2.7 Sixth, seventh and octave

 

Category: Harmony | Tags: Intervals, Ear training: intervals

Theory

This chapter is the continuation of Chapter 1.9 Intervals and Chapter 1.11 Second, third, fourth and fifth. In this chapter you will learn more about the intervals sixth, seventh and octave. You learn about the character of these intervals. In the videos and examples, I show how to make these intervals. In the exercises, you learn to recognize intervals and you are going to make them yourself. You will also learn to distinguish these intervals by ear.


1. Sixth: the 6-step interval

sixth 6-step interval
The sixth C A: a 6-step interval.

The sixth is an interval with 6 steps. On the piano, we can find it one white key higher than the fifth. The distances are getting bigger! A sixth sounds nice and round, to speak in musical terms - consonant.

cd Ch.2.7 Sixth, seventh and octaveThe sixth C A

Due to the greater distance this interval occurs less often in melodies, but much more often in chords. The sixth is actually an inverted third. Carl Czerny composed a studie, where you hear only sixths in the melody, just listen:

 

Video

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Examples

Which tones do you get if you make sixths on the natural notes?

note example

piano example


2. Seventh: the 7-step interval

seventh 7-step interval
The seventh C B: a 7-step interval.

The seventh is an interval with 7 steps. Like the second, a seventh sounds dissonant when you play it separately. The seventh is quite difficult to sing.

cd Ch.2.7 Sixth, seventh and octaveThe seventh C B

The seventh plays a minor role in melodies, but is a very important interval when it comes to chords. If you learn about chords, you will soon come across the term seventh chord. These seventh chords occur mostly in classical music, jazz and pop music. The beautiful piano composition "Pavane pour une infante defunte" by Ravel, has a lot of sevenths. And used in this way, we do not experience it as a dissonant:

 

Video

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Examples

Which tones do you get if you make sevenths on the natural notes?

note example

piano example


3. Octave: the 8-step interval

octave 8-step interval
The octave C C: a 8-step interval.

The octave is an interval with 8 steps. The octave is derived from Latin - numeral octavus - which means 'eighth'. On the piano, count up 8 white keys from any key and you will get a key with the same name. You are playing the same tone, but an octave higher. The octave always sounds very consonant - the same note 8 steps higher or lower makes for a pure sounding interval, the tones enrich each other.

cd Ch.2.7 Sixth, seventh and octaveThe octave C C

The octave, like the third and the fifth, is one of the most important intervals in music. Very often, tones are doubled by playing an octave. This happens in melodies but especially with chords, making them sound richer. Listen and watch a sample of octave acrobatics.

 

Video

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Examples

Which tones do you get if you make octaves on the natural notes?

note example

piano example


4. Practise

Harmony exercise 2a: practise recognizing a sixth, seventh and octave from musical notation.


Harmony exercise 2b: practise making a sixth, seventh and octave on the natural notes.

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5. Ear training

 

Practise

Ear Training exercise 2f: practise distinguishing the difference between the sixth, seventh and octave by ear.

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Example question

Which interval do you hear?

Choise 1: sixth

Choise 2: seventh

Choise 3: octave


Practical steps

Sing the interval being played to train your inner hearing abilties. Decide which interval is being played.

Answer: sixth.