10.08.2009

Guitar/Bass Guitar Lesson - Interval Basics

The following article is courtesy of The Rock House Method

An interval in music is a measurement of distance and sound between two different notes. The first thing that you should understand in your interval study is what the intervals are in a major scale. Remember that the major scale is a constant in music theory. You will be using it again and again to compare and relate other topics.

Let’s break each interval down and I’ll give a small explanation of that sound, or a common use for that interval. Create your own scales. It’s awesome.

Perfect unison = Same note. That’s about as consonant as you can get, if you’re in tune.

Minor 2nd: interval of a ½ step. Very dissonant. Used in Middle Eastern or Egyptian sounding scales.

Major 2nd: interval of a whole step. 2nd tone in a major scale = consonant.

Minor 3rd: interval of 1 & ½ step. Somber, aggressive, or dark. The most universally understandable interval for these types of darker sounds.

Major 3rd: interval of 2 whole steps. Like it’s unruly brother, the minor 3rd, the major third has the same universal understanding, but only for happy, light or consonant sounds. This is probably the most used interval.

Perfect 4th: Interval of 2 whole steps and a ½ step. Majestic and consonant.

Sharp 4th/Flat 5th: Interval of 3 whole steps. Crazy dark, mysterious and twisted sounding. It’s also the “blue” note of a blues scale. Musicians used to get bad reputations for worshiping the devil because they used this interval. These days it’s all over the radio and in all kinds of music. Don’t be afraid...

Perfect 5th: 3 and ½ steps. Next to an octave or a unison, this is the most consonant and common note in music. It has a serene sound to it.

Minor 6th: 4 whole steps. This interval is about tension. Not as obvious as a minor 3rd, but still with a dark cloud over it.

Major 6th: 4 and ½ steps. Consonant like a major 3rd. used a lot in TV commercial jingles. Blue sky interval.

Minor 7th: 5 whole steps. Blues, funk, rock. All these styles use a Minor or “flat” 7th. Tense in more of a blues sense.

Major 7th: 5 and ½ steps. This note’s main purpose is to drag you to the octave or root note. I think this interval has the most momentum for this purpose. Played together it sounds very, very dissonant.

Perfect octave: 6 whole steps. Sounds pretty much the same as a perfect unison. Super consonant.

C Major scale = C D E F G A B C

Below are all of the intervals from C in a C major scale.

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|_| = Major 2nd (M2)...AKA Whole step

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|___| = Major 3rd (M3)

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|_____| = Perfect 4th (P4)

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|_______| = Perfect 5th (P5)

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|_________| = Major 6th (M6)

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|___________| = Major 7th (M7)

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
|_____________| = Perfect 8th, or Octave (P8)



©2009  Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email curt@RockHouseMethod.com


8 comments:

Stormy Maverick said...

OK... that helps a lot. I knew the numbers, but didn't know the major and minor of each number. Doncha jus' love it when you learn something new!

Kyle said...

I always wondered if a sharp 4th and flat 5th were the same interval. Well now I know

Musical Gear Tips said...

The Rock House Method...you rock! Thanks so much for this valuable guide. Kudos to ya!

Russ said...

Thanks that helps a ton. I've taught myself to play over the years and am now getting more serious with it so this helps answer a few of my questions. Thanks again!

Russ
http://www.learnfromvideo.info/guitar-lessons/

Angele Martin said...

You need to learn guitar scales because they are your key to understanding the guitar fretboard. You really need to learn your way around the notes on the guitar so that you can give your playing some depth and variety. Take the major scale for example. The do-re-mi-fa-so-la-si-do you learned when you were a kid. If you can find that scale in any key in any part of the fretboard, you have control over the music and you are not restricted to the basic open chords and the notes in the first position you learnt as novice guitarist.

Ben Gage said...

thanks, my son is just starting out, he needs to know this..

sarge1875 said...

I'm Glad this helped Ben!

learn bass guitar online said...

Learning how to play guitar is not just a simple one. There so many steps that you should learn first before you could be a professional guitarist. Some do enroll in music classes to enhance more their talent on this field.