Thinking Music Theory 101: Intervals


Thinking Music Theory 101: Intervals

I love to travel but I don’t get to do it much.

There is a bit or traveling in music, but not what you might think. This topic I didn’t see much use in the real musical world but it was rather interesting. Also, if an annoying dude approaches you at a backyard barbecue and starts chewing your ear off, just start talking about intervals and I promise he’ll leave you alone.

Let’s move forward.

note: If this is your first time reading this lesson, then I would suggest to start with the very first lesson. Things could get confusing, you need to start here first to understand this lesson.

Download the pdf worksheet right here.


Intervals are the distance between one note and the next note. I’ll give you an example.

The distance between C and D is called a major 2nd. The distance between C and F is a major fourth. Pretend the distance between your house and Chipotle Mexican Grill is 5 miles or kilometers depending on where you live in the world. Intervals are distance.

Instead of using miles or kilometers in music theory we have our own terms for distance. We use:

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Perfect
  • Augmented
  • Diminished

Here are some basic interevals, but making it simple starting in the key of C.

basic intervals

Now here are some rules for adding the minor, augmented and diminished intervals. The upper note sometimes won’t belong to the scale or note at the bottom.

  1. If the upper note is a half step lower from the major interval, call it minor.
  2. If the upper note is a half step lower from the minor interval, call it diminished.
  3. If the upper note is a half step higher from the perfect or major interval, call it augmented.

Here are all the intervals.

All intervals

Harmonic Intervals

When two intervals are simultaneously played, they are referred to as a harmonic interval. A melodic interval would be when both notes are played one at a time.

harmonic intervals

Download the pdf worksheet right here.

That’s it for now, and don’t have too many brain farts, I know this stuff is pretty monotonous but hang in there. Becoming a “Learner” is one of the attributes of Thinking Musician.

Feel free to post some questions in the comment section below.

Stay tuned.

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