So, the thing is, I would like to learn music theory and I found this article which seems good for beginners:
``http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learning_music_theory_the_beginning.html``

Now, I'm stuck at the intervals table (chapter 2.1), I have couple of questions and hope you could help me.

1. How can I write that table in a different key (ex. in key of A), I have tried but it's really confusing since there is different space between notes and I'm pretty sure I can't just change the order of notes. Can someone clarify that for me and if it's not too much trouble could someone write the whole table in key of A?

2. Same table, but I don't get diminished seventh (Bbb), not sure what note is that, I think it's the same note as A because it's B lowered by 2 half-steps (one whole step), and if so why would we even write it and need it. And why other intervals which aren't perfect don't have diminished (ex. third interval)

All in all, if someone could please write that table in a different key (ex. in A) I'm sure i would understand it much better. Thanks.
The way that chart is written looks slightly confusing (especially if you're a beginner).

You should really start of with the major scale. C major is a good start:

``````
1-2-3-4-5-6-7
C-D-E-F-G-A-B``````

The numbers above the notes there are scale degrees. In the major scale you have these intervals:

Unison (essentially two notes the same played together)
Major Second
Major Third
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Major 6th
Major 7th
Octave (the same note as the first, but 12 frets higher).

Then the pattern starts again. Notice how the intervals are either "major" (i.e. from the major scale) or "perfect" (neither major or minor).

Now, if you flatten a "major" interval (any of the above with the word "major" in), you get a "minor" interval. If you flatten a minor interval, it becomes a "diminished" interval.

However, the notes have to keep the same letter names. For example, in the scale above, the distance from C to E is a major third (first to third note of the major scale). If you flatten this, you get C to Eb- a minor third.

If you then flatten this again, you'd technically get a diminished third- C to Ebb. The Ebb would be played on the same fret as a D note, but because you're calling it a diminished third, it has to be "Ebb".

Also, if you sharpen a "major" interval, you get an "augmented" interval. For example, if I sharpen the "E" in the example above, I get E#. So, C to E# is an augmented third.

E# is exactly the same note as F when you play it, but C to F is a perfect fourth (pretty much just because of how you've written it).

The numbers, in all these cases, count the number of letters you go through. I.E. C to E is three letters (C, D and E) therefore it has to be called some kind of third- no matter what. It's one of those seemingly strange technicalities.

If you flatten a "perfect" interval, you just go straight to calling it "diminished", and if you sharpen a "perfect" interval, you go straight to calling it "augmented". There is no "minor fourth" or "major 5th".

I hope that makes sense. So the "diminished 7th" you're asking about is a seventh because it's C to B (C D E F G A B- seven letters, a SEVENTH), and it's diminished because you've flattened it twice (B is a major 7th, Bb a minor 7th, and Bbb a diminished 7th). If you were to write it as "A", you then have "C to A", which is only six letters (C D E F G A) and is therefore a "major 6th" rather than a "diminished 7th".

It's a point that confuses a lot of people, but it makes much more sense this way when you get deeper into music theory.
Last edited by chainsawguitar at Feb 13, 2013,
Quote by GNR, ACDC

1. How can I write that table in a different key (ex. in key of A), I have tried but it's really confusing since there is different space between notes and I'm pretty sure I can't just change the order of notes.

Write it out so I can see where your mistakes are, the we'll take it from there...
Thank you very much for this explanation, it is pretty much how i understood intervals but then got confused by that table.

Just to complicate a thing little more:
so does this mean that every major interval must have 4 "stages" (don't know how to call it): diminished, minor, major and augmented
and that every perfect interval must have 3 "stages": diminished, perfect and augmented?

or is it optional and have some rule by some have and some don't have all the "stages"?

Again in this question I'm referring to the table in which some are written and some are not, so I'm guessing as the answer to my question is that all intervals must have all "stages" but in that confusing table they are just not shown all, right?

Just be familiar with how a given interval can change depending on whether you raise it or lower it by a diatonic or chromatic semitone.

A diatonic semitone is one where two notes a semitone apart are assigned adjacent letter names. Such as A and Bb.

A chromatic semitone is one where two notes a semitone apart share the same letter name. A and A♯.
So, here is my attempt of the intervals table in a key of A, here is the full table, in which I wrote every single interval, is it ok?

And here is the same table where I just removed "unnecessary" intervals, is it ok too?

I only have one more question, what about unison and octave intervals, can they be diminished and augmented ?
Last edited by GNR, ACDC at Feb 13, 2013,
From A, a diminished 3rd would be Cb. A minor 3rd would be C, and a major 3rd would be C sharp.
I think I got it now, so would this be correct table?

and one more question that's left unanswered, what about unison and octave intervals, can they be diminished and augmented ?
Yeah that's all spot on, well done.

You can get augmented unison's. But it's all semantics and not worth it.

The important part is that you understand the fundamentals... and you do, so that's good.
Ah finally

Thanks, now it's time to move to the next chapters.
Quote by GNR, ACDC

so does this mean that every major interval must have 4 "stages" (don't know how to call it): diminished, minor, major and augmented
and that every perfect interval must have 3 "stages": diminished, perfect and augmented?

Yes, that's pretty much it.

No problem
Quote by chainsawguitar
Now, if you flatten a "major" interval (any of the above with the word "major" in), you get a "minor" interval. If you flatten a minor interval, it becomes a "diminished" interval.

However, the notes have to keep the same letter names. For example, in the scale above, the distance from C to E is a major third (first to third note of the major scale). If you flatten this, you get C to Eb- a minor third.

If you then flatten this again, you'd technically get a diminished third- C to Ebb. The Ebb would be played on the same fret as a D note, but because you're calling it a diminished third, it has to be "Ebb".

Also, if you sharpen a "major" interval, you get an "augmented" interval. For example, if I sharpen the "E" in the example above, I get E#. So, C to E# is an augmented third.

E# is exactly the same note as F when you play it, but C to F is a perfect fourth (pretty much just because of how you've written it).

.

I'm learning theory too and I have a question:

1. What is the PURPOSE of calling the flattened minor third -- C to Ebb -- a diminished third, when it's the same as C to D ... when it's still just a major second? (What is the purpose of diminishing a minor third and calling it a diminished third when it's the same as a major second?)

2. And the same with the second example. If you sharpen a major third and you get an augmented third ... but it's the same as being a perfect fourth? C to E# is the same as C to F. What's the whole point of calling it an augmented third when it's a perfect fourth?

Is there any practical aspect to any of this, or just semantics?

Last edited by rutle_me_this at Feb 14, 2013,
1. What is the PURPOSE of calling the flattened minor third -- C to Ebb -- a diminished third, when it's the same as C to D ... when it's still just a major second? (What is the purpose of diminishing a minor third and calling it a diminished third when it's the same as a major second?)

At it's most bascic, it's b/c of the letters. C to E is 3 letters.

The diminished 3rd really becomes useful when used in conjunction with augmented 6th chords to create chromatic motion. An augmented 6th inverted is diminished 3rd.
Quote by rutle_me_this

Is there any practical aspect to any of this, or just semantics?

Partly, it is just semantics...but then it has practical uses, too.

I could go into the whole reasoning involving different systems of temperament (and why F# and Gb are not the same note, for example, and how a diminished third and a major second are two completely different intervals), but I think that's way too complicated for here.

Mostly, it makes a lot more sense when these things are written in standard notation. So, if you write a C and an E, or a C and an Eb (a major or minor third) the notes will have one space (or line) in between them on the stave and will LOOK like some kind of third. Much clearer than putting a C and D#!

Most of the time, this way just makes things a bit clearer (and it's technically more accurate, but- as I said- I'm not going into the whole complicated physics of that...).

You're pretty much right, though- I can't think of a situation in which you'd need to use a diminished third, but it does exist in theory.