1.9 Intervals


Category: Harmony | Tags: Intervals


In this chapter you will learn about intervals. In the video, I show what intervals are and you'll learn the names of the 7 most important intervals. You are going to practice these names. In Ear training, you will hear how these 7 intervals sound.

1. What is an interval?

When you make music, you play tones with different pitches. Regardless of the instrument you play - whether you play notes in sequence or at the same time, you play tones of higher and lower pitch. The difference between a higher and a lower tone is called an interval.

An interval measures the distance between two notes.

Therefore, intervals are always made up of 2 tones. For example, if you play 3 tones, that is not called an interval.

The easiest way to determine the distance between 2 tones is to count the white keys on the piano. Count from the lowest to the highest white key to determine the number of that distance. Note: the lowest key is '1' ! Below, you can see an example of an interval with a distance of 5.

interval with 5 steps
The distance between the tones C and G is five.

2. What are the names of the intervals?

If you can count the distance between 2 tones, then you will know its name! The names of intervals are numbers.

There are 7 important common intervals. These are:

  • second, interval of 2 steps
  • third, interval of 3 steps
  • fourth, interval of 4 steps
  • fifth, interval of 5 steps
  • sixth, interval of 6 steps
  • seventh, interval of 7 steps
  • octave, interval of 8 steps



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What are the names of the intervals?

note example

3. Practise

Harmony exercise 1b: practise the names of the intervals.

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4. Ear training

Listen to the sound of the intervals.

cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe second C D


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe third C E


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe fourth C F


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe fifth C G


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe sixth C A


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe seventh C B


cd Ch.1.9 IntervalsThe octave C C