I think this is the right place to post this, but please let me know if I'm wrong.

I'm learning about intervals right now, and I understand the names and all that. What I don't understand is what they apply to, exactly.

Say, for example, we have C major.

C D E F G A B C

Lets say I hit, in succession, C, then D, then E. D is the major second to C. But what is E? Does the mind read it as a major third, or because the previous note is D, is it a major second? My question is, are all the names based off of the root note, or the previous note?

Another question, does the direction you go ever change? So I go from C to D, a major second. Going from C to B would be a major seventh, not a minor second, right?

And lastly (as Im surely being a pain in the ass right now), what do I do with all these names? If I understand correctly, the seventh is the leading note. What can I do with that? What emotional effect does it have? What effect does the root have, and what if I don't resolve with the root?

And second lastly,

let's say I have C and G. They fit in a number of keys. Is there any action I need to take in order to make the key "known" to the listener?
firstly yes. E is a major third, just count from C
Second no, doesn't go in reverse, Dflat is a minor second
I dont no about the feeling of the seventh (its not very good ive heard) and not ending on the root not just leads you wanting more, so can be good near the end of a song.
Finally no action really, itll be known normally by the starting/finishing note.

Hope that helped...
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Quote by FFTLxx

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The interval between D and E is a major second. If you're in C and say you're going to play an E, you can say that you're going to the major third.

Going from C to the B below it would be moving a minor second. Going to the B above it would be moving a major seventh.

The major seventh is called the leading note because it pulls the listener's ear towards the tonic. Try playing any melody in C and ending it on a B - your ear will get pulled to ending it on a C. This happens to a lesser extent with the other degrees of the scale.

The overall tonality of a piece will be determined by the chords you choose, how you phrase your melodies etc. The method they teach you at school for establishing a key is to put in a V - I progression (say, G7 - C if you're in C major).
Quote by Ninjamonkey767
I think this is the right place to post this, but please let me know if I'm wrong.

I'm learning about intervals right now, and I understand the names and all that. What I don't understand is what they apply to, exactly.

Say, for example, we have C major.

C D E F G A B C

Lets say I hit, in succession, C, then D, then E. D is the major second to C. But what is E? Does the mind read it as a major third, or because the previous note is D, is it a major second? My question is, are all the names based off of the root note, or the previous note?

C to E is a major 3rd interval. Count up: C, 1, D, 2, E, 3.
D to E is a major 2nd interval. Count up: D, 1, E, 2

It's a matter of perspective. See, an interval is the distance between 2 notes. The first note is the reference point.

For your example, if you were saying you were talking about the C major scale and asking what the intervals of D and E were, it would be major 2nd and major 3rd because you're wondering the distance from C.

Another question, does the direction you go ever change? So I go from C to D, a major second. Going from C to B would be a major seventh, not a minor second, right?

Does the pitch go higher or lower? That's what decides. C can go up to B or down to B. If it goes up, it's a major 7th, if it goes down, it's a minor 2nd.

And lastly (as Im surely being a pain in the ass right now), what do I do with all these names? If I understand correctly, the seventh is the leading note. What can I do with that? What emotional effect does it have? What effect does the root have, and what if I don't resolve with the root?

The 7th IS the leading tone The leading tone is called "LEADing tone" because it leads up a half step (minor 2nd) to the tonic/root. It's a very dissonant note (it needs to resolve) so it goes up to the most stable tone, the root.

And second lastly,

let's say I have C and G. They fit in a number of keys. Is there any action I need to take in order to make the key "known" to the listener?

If you write a song from just 2 notes, you're fucking weird first off. Secondly, I assume it'd be up to you. If it resolved to the note C, call it "Cx (as long as G fits in the key, too) and if it resolves to G, call it G x (as long as C fits in the key too)

Note: I'm pretty high so hopefully this post was coherent and helped out. Sometimes I mix really stupid things up when I'm not in my right mind so read with teh cautionorz.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Thanks, guys.

One more question.

If you're playing notes vertically (at the same time), which note identifies the chord? Is it the bass note, or do you look to see which name has the least dissonance attributed to the chord?

Say I've got C F in a chord. Is that a C chord with a first and a fourth, or is it an F chord with a fifth?
Quote by Ninjamonkey767
Thanks, guys.

One more question.

If you're playing notes vertically (at the same time), which note identifies the chord? Is it the bass note, or do you look to see which name has the least dissonance attributed to the chord?

Say I've got C F in a chord. Is that a C chord with a first and a fourth, or is it an F chord with a fifth?
It depends. It's all about context in a song. You can guess though for the most logical thing.

If you have the notes: B E G, I'm going to think E minor 2nd inversion before Bsus4add13 or Gmaj6(no5)
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Quote by Ninjamonkey767
Thanks, guys.

One more question.

If you're playing notes vertically (at the same time), which note identifies the chord? Is it the bass note, or do you look to see which name has the least dissonance attributed to the chord?

Say I've got C F in a chord. Is that a C chord with a first and a fourth, or is it an F chord with a fifth?

Depends what the rest of the chord is. If it is just those two notes it's not actually a chord since it is generally agreed a chord has a three pitch minimum.

Two notes together is sometimes called a powerchord (a misnomer) or diad. You would name the interval in this case by the lowest note. If the F is the lower note and the C is a P5 above it then you would refer to it as a perfect fifth or an F5. If C is the lower note you might refer to it as a C4 or you could call it a perfect fourth.

As for naming chords in general the root note is generally the "fundmental" note of the chord. That is: the note in which all the others seem to be heard in relation to.

Most of the time this will be the bass note since the higher notes will usually form some relationship with it. However there are times when you alter the bass note of a chord for a specific effect. In these cases there is a chord and a bass note. The chord is constructed of notes that function in relation to each other and the chord as a whole relates to the bass note that you are playing underneath.

There are no set rules. There is often different ways of naming the same chord. Personally when I name chords I try to think of the simplest way to name the chord while keeping in mind that I want the name to be as accurate a description of what is actually happening as possible. This means that sometimes the same chord will be named in two different ways depending on the context in which it is used.

I hope this isn't too confusing.

Cheers.

EDIT: Metal4all makes a good point about inversions. I forgot all about them. Remember that in western music the most fundamental chord is the triad. The triad is made up of a root a third and a fifth (or you could look it as two "stacked" thirds). The seventh is the next most important chord tone.

These kinds of relationships in chords will be the most fundamental. Other tones are usually just embellishments to these relationships.

When trying to name a chord write down your notes and look for 3rds 5ths and 7ths. Pay attention to the bass note and any doubled notes as the lowest pitch and pitches that appear in unison or octaves will tend to dominate the relationship with the other notes.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Nov 10, 2008,
One note generally does not define what chord you have. In most cases the lowest note played defines the chord, unless you have an x/y chord (check the lessons page for details on chord formation)

And Intervals are simply the distance between two notes.
In any Major scale, the intervals for each scale degree are

1. Perfect Unison/Perfect Prime
2. Major second
3. Major third
4. Perfect fourth
5. Perfect fifth
6. Major sixth
7. Major seventh
8. Perfect octave

But really it's all about the number of half steps between the two notes (going up or down)

Here's a list of intervals in order of half steps (1 half step is one fret)

Half steps:
0: Unison, Perfect prime, Diminished second
1: Augmented prime, minor second
2: Major second, Diminished third
3: Augmented second, minor third
4: Major third, Diminished fourth
5: Augmented third, Perfect fourth
6: Augmented fourth, Diminished fifth
7: Perfect fifth, Diminished sixth
8: Augmented fifth, minor sixth
9: Major sixth, Diminished seventh
10: Augmented sixth, minor seventh
11: Major seventh, Diminished eighth
12: Augmented seventh, Perfect octave
13: Augmented eighth, minor ninth
14: Major ninth, Diminished tenth
and so on

As you can see there is a pattern here.
Any Major lowered one half step becomes minor
Any Minor or Perfect lowered one half step becomes diminished
Any Major or Perfect raised one half step becomes augmented

Once you get to 12 half steps you are at the octave and the pattern repeats with 9th, 10th, 11th, and so on...

When counting down instead of up you invert the intervals.
Major becomes minor, and minor becomes major
Diminished becomes augmented and augmented becomes diminished
Perfect becomes perfect
And the two numbers always add up to 9

For example:

The Major sixth up from C (A) would be the same as a minor third down from C (A)

Going up, The perfect 4th and 5th of C are F(4th) and G(5th). Going down, the Perfect 4th and 5th of C are G(4th) and F(5th)

If I said anything wrong please correct me, I'm just learning about Intervals on sheet music right now but this is what I've gathered so far.

EDIT: I took way too long to write this so it looks like i was beaten to it
Thanks for the help, guys. I've gotten my answer.