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 Crazyedd123 09-24-2012 09:34 PM

Minor 2nd

Why do we refer to the half-tone interval as a minor 2nd when it doesn't actually appear in the major or minor scale?
As in, both the major and minor scale have a minor 2nd as the first interval. There's no minor 2nd unless you base it from a mode.

I mean, it's not like I don't know a bit about scales and theory, but it just seems like an odd thing to do.

 rockingamer2 09-24-2012 09:44 PM

C is the tonic, D is the (major) second. If we make it flat, Db, then we have a minor second.

Who cares if it doesn't appear in a scale? Scales are made up of intervals, intervals don't come from scales.

 Hail 09-24-2012 09:53 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by rockingamer2 C is the tonic, D is the (major) second. If we make it flat, Db, then we have a minor second. Who cares if it doesn't appear in a scale? Scales are made up of intervals, intervals don't come from scales.

it's a legitimate question, since variable qualities of intervals (major or minor) typically are used in the appropriate scale, but the 2nd interval doesn't. if you're just getting into intervals, it can be confusing.

just consider it a nomenclatural anomaly, TS. you can say diminished 2nd as well - this helps a lot when going from scales->intervals in a curriculum - but it's just one of those things.

 Crazyedd123 09-24-2012 09:54 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by rockingamer2 C is the tonic, D is the (major) second. If we make it flat, Db, then we have a minor second. Who cares if it doesn't appear in a scale? Scales are made up of intervals, intervals don't come from scales.

I know, but it's just that you have stuff like Aug. 4th and Dim. 5th.

I just wonder why they didn't call the minor 2nd a diminished 2nd instead :shrug:

 food1010 09-24-2012 10:08 PM

I don't know the formal reason, but my guess is that perfect 4ths and 5ths give a scale/chord a certain sense of stability. The minor 2nd doesn't really compromise any stability (or at least not in the same way as a diminished fifth or augmented fourth).

 Captaincranky 09-24-2012 10:09 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Crazyedd123 I know, but it's just that you have stuff like Aug. 4th and Dim. 5th. I just wonder why they didn't call the minor 2nd a diminished 2nd instead :shrug:

At its most basic, a musical interval, is a simple measure of distance. So, a "minor 2nd", is a semitone differential between notes.

It doesn't matter where it happens. For example, a "minor 3rd" is 3 semi tones.

The fact that a "diminished chord", is a series of "stacked minor 3rds", bears this out. It need not relate to scale degree.

 Macabre_Turtle 09-24-2012 10:09 PM

I've wondered this too. We refer to the notes that determine minor or major scales as minor or major intervals, and we refer to notes that don't as perfect, diminished, or augmented. With the only exception being the 2nd, where instinctively I would use the terms perfect 2nd and diminished 2nd, but we actually call it major 2nd and minor 2nd. :shrug:

 jazz_rock_feel 09-24-2012 10:35 PM

I've never heard a really solid answer to this, but I can tell you that after a while it becomes intuitive to think of it that way. It becomes easier when you realize that interval names aren't derived from scales and that fourths/fifths aren't called perfect because they appear in both the major and minor scales.

 Crazyedd123 09-24-2012 10:41 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel I've never heard a really solid answer to this, but I can tell you that after a while it becomes intuitive to think of it that way. It becomes easier when you realize that interval names aren't derived from scales and that fourths/fifths aren't called perfect because they appear in both the major and minor scales.

Hmm, so why are 4ths and 5ths referred to as perfect?
I can understand the octave being referred to as perfect because it it the exact pitch of the root note, only an octave higher.

 jazz_rock_feel 09-24-2012 10:48 PM

It's more historical. having to do with what was considered "perfectly consonant." Basically, the physics behind it is that fourths and fifths (and octaves) have very simple ratios, in the case of a fourth 5:4 and a fifth 3:2 (the octave is obviously 2:1). That makes them sound arguably consonant and in the ye olde days they were the only harmonic intervals accepted as perfectly consonant, 3rds and 6ths were called (any guesses?) imperfect consonances.

 :-D 09-24-2012 10:54 PM

i know

 Hail 09-24-2012 10:55 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by food1010 The minor 2nd doesn't really compromise any stability (or at least not in the same way as a diminished fifth or augmented fourth).

it does, however, compromise stability in the sense that a major 7th does. the instability caused with the tritone is because of the interval being the average of an octave, while that same relationship is shared (to some extent) with the major 7th and minor 2nd. their relation to the tonic, without further context, can cause confusion - is it C with a major 7th or B with a minor 2?

 deHufter 09-25-2012 12:31 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Crazyedd123 I know, but it's just that you have stuff like Aug. 4th and Dim. 5th. I just wonder why they didn't call the minor 2nd a diminished 2nd instead :shrug:

Cause a diminished second is the enharmonical equivalant of a unisone.

B to Cb is a diminished second.

 Captaincranky 09-25-2012 12:56 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Hail it does, however, compromise stability in the sense that a major 7th does. the instability caused with the tritone is because of the interval being the average of an octave, while that same relationship is shared (to some extent) with the major 7th and minor 2nd. their relation to the tonic, without further context, can cause confusion - is it C with a major 7th or B with a minor 2?
The same paradox exists between a Isus2 and the corresponding Vsus4. (And in other places as well, m7 or M6).

However, I find it fascinating, that nobody can accept the fact that idiomatic expressions can exist within musical terminology. Everything modern musicians describe relates back to the tonal structure of the major scale. And yes, even musicians who campaign against learning scales indulge in that referencing methodology.

It gives one pause to wonder if that is a hypocrisy or a conceit. But, here again, one tends to get bogged down in terminology.... :rolleyes:

So, suppose we say that the term, "minor 2nd" actually means "flat 2nd", which would attach back to the major scale structure.

At the end of the day, I prefer calling that interval a "Phrygian 2nd", as that's where I find it's most useful. That said, the term "Phrygian 2nd", attaches to it's scalar nature, and not to it's harmonic.

 20Tigers 09-25-2012 01:51 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Crazyedd123 Why do we refer to the half-tone interval as a minor 2nd when it doesn't actually appear in the major or minor scale? As in, both the major and minor scale have a minor 2nd as the first interval. There's no minor 2nd unless you base it from a mode. I mean, it's not like I don't know a bit about scales and theory, but it just seems like an odd thing to do.

There are 12 possible notes. Not all of them are in the major scale.

However the major scale is the reference point for naming most things and this is true for intervals. It doesn't mean those things have to be in the major scale it is just how they relate to the major scale that we are noting when we name it.

So we have a Major scale consisting of all major and perfect intervals - when measured from the root. But there are also intervals between the different intervals between the various scale degrees.

There are minor second intervals in the major and minor scales. If we look at the major scale then going from the Major third to the Perfect Fourth is an interval of a minor second.

In C major this is from E to F. It's some kind of second because E is one and F is two. It is one semitone and so E to F is a minor second.

Similarly in the key of Ab the third is C the fourth is Db the interval between the major third (C) and the Perfect Fourth (Db) is a minor second (b2).

 Captaincranky 09-25-2012 01:58 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by 20Tigers There are minor second intervals in the major and minor scales. If we look at the major scale then going from the Major third to the Perfect Fourth is an interval of a minor second. In C major this is from E to F. It's some kind of second because E is one and F is two. It is one semitone and so E to F is a minor second.
Keep in mind I attached a definition of, "an interval", being, "a musical distance", not a scale degree several posts ago.

With that aside, referring to the C major scale; verily thou hast lauded E to F, yet slighted B to C. Surely, you would agree that, "all minor seconds are created equal, in the eyes of man, the law, and God..... ;) :haha:

 20Tigers 09-25-2012 05:58 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Captaincranky Keep in mind I attached a definition of, "an interval", being, "a musical distance", not a scale degree several posts ago. With that aside, referring to the C major scale; verily thou hast lauded E to F, yet slighted B to C. Surely, you would agree that, "all minor seconds are created equal, in the eyes of man, the law, and God..... ;) :haha:

alas no slight was intended.

And I agree an interval is a musical distance not a scale degree which fits with what I said. The distance between the third scale degree and the fourth scale degree is not itself a scale degree it is a musical distance.

As you say intervals are not scale degrees they are musical distances. But they are named in relation to the scale degrees of the major scale. But that is all.

 mdc 09-25-2012 06:11 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Crazyedd123 Why do we refer to the half-tone interval as a minor 2nd when it doesn't actually appear in the major or minor scale? As in, both the major and minor scale have a minor 2nd as the first interval. There's no minor 2nd unless you base it from a mode. I mean, it's not like I don't know a bit about scales and theory, but it just seems like an odd thing to do.

If you don't like it then use augmented unison instead.

 Dodeka 09-25-2012 04:39 PM

It makes enough sense to me. Minor just means narrower. The minor second is the narrower of the seconds occuring between consecutive diatonic notes. It's the necessity of referring to fourths and fifths as perfect that I question, but they are the most fundamental after the octave.

In other tuning schemes, there are even major and minor whole tones, but that's a different topic.

 J-Dawg158 09-25-2012 04:46 PM

My 2¢:

Everyone seems to be in agreement that the 7th interval should be divided into major/minor. Well the 2nd interval is the inversion of a 7th, so doesn't it stand to reason that it should correspond to the same major/minor division?

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