Intervals in Major and Minor Scales

We already know the intervals between adjacent notes in major and minor scales (whole and half steps), but what about the intervals formed by different combinations? In this section we will deepen our understanding of intervals by looking at those that are formed going up from the tonic to each of the other notes of major and minor scales.

Intervals in Major Scales

When measured up from the tonic, major scales use only major intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th) and perfect intervals (unison, 4th, 5th, and octave). Also, the names of the intervals in the major scale correspond to the scale degree numbers. That is, for example, the interval between C (scale degree 1) and A (scale degree 6) is a major 6th.

Note Names: C to C C to D C to E C to F C to G C to A C to B C to C
Scale Degree Names: Tonic Tonic to Supertonic Tonic to Mediant Tonic to Subdominant Tonic to Dominant Tonic to Submediant Tonic to Leading Tone Tonic to Tonic
Scale Degree Numbers: 1 to 1 1 to 2 1 to 3 1 to 4 1 to 5 1 to 6 1 to 7 1 to 1 (8)
Interval Name: Unison Major 2nd Major 3rd Perfect 4th Perfect 5th Major 6th Major 7th Octave
Abbreviation: - M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 M7 Oct, 8ve
Half Steps: 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12

Harmonic Intervals

formed between the tonic (C) and the other pitches in a C major scale

Intervals in Minor Scales

Natural Minor

Now let's look at the intervals created in minor scales, beginning with A natural minor. The places where the pattern differs from the major scale are highlighted.

Note Names: A to A A to B A to C A to D A to E A to F A to G A to high A
Scale Degree Names: Tonic Tonic to Supertonic Tonic to Mediant Tonic to Subdominant Tonic to Dominant Tonic to Submediant Tonic to Subtonic Tonic to Tonic
Scale Degree Numbers: 1 to 1 1 to 2 1 to 3 1 to 4 1 to 5 1 to 6 1 to 7 1 to 1 (8)
Interval Name: Unison Major 2nd Minor 3rd Perfect 4th Perfect 5th Minor 6th Minor 7th Octave
Abbreviation: - M2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7 Oct, 8ve
Half Steps: 0 2 3 5 7 8 10 12

Many of the intervals in the natural minor scale are the same as intervals found in the major scale: major 2nd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, and octave. However, the natural minor scale contains a minor 3rd, 6th, and 7th, whereas the major scale contains a major 3rd, 6th, and 7th. It should be noted that while the pitches of the major scale create only major and perfect intervals with the tonic, the pitches of the minor scale create minor, major, and perfect intervals with the tonic.

Melodic Minor

Compared to the natural minor scale, the melodic minor scale has a raised 6th and 7th degree, but only when it is ascending. Descending, the melodic minor scale is the same as the natural minor scale.

Here are the intervals in the ascending melodic minor scale (the places where the pattern differs from the natural minor scale are highlighted):

Note Names: A to A A to B A to C A to D A to E A to F-sharp A to G-sharp A to high A
Interval Name: Unison Major 2nd Minor 3rd Perfect 4th Perfect 5th Major 6th Major 7th Octave
Abbreviation: - M2 m3 P4 P5 M6 M7 Oct, 8ve
Half Steps: 0 2 3 5 7 9 11 12

Harmonic Minor

The harmonic minor scale differs from the natural minor scale because it has a raised 7th scale degree. The harmonic minor scale is the same ascending and descending.

Here are the intervals in the harmonic minor scale (the places where the pattern differs from the natural minor scale are highlighted):

Note Names: A to A A to B A to C A to D A to E A to F A to G-sharp A to high A
Interval Name: Unison Major 2nd Minor 3rd Perfect 4th Perfect 5th Minor 6th Major 7th Octave
Abbreviation: - M2 m3 P4 P5 M6 M7 Oct, 8ve
Half Steps: 0 2 3 5 7 8 11 12

"Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilized into time and tune." - Thomas Fuller

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

"Music in the soul can be heard by the universe." - Lao Tzu

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." - Ludwig van Beethoven

"Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." - Plato

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

"Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilized into time and tune." - Thomas Fuller

Copyright © Sienna M. Wood, 2015-2016

www.MusicCrashCourses.com