… Major scale.

Subsequently based on the way you play the next notes (Harmonic or Melodic)

G is harmonic or melodic ……………….

A is harmonic or melodic ……………….

Bb is harmonic or melodic ……………….

C is harmonic or melodic ……………….

D is harmonic or melodic ……………….

E is harmonic or melodic ……………….

F is ………………..

 

In the next lesson we will talk about the Tones and Semitones

 

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