You are here

Classifying Intervals

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
Available under Creative Commons-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Download for free at

So far, the actual distance, in half-steps, between the two notes has not mattered. But a third made up of three half-steps sounds different from a third made up of four half-steps. And a fifth made up of seven half-steps sounds very different from one of only six half-steps. So in the second step of identifying an interval, clef , key signature, and accidentals become important.

Figure 4.30 Intervals
A to C natural and A to C sharp are both thirds, but A to C sharp is a larger interval, with a different sound. The difference between the intervals A to E natural and A to E flat is even more noticeable. 

Listen to the differences in the thirds and the fifths in the above Figure 4.30.

So the second step to naming an interval is to classify it based on the number of Half Steps and Whole Steps in the interval. Familiarity with the chromatic scale is necessary to do this accurately.