Hey I'm trying to get a firm grasp on intervals and recognizing them. I understand all the half-steps behind them and the basic stuff, but I can't write them out without consulting a keyboard first and counting half steps.

Are there maybe any tricks to just looking at a staff and telling how many halfsteps are between the notes or something? I'm kind of at a loss here.
When you have the chance to hear them you can look for some momorizing melodies with the intervall at the beginning. For example to hear a 5th I have the beginning of the Star Wars title melody in my head.

For just seeing the note I thing it's just practising to recognize the intervals faster.
forget halfsteps. That is completely inconvenient and pointless time consumerism. (I don't think that is quite the right way of sying it, but you get my jist)

count how many lines/spaces there are. if there are - for example - 6, the interval is a sixth of some kind. Then, is the top note in the major scale of the bottom note. no? how far away is it?

+1 semitone = Augmented
-1 semitone = minor
-2 semitone = diminished

this is the way I learnt it and its pretty fast. Just know your key signatures and you're done.
Quote by mdwallin
forget halfsteps. That is completely inconvenient and pointless time consumerism. (I don't think that is quite the right way of sying it, but you get my jist)

count how many lines/spaces there are. if there are - for example - 6, the interval is a sixth of some kind. Then, is the top note in the major scale of the bottom note. no? how far away is it?

+1 semitone = Augmented
-1 semitone = minor
-2 semitone = diminished

this is the way I learnt it and its pretty fast. Just know your key signatures and you're done.

I don't think that -2 semitones is a diminished. But what do i know.
"I wanna see movies of my dreams"
Learn to recognize the sounds the intervals make and learn what notes they consist of in every key. I have never had to go ok, major sixth, how many halfsteps is that.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
you get better by repetition. having to think about them a lot. don't count half steps. try for a bigger interval while you are learning them. instead of what is a major 6th. you should know the 5th probably so think a P5 and then a M2 instead of counting up 6. like F. the 5th is a C so then count two half steps from that. if you do this enough you will just know it and someone will say what is up a M6 from F and you'll know it's a D. you can also learn to invert intervals from the big ones. like instead of knowing what a major 7th is, it's really a descending minor 2nd so in F if someone asked what is up a M7 you can just go down a half step and know it's a E. you do have to do some counting when you are first learning them but try to eventually get away from that.
Earth without ART, is just Eh...
Quote by guitarplaya322
I don't think that -2 semitones is a diminished. But what do i know.

-2 semitones below a major interval (and -1 semitone below a perfect interval) is diminished.
Quote by clifforrrd
Hey I'm trying to get a firm grasp on intervals and recognizing them. I understand all the half-steps behind them and the basic stuff, but I can't write them out without consulting a keyboard first and counting half steps.

Are there maybe any tricks to just looking at a staff and telling how many halfsteps are between the notes or something? I'm kind of at a loss here.

Becoming familiar with the Interval shapes is a good idea. Of-course you want to tie this is with what they sound like.
shred is gaudy music
Quote by mdwallin
forget halfsteps. That is completely inconvenient and pointless time consumerism. (I don't think that is quite the right way of sying it, but you get my jist)

count how many lines/spaces there are. if there are - for example - 6, the interval is a sixth of some kind. Then, is the top note in the major scale of the bottom note. no? how far away is it?

"How far away is it?" Doesn't that sound like a job for those "inconvenient and pointless" semitones?
Last edited by Dodeka at Aug 3, 2009,
Intervals aren't necessarily the DISTANCE between the notes so much as the relationship between them. So don't think of a major third as four half steps, think of it as the first and third notes of a major scale.

To clarify, TS, when you say recognizing, do you mean have trouble recognizing written intervals or intervals you hear?
Quote by grampastumpy
Intervals aren't necessarily the DISTANCE between the notes so much as the relationship between them. So don't think of a major third as four half steps, think of it as the first and third notes of a major scale.

Generic interval names (inclusive scale degrees) aren't the distance between notes. It is, however, the distance between notes that determines if those otherwise generic interval names are major/minor/augmented/diminished.
Quote by grampastumpy
Intervals aren't necessarily the DISTANCE between the notes so much as the relationship between them. So don't think of a major third as four half steps, think of it as the first and third notes of a major scale.

To clarify, TS, when you say recognizing, do you mean have trouble recognizing written intervals or intervals you hear?

Recognizing written ones, I like to think I have a decent ear. I'm having trouble seeing them on the staff (theory tests for school and whatever).
Quote by Dodeka
"How far away is it?" Doesn't that sound like a job for those "inconvenient and pointless" semitones?

yes, but it is not 7 semitones, it is 1 or 2.
Quote by Dodeka
Generic interval names (inclusive scale degrees) aren't the distance between notes. It is, however, the distance between notes that determines if those otherwise generic interval names are major/minor/augmented/diminished.
I thought he was referring to having trouble hearing intervals, which is more what my advice was referring to.
Quote by clifforrrd
Recognizing written ones, I like to think I have a decent ear. I'm having trouble seeing them on the staff (theory tests for school and whatever).
Well...written intervals...don't really know what to tell you. I can only imagine doing a lot more reading in general, especially sight reading, especially on a piano, will associate intervals on paper better with intervals in your fingers and ear.
Quote by mdwallin
yes, but it is not 7 semitones, it is 1 or 2.

Um, some intervals are a difference of one or two semitones, some become minor and diminished with a change in one or two, some are seven. All of those numbers show up.

Seven semitones can be a perfect fifth, diminished sixth, double-sharp fourth, a bbbb7th, etc.

Without some kind of physical difference interval, the scale degree names are pretty meaningless.
Last edited by Dodeka at Aug 4, 2009,
Quote by Dodeka
Um, some intervals are a difference of one or two semitones, some become minor and diminished with a change in one or two, some are seven. All of those numbers show up.

Seven semitones can be a perfect fifth, diminished sixth, double-sharp fourth, a bbbb7th, etc.

Without some kind of physical difference interval, the scale degree names are pretty meaningless.