Intervals

Intervals Feature Image

Objectives

  1. Learn all the intervals.
  2. Learn the fretboard patterns for the intervals.
  3. Learn both ways to play intervals.

What Are Intervals?

An interval is the pitch difference between two notes.  Pitch differences can be viewed in different ways.

  1. Note Difference: C to D
  2. Step Difference: C to D is a whole step.  C to D-Flat is a half step.
  3. Fret Difference: C to D is 2 frets in distance. (Ex: Second String – 1st fret is C, 3rd fret is D)
  4. Interval: C to D is Major Second interval.

In music theory, interval names are the formal way to describe pitch differences.  They are universal across instruments and the music community.  Understanding intervals will help you understand chords, scales, improvisation, and other advanced theory topics.

Interval Chart

This chart sums up all of the intervals by giving their name and pitch difference.  The audio example plays both types of intervals: melodic and harmonic. Melodic intervals are played sequentially, one note at a time.  Harmonic intervals are played simultaneously, at the same time.

Interval Name Abbreviation Step Distance Fret Distance
Audio (Played Melodically then Harmonically)
Unison  U None
(Same note)
0

 

Minor Second  m2 Half Step 1
Major Second  M2 Whole Step 2
Minor Third  m3 Whole Step + Half Step 3
Major Third  M3 2 Whole Step 4
Perfect Fourth  P4 2 Whole Steps + Half Step 5
Augmented Fourth
Diminished Fifth
Tritone
A4
D5
TT
3 Whole Steps 6
Perfect Fifth P5 3 Whole Steps + Half Step 7
Minor Sixth m6 4 Whole Steps 8
Major Sixth M6 4 Whole Steps + Half Step 9
Minor Seventh m7 5 Whole Steps 10
Major Seventh M7 5 Whole Steps + Half Step 11
Octave Oct 6 Whole Steps
(Same Note Name)
12

 

Interval Numbering

Intervals are numbered as unison, seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, or octaves.  This number can be determined by the number of notes that the two notes span.

Example: C to F is a fourth because it spans C, D, E, and F.


In music theory, it is important to remember that the number is based on the difference in the note names, not the pitch difference.  This is why Augmented Fourths and Diminished Fifths are the same pitch difference, but are different names.  Example: C to F-Sharp (Augmented Fourth) and C to G-Flat (Diminished Fifth) is the same pitch distance (3 whole steps), but they have different interval names because of the note names.

Intervals on the Staff

Here is an example of the intervals relative to middle C. Take note of the note name differences.

intervals on the staff

 

 

Intervals on the Fretboard

The diagram below shows the intervals from the first fret.

Examples

  1. First fret to the second fret is a minor second (1 frets up).
  2. First fret to the fifth fret is a major third (4 frets up).
  3. First fret to the eleventh fret is a minor seventh (10 frets up).
Intervals Single String

Songs to Remember the Intervals

Below are several well-known licks and phrases to help you remember the intervals. Think of these as mneumonic devices for learning the intervals and have fun with it!

Subscribe for Free Content, Tips, and More!

3 Reasons to Subscribe to the GLW Newsletter:

  1. Free Stuff! You'll get free content that is exclusive to my newsletter subscribers!
  2. Content tailored to you. Over time, I'll get to learn more about you and deliver content that motivates you to learn, play and be inspired!
  3. No spam. Just real content that's meant to make a difference in your playing

Enter your name and email, and you're on your way!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Hello again! You're already subscribed to the GLW newsletter. Thank you for being a part of the GLW community. If you have a question, just send an email using my contact page. I'd be happy to help!

2 Comments on Intervals

  1. Hi,

    In the intervals chart (the table), Augmented Fourth and Diminished Fifth are mentioned as A4, D4. It should be D5. It’s again correctly mentioned in “Intervals on the Fretboard”, but just a typo in the table part.

    Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


how to learn guitar notes for beginners  guitar chord shortcuts  what is the hole in a guitar called  reading sheet music symbols  guitar string tabs  what a difference a day makes chords  how to tell what key a song is written in  different guitar chords  best sounding guitar chords  going away to college chords  what does b mean in tab  harmonics on guitar  4 string bass guitar chords for beginners  chord guitar d#  how to create a chord progression  proper finger names  d 5 chord  bar cords  note names on treble clef  d# cord  you are good guitar tutorial  definition of pentatonic  key of g scale guitar  learn guitar arpeggios  guitar lead songs  the dominant in the scale of b major is  learn all guitar scales  how to play d in guitar  guitar string pattern  in a chord  let it be guitar solo lesson  circle of flats  1 4 5 chords  guitar notes and how to play them  g scale guitar chords  playing lead guitar  picture of guiter  guitar chord h  a blues pentatonic scale  how to play an c chord on guitar  mean guitar chords no capo  e dorian guitar scale  play greensleeves  best guitar for your money  guitar tuning lesson  slow guitar blues  am 7 chord  online guiter  guitar progressions pdf  how to play the notes on a guitar  learning sheet music for guitar  interval music theory  g major 7th chord  jimi hendrix scale  description of guitar parts  easy guitar music notes  guitar notes quiz  g major bar chord  chord progressions for guitar pdf  what musical notes mean  how to ring guitar  a minor chord progression guitar  c m chord progression  12 bar blues bass tab  guitar lessos  how to play c in guitar  beginning guitar theory  guitar starting lesson  12 note scale  e flat chord for guitar  natural harmonics on guitar  guitar string notes sounds  c minor 7 guitar chord  guitar nicknames  diminished 7  more than words plucking tutorial  how to guitar for beginners  resolving dominant 7th chords  lick tagalog  riffs and licks  grow old with you guitar cover  e flat dim 7  diminished guitar licks  how to play e major chord on guitar  1 guitar  how to play for no one on guitar  six string guitar lessons  octaves on guitar  picture of guitar neck  playing guitar by ear  how to read and write sheet music  guitar scales to practice  guitar main chords chart