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Music Theory: Intervals

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So let's unravel the secrets behind Musical Intervals.

We all know a C Major scale, it's the one you get by playing all the white keys of a piano from C to the next C, the sequence of all the notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, or you can sing them: Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do.

But what does it mean 'Major', is it bigger than a 'Minor' scale?

Let's play a C and then the next note on the C Major scale, D and we can hear that they're different, somehow the D sounds higher in pitch. If we play C and E, the difference is even more evident. We can call this difference in pitch 'Interval' and we can measure it by counting the number of notes from the first to the second on the Major scale:

C - D (C, D) is 2 notes: it's a Second interval

C - E (C ,D , E) is 3 notes: a Third interval

C - G (C, D, E, F, G) is 5 notes: this is a Fifth

C - C (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C) is 8 notes: an Octave


But we don't have to start from C all the times, we can measure the interval between any couple of notes:

D - F (D, E, F) is 3 notes: another Third

E - B (E, F, G, A, B) is 5 notes: a Fifth again.


So this thing about Musical Intervals is a breeze.....Well, if we look a little closer, there maybe enough wind to push our ship a little faster...

We said that C-E and D-F are both Thirds, but if we play C and E together and then D and F, we will hear two very different sounds.

To me C-E is quite a 'happy' sound while D-F is somewhat 'sad'.

Now let's play C-D and E-F, both second intervals: UUghh: E-F sounds weird, not like C-D at all....

So, intervals with the same number of notes can sound quite different, that means that our measurement system is not refined enough:

In fact C-E is bigger, 'major' if you like, than D-F, you can take my word for it or you can go to the next installment in the Musical Intervals saga...

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