What are the musical intervals? In this Theory in 300 we’re going to break down this important musical concept in under 300 words.
Intervals are a fundamental part of musical structures, and as a result a fundamental part of any musician’s understanding of music.
An interval is the distance in pitch between two tones. An interval can be quickly found my counting up the scale from the tonic of that scale.
Intervals can have different qualities like chords. Like chords, intervals can be perfect, major, minor, augmented or diminished.
Perfect intervals are intervals that are perfectly consonant with one another. In a diatonic scale, unisons (1st interval) and octave (8) are always perfectly consonant. Fourths and fifths (P4 and P5) are also perfect. An augmented interval is a perfect interval raised one semitone and a diminished interval is a perfect interval lowered one semitone.
(pic; show unison, and that graphic of root and then all the notes above them)
Major intervals – the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th intervals – are usually the exact distance from a tonic note to another note. Minor intervals are major intervals lowered one semitone, giving it a flat (or sharp) quality.