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Old 06-30-2012, 08:35 PM   #41
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Alright, here's the "long interval post", I'll try to keep it somewhat succinct as it's a simple concept once you've gained some familiarity with it. For this example, I'm just gonna work with the C major scale, since the fewer sharps and flats the better for now.

First things first, the simplest definition of an interval. For all intents and purposes, an interval simply refers to the space between two notes. There's actually a lot more to it than this, but the basic idea is that you're figuring out "distance", so to speak, between the notes in question.

There are two things to figure out when you're considering intervals, the size and the quality. I'll explain size first since it's a very simple concept; the quality is where people tend to get a little bit more confused. Size is straightforward because you're dealing only with numbers. Take the C major scale below:

C D E F G A B

As you know, there are scale degrees assigned to these notes, from 1-7 going toward the right. The easiest way to figure out the size of the interval is to simply count, so if you want to figure out what a fourth above C is, you begin on C and simply count upwards.

1. C
2. D
3. E
4. F

And there you go, it's an F. What you can also see from this is that D is a second above C, and E is a third above. If you're counting up from a different note, let's say D, you ignore that C for now and use D as your reference point. Therefore, although F is labeled "4", it's a third above D because that's what you're counting from. Try working through all of the notes of C major, counting upwards, and this'll be a little less confusing after a bit.

If you're descending, the process is quite obviously reversed. If we wanted to count down from C to F, as opposed to our previous example, we simply work backwards through the letters rather than forwards like so.

1. C
2. B
3. A
4. G
5. F

So now rather than a fourth above, it's a fifth below. If we wanted to use D descending to F (as opposed to D up to F in our last example), we'd put the D one line above the "1. C" line, and therefore your C would become a second. Counting down, the F is now a sixth away from D. You may notice something curious about these relationships as well:

C-F: fourth
F-C: fifth
4 + 5 = 9

D-F: third
F-D: sixth
3 + 6 = 9

This always holds true for pairs of intervals; when you reverse the notes in question, the opposite will be the difference between nine and the first interval. You can use this as a quick tool once you're more familiar: if you figure out that C up to B is a seventh, you'll know that in order to reach this sum of nine, the interval from C down to B is a second and so forth. It takes a bit of practice but the general concept is very straightforward.

The quality of the interval refers to the more accurate description: think of the quality as a general guide, and the quality fine tunes that generality. Words like major, minor, augmented, diminished, perfect and so forth all refer to the quality of an interval.

There are a few ways to go about this, but I'll go about the one I find the most effective. The easiest way to do this, at least in my opinion, is to familiarize yourself with the major scale and the intervals from the root of the scale. That last bit is highlighted because it's key to all this; rather than work the way I did above, in order to lay the groundwork for interval quality, we'll work with everything going up from C like so.

C major scale: C D E F G A B

C-D: major second
C-E: major third
C-F: perfect fourth
C-G: perfect fifth
C-A: major sixth
C-B: major seventh

As you can see, a major scale is built off of only major and perfect intervals; this makes it easy to keep the pattern in mind regardless of what the tonic of the scale is. Once you know this, you'll be able to obviously identify the quality of any of those intervals, so the trick occurs when one is altered. Take this example:

C-A is our major sixth. What happens when this becomes an Ab?

With C-Ab, there's one less half step between the two notes: the Ab is closer to C than A natural. Any time a major interval is shortened by a half step, it becomes a minor interval; thus, the C-Ab is a minor sixth. Note that if you wanted to alter the C to make a minor sixth, you'd have to sharpen the C since it's the bottom note; lowering it by a note brings it further away from the A natural.

Here's the general rundown of what I described above:

1. Any time a major interval is shortened by a half step, it becomes a minor interval. (C-A -> C-Ab)
2. Any time a major interval is shortened by two half steps, it becomes a diminished interval. (C-A -> C-Abb)
3. Any time a major interval is widened by a half step, it becomes an augmented interval. (C-A -> C-A#)

The only exception are perfect intervals, which you'll only deal with when looking at unisons, fourths, fifths and octaves. As we saw in our C major scale, C-F is a perfect fourth and C-G is a perfect fifth. You'll never have to use the term perfect to describe seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths. Here are the basic rules for that:

1. Any time a perfect interval is shortened by a half step, it becomes a diminished interval. (C-G -> C-Gb)
2. Any time a perfect interval is widened by a half step, it becomes an augmented interval. (C-G -> C-G#)

And that's all there really is to it. There's another shortcut too - if you'll recall the trick about the sum of nine from before, the quality simply adds another element. Here's the basic idea when reversing an interval:

major -> minor
minor -> major
augmented -> diminished
diminished -> augmented
perfect -> perfect

It looks intimidating but again it's very simple. We'll run down an example for each. Let's say we have a major third, C-E. When we reverse this, we know it becomes a sixth, based on our "sum of nine" trick from above. Based on the list above, we also know that the quality switches, as major intervals become minor when the notes are reversed. C-E is a major third, so E-C is a minor sixth.

Let's say it was a minor third, from A-C. If we reverse it so the notes are C-A, what interval do we have? (yes, answer this if you've managed to read this far, grats on that also)

If it's an augmented interval, say our augmented fourth C-F#, the reverse is again going to equal nine, and the quality reverses. So, the perfect fourth C-F# becomes the diminished fifth F#-C and vice versa. Perfect intervals don't change, so a perfect fourth C-F simply becomes a perfect fifth. The size changes, but the quality will not.

One last point is the reason I mentioned that C-F# is an augmented fourth and not an "augmented fourth/diminished fifth". Once you have the size of the interval, the quality is determined as an alteration to that size interval - it will never change the size. So if you're working with C up to F of any sort, regardless of accidentals, you are always dealing with a fourth. If you want to quickly get a sense of the size, just strip away the accidentals to deal with the most basic setup and determine it. Even if you were dealing with C####-Abbbbbbbbb, all you have to look at in order to determine the size is the letters and not the symbols. In terms of size, that whole fancy thing is simply equivalent to C-A; the sharps and flats have bearing only upon the quality, and not the size.

I think that about covers everything I thought of for now, and it's a ton to take in initially. Spend some time practicing some examples and applying this to various major scales, and let me know if you have any questions because it's no problem if you do, in fact it's expected; this is a ****ton and a half of information to wrap your head around at first.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:42 PM   #42
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^ good post
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:58 PM   #43
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C-A Maj 6th
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:58 PM   #44
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C-A Maj 6th

yep.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:03 PM   #45
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soo whats next?

Last edited by wbt1988 : 06-30-2012 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:50 PM   #46
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it's not a barking checklist, just cause you got one answer right doesn't mean you have a substantial foundation. train your ear to the intervals. being able to identify intervals aurally and functionally (and not just on paper) is going to be one of the major tenets of your understanding of tonality.


being able to point and describe is barely scratching the surface. dig deeper, and focus on questioning and fully comprehending every aspect of music you ascribed to conventions while you develop your ear. the major scale is probably the best start.


so now you can take a basic understanding of intervals and actually figure out what the beez is on the whole point of this thread.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:03 PM   #47
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I'm bookmarking this page so i can read that whenever.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:22 AM   #48
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The amount of nonsense on the first page... I don't understand... How people... Can be so wrong.... e.O
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:54 AM   #49
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"I do hereby disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to subvert the present Major Scale Establishment as settled by law within this Realm."
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:18 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by wbt1988
I have read that knowing the Major scale is the most crucial building block in understand theory.

I know the major scale contains a M m m M M m d I know its w w h w w w h. Well that seems easy enough. Is that all? Am I missing any information on the Major Scale here?

What would it mean to Subvert the Major Scale?



What does (M m m M M m d and w w h w w w h) mean
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:23 AM   #51
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its a scale formula. wwhwwwh is just whole step whole step half step etc.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:39 AM   #52
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The M m m M M m d I would guess are the chord qualities for a triad built on each scale tone.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:22 AM   #53
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Cheers, oh yeah I understand now the whole/half step, it was to early for my brain to work out, I thought the M was major, m minor and the d diminished, but It doesn't make too much sense to me at the moment because ive only just begun trying to learn the subject of intervals
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:56 AM   #54
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You are correct, M=Major, m=minor, d=diminished.

The M m m M M etc. is just shorthand for the qualities of chords built on the major scale:
For example, in C Major, we have:
(M)C
(m)Dm
(m)Em
(M)F
(M)G
(m)Am
(d)Bdim
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:43 PM   #55
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Ar yeah, I see, I have learnt that, I was getting a bit mixed up with intervals

Thanks
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:39 PM   #56
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Quote:
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Ar yeah, I see, I have learnt that, I was getting a bit mixed up with intervals

Thanks


if you're still warming up and running scale exercises, i'd definitely recommend playing your scales in triads. that is, in C major, C->E->D->F->E->G, etc.

feel free to do it in any intervals, but i find 3s particularly helpful with associating each non-root note in a scale with a quality of triad. in fact, you can just do triad runs up and down the scale, it's all good, and since you're constantly referencing the scale it's easier to remember which notes are in the confines of that scale.

that helped a lot early on for me. eventually you program yourself to know when a chord should be major or minor (or aug or dim). ofc my philosophy is anti-programming and self-sustaining your ear, but it helps to have something in there and a decent ear to deconstruct in the first place, so i still tell people to run up and down scales, 3rds, 4ths, whatever in a teaching scenario.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:40 PM   #57
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why do i bother making large posts
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:56 PM   #58
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why do i bother making large posts


to show off?

Anyways, to skilly,

Hail has the right idea, its what I did to learn what chords go where in a scale.

Just run it in intervals of a third, and you'll figure out what chords are what.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:45 PM   #59
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Quote:
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why do i bother making large posts


you sound like me before i stopped making large posts.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:51 PM   #60
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