Writing Intervals (Music Theory Lesson)



Writing Intervals (Music Theory Lesson)

Report Error


When writing intervals on the staff, it is common to confuse intervals with the same number of half steps.

For example, one may accidentally write C to F# (an augmented fourth) instead of C to Gb (a diminished fifth).




Although both intervals sound the same and look identical on the keyboard, one is a fourth and the other is a fifth.




Fortunately, an easy three-step process exists to reduce the risk of this mistake.




Let's write a minor third from C.




First, write the generic interval on the staff. For this example, we will write a generic third.




Next, figure out the number of half steps on the keyboard. Since a major third is 4 half steps, our minor third will be 3 half steps.




Finally, compare the staff and keyboard results. Add any needed accidentals to the staff. C---Eb is a minor third.




For our next example, let's try a diminished seventh from F.




First, write the generic seventh on the staff.




Next, figure out the half steps on the keyboard. (Since a major seventh is 11 half steps and a minor seventh is 10,our diminished seveth will be 9).




Finally, add any needed accidentals. .




For our final example, we will write a diminished fifth from B.




First, write the generic fifth on the staff.




Next, figure out the half steps on the keyboard. Since a perfect fifth is 7 half steps, our diminished fifth has 6.




Finally, add any needed accidentals. In this example, no accidental is needed. B---F is a diminished fifth.













Other Music Theory Articles






All music theory articles are copyright Ricci Adams, reproduced by kind permission. Except where otherwise noted, these theory lessons are licensed under a Creative Commons License.

© 2000-2018 8notes.com