Introduction to Intervals

 
 
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Intervals - The Building Blocks of Music
Click on the red notes to hear intervals.

Scales Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh Octave

What Is an Interval?

A note played all by itself may have a pretty sound, but it's not music.  When you add another note, you create an intervalIntervals can be close together or far apart. 

An interval is the distance between two notes. As you add more notes, you create music.  This is the beginning of musical meaning

When intervals are stacked on top of one another, they create chords and make harmony.

 

 

When intervals move from left to right, they make melodies

 

 

 

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Scales

We're going to look at and listen to some popular intervals.  Before we start, let's review what a scale is.   

This is the C major scale.  It has 8 tones.  Each tone moves higher up the staff.  To learn more about scales, click here

 

 

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Second 

This is the interval of a second.  This is the shortest distance between two tones.  They are right next to each other.

 

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Third

This is the interval of a third.  There is a note between the first and third notes.  The third is a very popular interval today for creating beautiful harmony. 

 

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Fourth

This is the interval of a fourth.  These notes are four steps apart.

 

 

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Fifth

 

This is the interval of a fifth.  These notes are five steps apart.  This interval has an open, hollow quality.  Music from long ago used lots of fifths. 

 

 

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Sixth

An interval of a sixth is six steps apart.  Like the third, this interval is also very popular in today's music for creating harmony.   

 

 

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Seventh

An interval of a seventh is a wide interval and sounds strange to the ear.  The seventh note of a scale is also called the leading tone because it leads into the eighth tone.  This interval is used to create tension.

 

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Octave

The interval of an eighth is also called an octaveOctaves have the same letter name and the same sound.  If you play any white key on the piano and play another note eight steps higher or lower, that's an octave.

 

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