Music, often described as the universal language, is composed of intricate patterns, rhythms, and harmonies. At the heart of these harmonies lies the concept of intervals, the spaces between notes that give music its depth and character.

Intervals in music refer to the distance between two pitches or notes. They are the building blocks of melodies, chords, and harmonies, shaping the emotional and tonal landscape of a piece.

Understanding intervals helps musicians recognize patterns, transpose music, and build chords and scales.

### Melodic Intervals

Melodic intervals refer to the distance between two pitches or notes that are played successively, one after the other, rather than simultaneously. They describe the relationship between two notes in a melody when they are played in sequence.

### Harmonic Intervals

Harmonic intervals refer to the distance between two pitches or notes that are played simultaneously, at the same time. They describe the relationship between two notes when they are sounded together, creating harmony.

### Interval Naming

**Unison (Perfect Prime)**: This is when two notes are the same. For example, playing two middle C’s on a piano at the same time.

**Minor 2nd**: This is the smallest distance between two different notes. For example, the distance between C and C# or D and D♭.

**Major 2nd**: This is equivalent to two half steps or one whole step. For example, the distance between C and D.

**Minor 3rd**: This interval spans three half steps. For example, the distance between C and E♭.

**Major 3rd**: This interval spans four half steps. For example, the distance between C and E.

**Perfect 4th**: This interval spans five half steps. For example, the distance between C and F.

**Tritone**: This interval spans six half steps and is exactly halfway between an octave. It’s sometimes called an augmented fourth or diminished fifth.

**Perfect 5th**: This interval spans seven half steps. For example, the distance between C and G.

**Minor 6th**: This interval spans eight half steps. For example, the distance between C and A♭.

**Major 6th**: This interval spans nine half steps. For example, the distance between C and A.

**Minor 7th**: This interval spans ten half steps. For example, the distance between C and B♭.

**Major 7th**: This interval spans eleven half steps. For example, the distance between C and B.

**Octave (Perfect 8th)**: This interval spans twelve half steps and is the distance between two notes with the same name. For example, the distance between C and the next C above it.

Intervals can also be augmented (increased by a half step) or diminished (decreased by a half step). A diminished 5th is one half step smaller than a perfect 5th, and an augmented 4th is one half step larger than a perfect 4th.

Number ofsemitones | Minor, major,or perfect intervals | Shorthand | Augmented ordiminished intervals | Shorthand | Alternative Names | |

0 | Perfect unison | P1 | Diminished second | d2 | ||

1 | Minor second | m2 | Augmented unison | A1 | Semitone, half tone, half step | |

2 | Major second | M2 | Diminished third | d3 | Tone, whole tone, whole step | |

3 | Minor third | m3 | Augmented second | A2 | ||

4 | Major third | M3 | Diminished fourth | d4 | ||

5 | Perfect fourth | P4 | Augmented third | A3 | ||

6 | Diminished fifth | d5 | Tritone | |||

Augmented fourth | A4 | |||||

7 | Perfect fifth | P5 | Diminished sixth | d6 | ||

8 | Minor sixth | m6 | Augmented fifth | A5 | ||

9 | Major sixth | M6 | Diminished seventh | d7 | ||

10 | Minor seventh | m7 | Augmented sixth | A6 | ||

11 | Major seventh | M7 | Diminished octave | d8 | ||

12 | Perfect octave | P8 | Augmented seventh | A7 |

In addition to their technical definitions, intervals also have distinct sonic qualities.

Major intervals tend to sound happy or bright, while minor intervals often sound sad or dark. Perfect intervals like the 4th and 5th have a stable sound, while augmented and diminished intervals can sound tense or dissonant.

## How Do You Identify An Interval?

Identifying musical intervals involves determining the distance between two notes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you identify intervals:

**1. Start with the Note Names:**

First, identify the names of the two notes. If you have C and E, you know the interval starts on C and goes up to E.

**2. Count the Letter Names:**

Count the starting note as “1” and then count up to the second note. Using the C and E example, you would count: C(1), D(2), E(3). This tells you it’s some type of 3rd.

**3. Determine the Number of Half Steps:**

Count the number of half steps (semitones) between the two notes. On a keyboard, this means counting every key (including both white and black keys) between the two notes, but not including the starting note.

For C to E: C to C# (1), C# to D (2), D to D# (3), D# to E (4). So, there are 4 half steps between C and E.

**4. Match the Number of Half Steps to the Interval Name:**

Using the number of half steps you’ve counted, you can determine the specific type of interval:

1 half step = Minor 2nd

2 half steps = Major 2nd

3 half steps = Minor 3rd

4 half steps = Major 3rd

**5. Consider Augmented and Diminished Intervals:**

If an interval is one half step larger than a major or perfect interval, it’s augmented.

If it’s one half step smaller than a minor or perfect interval, it’s diminished.

**6. Use Mnemonics and Songs:**

Many musicians use familiar songs to help identify intervals.

- Minor 2nd: The first two notes of “Jaws” theme.
- Major 2nd: The first two notes of “Happy Birthday.”
- Perfect 4th: The beginning of “Here Comes the Bride.”
- Perfect 5th: The first two notes of “Star Wars” theme.

These song references can vary based on individual experiences and cultural context, so it’s helpful to find songs that resonate with you.

**7. Practice:**

Like any skill, interval identification improves with practice. Use ear training apps, and websites, or work with a music teacher to practice listening to and identifying intervals.

Some options I like to use are:

https://www.iwasdoingallright.com/tools/ear_training/online/

https://www.earbeater.com/online-ear-training/#/

Also, practice on your instrument. Learn to play intervals across the guitar fretboard and how to find them on the piano.

**8. Context Matters:**

The sound of an interval can be affected by the context in which it’s heard. For example, a minor 6th might sound different in the context of one chord progression compared to another.

By combining these techniques and practicing regularly, you’ll become more proficient at identifying musical intervals by both sight and ear.

### Music Interval Calculators

Here are some online music interval calculators that you can use:

- Omni Calculator: The music interval calculator on Omni Calculator determines the interval between two notes.
- muted.io: This is a simple online musical interval calculator. You can select a low and a high note to get the interval name and the number of semitones between the two notes.
- CalcTool: The music interval calculator on CalcTool allows you to easily determine the interval between two given notes.

### What Is The Interval From F To C?

The interval from F to C is a **Perfect 5th**.

Here’s how you can figure it out:

**1. Count the Letter Names:**

Start with F as “1” and count up to C: F(1), G(2), A(3), B(4), C(5). This tells you it’s some type of 5th.

**2. Determine the Number of Half Steps:**

Count the number of half steps (semitones) between the two notes:

- F to F# or G♭ = 1 half step
- F# or G♭ to G = 1 half step
- G to G# or A♭ = 1 half step
- G# or A♭ to A = 1 half step
- A to A# or B♭ = 1 half step
- A# or B♭ to B = 1 half step
- B to C = 1 half step

In total, there are 7 half steps between F and C.

**3. Match the Number of Half Steps to the Interval Name:**

A Perfect 5th spans 7 half steps.

Therefore, the interval from F to C is a Perfect 5th.

### What Is The Interval Of D To G?

The interval from F to C is a Perfect 5th.

Here’s how you can figure it out:

**1. Count the Letter Names:**

Start with F as “1” and count up to C: F(1), G(2), A(3), B(4), C(5). This tells you it’s some type of 5th.

**2. Determine the Number of Half Steps:**

Count the number of half steps (semitones) between the two notes:

- F to F# or G♭ = 1 half step
- F# or G♭ to G = 1 half step
- G to G# or A♭ = 1 half step
- G# or A♭ to A = 1 half step
- A to A# or B♭ = 1 half step
- A# or B♭ to B = 1 half step
- B to C = 1 half step

In total, there are 7 half steps between F and C.

**3. Match the Number of Half Steps to the Interval Name:**

A Perfect 5th spans 7 half steps.

Therefore, the interval from F to C is a Perfect 5th.

### What Is The Interval Of F To B?

The interval from F to B is an Augmented 4th (often referred to as a “Tritone”).

Here’s how you can figure it out:

**1. Count the Letter Names:**

Start with F as “1” and count up to B: F(1), G(2), A(3), B(4). This tells you it’s some type of 4th.

**2. Determine the Number of Half Steps:**

Count the number of half steps (semitones) between the two notes:

- F to F# or G♭ = 1 half step
- F# or G♭ to G = 1 half step
- G to G# or A♭ = 1 half step
- G# or A♭ to A = 1 half step
- A to A# or B♭ = 1 half step
- A# or B♭ to B = 1 half step

In total, there are 6 half steps between F and B.

**3. Match the Number of Half Steps to the Interval Name:**

A Perfect 4th spans 5 half steps. However, since F to B spans 6 half steps, it is one half step larger than a Perfect 4th, making it an Augmented 4th.

Therefore, the interval from F to B is an Augmented 4th or Tritone.

## What Is The Difference Between a Chord And an Interval?

Both chords and intervals are fundamental concepts in music theory, but they refer to different concepts.

While both intervals and chords deal with the relationship between notes, intervals focus on the distance between two specific notes, whereas chords involve the simultaneous sounding of two or more notes to create harmony.

- Definition
**Interval**: An interval is the distance between two pitches or notes. It describes the relationship between two notes in terms of how many letter names they encompass and how many half steps (semitones) separate them. For example, the distance between C and E is a major 3rd.**Chord**: A chord is a combination of two or more pitches sounded simultaneously. It’s a harmonic unit in music. The combination of C, E, and G played together forms a C major chord.

Technically, a harmonic interval is a type of chord.

### Number of Notes

**Interval**: Always involves two notes, either played successively (melodic interval) or simultaneously (harmonic interval).**Chord**: Involves two or more notes played simultaneously.

- Function
**Interval**: Describes the distance and relationship between two notes. Intervals are the building blocks of scales, chords, and melodies.**Chord**: Creates harmony in music. Chords provide depth to melodies and play a significant role in establishing the tonality and mood of a piece.

- Types
**Interval**: Intervals can be minor, major, perfect, augmented, or diminished. Examples include minor 3rd, perfect 5th, and augmented 4th.**Chord**: Chords can be major, minor, augmented, diminished, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, and many other types. Examples include C major, D minor, and G7.

- Usage
**Interval**: Intervals are foundational in understanding the structure of scales, chords, and melodies. They are also crucial for tasks like transposing music.**Chord**: Chords are used in accompaniments, songwriting, and compositions to create harmonic progressions and support melodies.

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Additional Resources: Wiki – Intervals