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Blog #7: Today let's shift gears and look at the intervals -2nd, 3rd, 4th.

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at Demetri4.com.

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog: http://bit.ly/3BwUwFN


Blog #7 Intervals: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

Objectives: 1. Understand the steps to find an interval. 2. Recognize the different sizes of intervals. 3. Recognize the different qualities of intervals.

4. Use the Circle to navigate and find intervals.

Today let's shift gears and look at intervals. Interval: The distance between two notes measured from the lower to the higher. The simplest way to explain intervals is to use the Natural Note Circle in your workbook. There are two parts to measuring intervals. First, we ask how many letters (size) and then how many dots (quality) are between the two notes. Today, starting with the smallest interval (2nd), we will look at the distances between the natural notes. The Natural notes are C, D, E, F, G, A, and B.

Parts of the interval: 1. Size: To identify the interval's size, we ask how many letters are from the lower note to the higher. They are always measured clockwise from the lower one to the higher one. Including both letters in the count will give us the interval size (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.). Count the letters outside the Natural Note Circle to find the size of the interval. 2. Quality: We must then recognize the quality of the interval. The quality can be somewhat complicated, and the Natural Note Circle will make this much easier to visualize. To find the interval quality count the number of dots (half steps) between the two notes. Do not count the lower note's dot. The same note is the same dot.


Second interval: Let's look at the distance from one note to the second. Count the lower note as one. Moving clockwise, count the higher note as two. We get C-D = 2nd, • D-E=2nd, E-F=2nd, F-G=2nd, G-A= 2nd, A-B = 2nd, and B-C = 2nd.

Quality of second intervals:

  • The Major 2nd (M2) is one whole step (2 dots).

  • The minor 2nd (m2) is a 1/2 step (1 dot).


Working with the Natural Note Circle starting on C, we can now explore the quality of each of the 2nd intervals in the Major scale. For example,

• C-D is one whole step (M2)

• D-E is one whole step (M2)

• E-F is a 1/2 step (m2) • F-G is one whole step (M2) • G-A is one whole step (M2)

• A-B is one whole step (M2)

• B-C is a 1/2 step (m2).

There are two qualities of 2nd intervals in the Major scale --Major 2nd (M2) and minor 2nd (m2).

Third interval: Let's look at the distance from one note to the third (skip a note). Count the lower note as one. Moving clockwise, count the first note we skip as two and the higher note as three. We get C-E = 3rd, • D-F=3rd, E-G=3rd, F-A=3rd, G-B=3rd, A-C=3rd, andB-D=3rd.

Quality of third intervals:

  • The Major 3rd (M3) is two whole steps (4 dots).

  • The minor 3rd (m3) is one whole step + a 1/2 step (3 dots).



Working with the Circle starting on C, we can now explore the quality of each of the 3rd intervals in the Major scale. For example, • C-E is two whole steps (M3) • D-F is one whole step + a 1/2 step (m3)

• E-G is a 1/2 step + one whole step (m3)

• F-A is two whole steps (M3) • G-B is two whole steps (M3) • A-C is one whole step + a 1/2 step (m3)

• B-D is a 1/2 step + one whole step (m3).

There are two qualities of 3rd intervals in the Major scale --Major 3rd (M3) and minor 3rd (m3). Ok, let's do one more today.

Fourth interval: Let's look at the distance from one note to the fourth (skip two notes). Count the lower note as one. Moving clockwise, count the first that we skip as two, the second as three, and the higher note as four. We get C-F = 4th, • D-G=4th, E-A=4th, F-B=4th, G-C=4th, A-D=4th, and B-E=4th.

Quality of fourth intervals: • The Perfect 4th (P4) is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (5 dots).

• The Augmented fourth (Aug4) is three whole steps (6 dots)

When talking about interval quality: The fourth, fifth, and octave intervals are perfect. However, the second, third, sixth, and seventh intervals could be better; they have Major or minor qualities. In addition, all intervals can be Augmented or diminished.

Working with the Circle starting on C, we can now explore the quality of each of the 4th intervals in the Major scale. For example, • C-F is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4)

• D-G is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4)

• E-A is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4)

• F-B is three whole steps (Aug4) • G-C is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4)

• A-D is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4)

• B-E is two whole steps + a 1/2 step (P4).

There are two qualities of 4th intervals in the Major scale --Perfect 4th (P4) and Augmented 4th (Aug4).

Augmented interval: An Augmented interval extends a 1/2 step beyond a Perfect or Major.


Let's do a quick review. First, count the letters clockwise from the lower note to the higher one. The number of letters will give you the size of the interval. When counting the letters, include both. Next, count the dots on the Natural Note Circle. The number of dots will give you the quality of the interval. When counting the dots, remember to count the first dot as zero.

Have fun with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th intervals.

Demetri Next, Blog #8: Intervals: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at Demetri4.com.

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog: http://bit.ly/3BwUwFN


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