Im having some troubles with intervals. When identifying intervals, do you have to absolutely remember every single semi-tone that makes up an interval, or is there a way of calculating intervals that saves time.

For Example, I understand that a A to a G would be a 7th. Assuming we're in the Key of C, how would i figure out whether this is a major, or minor without memorizing the amount of semi tones that make a major 7th, or minor 7th interval?
There's not much beyond just knowing that A-G is a minor seventh. I don't recommend trying to count out half steps every time you want to know an interval. If you drill intervals for a little bit you will have no problems.
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by jazz_rock_feel
There's not much beyond just knowing that A-G is a minor seventh. I don't recommend trying to count out half steps every time you want to know an interval. If you drill intervals for a little bit you will have no problems.

this. A to G is a m7, regardless of the key you're in.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
There's not much beyond just knowing that A-G is a minor seventh. I don't recommend trying to count out half steps every time you want to know an interval. If you drill intervals for a little bit you will have no problems.

Pretty much this. I just practiced and practiced until I got it right - granted I was taught this at school so I HAD to know it

I have no idea what you're going on about with the semi-tones and what-not, but this is how I was taught it. It may of be some use to you since I'm not sure how much of intervals you understand:

Lets do A - G#:

First count the distance: a 7th - great!
Now always think in the key of the bottom note - forget what's happening around it if you're looking at it in the context of a piece. For this we need to know what the key of A major consists of in terms of sharps or flats.
A major scale: A B C# D E F# G# A
so G# is in key with A major.
So we can deduce that it's a major 7th since the G# fits in perfectly with the A major scale

Now for A - G:

G is not in key with A major - but G# is. Notice that the G# was flattened once to become G natural.
So we can deduce the A - G is a minor 7th.

A - Gb:

So if A - G was a minor 7th...what happens when you flatten the G?
It becomes a diminished interval!
So A - Gb is a diminished 7th.

For A - Gbb:

I have only come across this like twice ever - but it may be handy to know.
A - Gb is a diminished 7th, so flattening the Gb further to make it Gbb (G double flat) will create a doubly diminished 7th.

A - Gx:

So we had A - G# as a major 7th. If you sharpen the top note of a major interval it becomes an augmented interval.
so A - Gx (G double sharp) is an augmented 7th.

That's pretty much it - if that made any sense.
In summary:

use the major key of the bottom note as your centre.

[doubly diminished] < diminished < minor < major > augmented

also for 4th and 5th intervals - there's no such things as a major 4th or a major 5th, it's a perfect 4th and a perfect 5th. Also, minor 4th and minor 5th don't exist either.
sharpening the top note will make the interval augmented while flattening it will make it diminished:

diminished < perfect >augmented
Last edited by UnmagicMushroom at Nov 5, 2011,
Memorize your key signatures AND memorize your scales. I basically just know that A - G is withing the A major scale. I know that A to G# is a major 7th because of both key signatures and my understanding of all major scales and knowing that when a major interval is lowered by a semitone it becomes a minor interval.

If lowering by a semitone:
Major goes to Minor

Perfect goes to Diminished

If lifting by a semitone
Major goes to Augmented

Perfect goes to Augmented.
Quote by Dewy141
For Example, I understand that a A to a G would be a 7th. Assuming we're in the Key of C, how would i figure out whether this is a major, or minor without memorizing the amount of semi tones that make a major 7th, or minor 7th interval?

As everyone's said, it's most effective to "just know" the intervals. I remember that when I was learning about intervals, I'd just mentally quiz myself all the time until it became natural to know what intervals are what. Like most everything else people learn, it's simply a matter of repetition.

As far as key signatures go, don't focus on the key of the piece. Focus instead on the major scale derived from the root note of the given interval, as it's that which gives the interval its quality and size.
Quote by :-D
As far as key signatures go, don't focus on the key of the piece. Focus instead on the major scale derived from the root note of the given interval, as it's that which gives the interval its quality and size.

With this being said, remember that sharps and flats last for the entire bar.

I've been caught out a few times, my class teacher REALLY liked to test us.
^ TS, this is a good way of doing it. When intervals are inverted, they always... always add up to 9, and the quality of the interval changes also. The only exceptions are perfect intervals which always remain perfect.
Good ole' pattern knowledge (of your basic maj/min) never hurt...

My Gear: (That I actually use)

ESP Edwards E-CY-165 CTM
Vox Saturator
Vox Tonelab LE
Jim Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
You'd come close to seeing something like that in the following progression in the key of A# Minor, using notes from the A# Harmonic Minor Scale:

V - bII7/III - III - V - i.

With voicing's that emphasize the high voice... like this.
``````------------
-10-10-9--9-9
-8--7--6--8-6
-10-10-10-7-8
-8--9--8--8-8
-------------``````
Last edited by mdc at Nov 6, 2011,
Quote by Omega Cluster
Doesn't A-Gx make an octave, instead of an augmented 7th?

It will sound the same as an octave, but when you're checking intervals, look to the name of the note. Since the top note is based on a G, it could never be an octave, since the only thing that would be an octave away from an A is another A. Since you see a G, the interval has to be labeled some sort of seventh even though it won't sound that way.
http://www.musictheory.net/exercises

check out interval identification. i try to do them from time to time on my smartphone. (when im going to the bathroom, or waiting for something.)
Blues, classical, metal. Who says you cant love all 3?
Im really glad i asked, thanks a lot for the tips.I never knew to use the key signature or major scale of the bottom note of the interval to help you determine the interval. It might seem like common sense to most of you guys but it wasn't for me. Thanks.
I can't believe how straightforward this seems now. Intervals were really giving me trouble.
Last edited by Dewy141 at Nov 7, 2011,
Quote by Dewy141
Im having some troubles with intervals. When identifying intervals, do you have to absolutely remember every single semi-tone that makes up an interval, or is there a way of calculating intervals that saves time.

For Example, I understand that a A to a G would be a 7th. Assuming we're in the Key of C, how would i figure out whether this is a major, or minor without memorizing the amount of semi tones that make a major 7th, or minor 7th interval?

This is how I would recommend approaching it:

- First learn the intervals as they exist in the Major scale between the root and the various scale steps. as shown below...

^ using this as a reference point makes it easy to learn and memorize all of the other intervals as shown here.....

Hope that helps!
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 7, 2011,