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Music Theory 101 - Part II

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Hello again to all of you music aficionados. This is installment #10 for the year of this blog.

I'm continuing again the discussion about music theory. Last time I left off discussing scale structures and formats.

This week I would like to discuss and describe the use of intervals. Before doing that, I would love to hear some feedback from you if there is a question on something discussed here. Please let me know via email at: I can answer a question via email or discuss it further on this blog.

Gentle Haven Music, Web Design, Musicians, Intervals

Let's move to intervals.

Intervals are the joining of two different tones to makeup a harmonic tone. Most people would recognize a harmony interval when they listen to singers in a song or piece of music.

The most common interval to the ear is a major third. This would be the joining of a tonic and mediant tones. For example: C to E. There are two whole steps between the two tones which classify it as a third or what we call a major third. If the E was lowered one-half step to Eb or the C was raised one-half step to C#, then it would be called a minor third. The difference being there is a half and whole or whole and half step combination.

Before going any farther, it would help the reader to take their instrument and try this out. If you’re on a keyboard, find middle C, then E two whole steps above it. Play the two notes together. That is a major third. Next, lower the E one-half step to Eb or raise the C to C#, each being black keys. This is a minor third. If on a guitar, go to the second string, find the note C and play it along with the open first string. This makes a major third interval. To make a minor third, raise the C one-half step to C# and play the first string open.

Gentle Haven Music, Web Design, Musicianship, Intervals

You've now learned something about intervals. I'm going to stop there this week because I would rather not overload anyone who's just learning on this concept. It can seem confusing at first.

But I would like you to pat yourself on the back and say: Well done!

Intervals art an essential part of harmony that, when used well, will enhance the musical atmosphere tremendously.

Like any tool they must be used judiciously so that the audience isn't stunned or overwhelmed.

I'm going to end today's blog with a humorous story.

In Austria about 100 years ago, two men are trying to find Ludwig Van Beethoven's tomb. They finally locate it and open the crypt door only to find the composer frantically erasing on manuscript.

"What are you doing Beethoven?", they ask. Beethoven replies: "Isn't it obvious? I'm decomposing!"

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