#1
Okay, so intervals in music are the distance in pitch between two notes, with the lower note counted as one. My question is why do intervals seem to not factor in whole steps and half steps, and are based seemingly solely on their position on the staff. As an example, the 4th of C is F.

I would have assumed this to mean the distance in pitch between these notes is 4 whole steps of something along those lines, but it apperently doesn't. Apparently, intervals are made based on the between the two notes on the staff. Is this true?

If it is true, do natural 1st always result in the other intervals being natural? Do flats and sharps on the 1st affect the accidentals on the other intervals?
Last edited by naturalcore at Mar 24, 2009,
#2
Well, the distance from each other on the staff just gives you the interval quantity. The actual amount of half steps gives you the quality of the note. The fourth of C if F, but it could be a diminished fourth, a perfect fourth, or an augmented fourth depending on the tones between.

If it is true, do natural 1st always result in the other intervals being natural? Do flats and sharps on the 1st affect the accidentals on the other intervals?


Yes and no. As for the C major scale (or A minor scale), there are no sharps or flats. But other scales that start with a natural note will have a sharp or flat (looks at the circle of fifths).

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Last edited by MetalGS3SE at Mar 24, 2009,
#3
A perfect fourth is always a set amount of semitones above the starting note (five in this case), as are all intervals. The reason it is called a 4th (which in this case is short for perfect 4th) is that it is the fourth note of the C major scale.

This might help you :
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/intervals.html
#4
Quote by 12345abcd3
A perfect fourth is always a set amount of semitones above the starting note (five in this case), as are all intervals. The reason it is called a 4th (which in this case is short for perfect 4th) is that it is the fourth note of the C major scale.

This might help you :
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/intervals.html

The reason why a perfect fourth is a perfect fourth is because it has 5 semitones between two notes, so yeah. But while the note on the fourth scale degree can be considered a Fourth away from the scale tonic (in a major scale), that is not the reason why it's a perfect fourth.

If it is true, do natural 1st always result in the other intervals being natural? Do flats and sharps on the 1st affect the accidentals on the other intervals?

No. Having an accidental on the first note on the interval affects the quality of the interval. For instance:

C to G is a Perfect fifth
Cb to G is an Augmented fifth
C# to G is a diminished fifth

C to G# is an Augmented fifth
C to Gb is a diminished fifth

C# to G# is a perfect fifth
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Last edited by SilverDark at Mar 24, 2009,
#5
Quote by 12345abcd3
A perfect fourth is always a set amount of semitones above the starting note (five in this case), as are all intervals. The reason it is called a 4th (which in this case is short for perfect 4th) is that it is the fourth note of the C major scale.

This might help you :
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/intervals.html

i liked that article, helped me out earlier.

but yeah look at the circle of fifths, as an A major scale starts on a natural note and contains three sharps i believe (correct me if im wrong)
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#6
Quote by naturalcore
My question is why do intervals seem to not factor in whole steps and half steps, and are based seemingly solely on their position on the staff. As an example, the 4th of C is F.
First of all, it's a convention, and one than not everyone sticks to. It happens to be a relatively easy way to teach western music and so it's predominant in "our" music theory.

I would have assumed this to mean the distance in pitch between these notes is 4 whole steps of something along those lines, but it apperently doesn't.
Well, that's another way to describe distances between pitches. But since there are important relationships between certain notes, there is a need for a system of intervals. Much like it makes sense to categorise vehicules in cars, bikes, trucks, planes and so on, instead of by their cost or the maximum speed they can reach.

Apparently, intervals are made based on the between the two notes on the staff. Is this true?
An interval is the name of the relation of one note to another. Two notes at the same pitch have an interval too, called the unisono. It has a distance of zero.

If it is true, do natural 1st always result in the other intervals being natural? Do flats and sharps on the 1st affect the accidentals on the other intervals?
The name of the interval is determined by how many notes with a different name lie within the two given notes. So, in C major (no signature on the staff) C - E is called a third. There are three notes in that interval: C, D and E. It is also a major third because there are two whole tones between them (or four semitones).

C - E flat is still a third, but a minor third at that. Either because you decide to lower your E half a tone in your composition, or because you are writing in a key that has at least two flats in the signature (B and E). There are one and a half tones or three semitones between the notes, which makes it a minor third.
#7
Quote by Colton165
i liked that article, helped me out earlier.

but yeah look at the circle of fifths, as an A major scale starts on a natural note and contains three sharps i believe (correct me if im wrong)

I just saw your comment and I thought you would be more likely to see it if I replied here.

"so is a minor 3rd the same thing as an inverted power chord w/o octave?"
If you invert the interval in a power chord, a perfect 5th, you get a perfect fourth.

A good rule to know is when inverted:
Perfect goes to Perfect (C to F is a P4, F to C is a P5)
Major goes to minor (C to A is a M6, A to C is a m3)
Minor goes to major (A to C-m3, C to A-M6)
Diminished goes to Augmented (A to Gb-dim7, Gb to A- aug2)
Augmented goes to Diminished (Gb to A-aug2, A to Gb-dim7)
and (to be used in conjunction with above rules)
2 goes to 7
3 goes to 6
4 goes to 5

If in any doubt you can always just work out the interval the way I did in the article just starting on the other note.
#8
yeah i figured that out the day i posted that comment later.

thanks though!
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Quote by OMMad
i've always found pop to be harder to play than metal... especially shred metal... it's just really fast tremolo picking and the occasional palm mute... and the only chords you have to worry about are power chords...