Intervals

Interval – the distance between two notes.

  • In music theory the distance between two notes are called an interval.
  • All chords are made up of intervals.
  • Unison – two notes of the same pitch played together or after one another.
  • Intervals are measured in semitones.
  • Melodic interval – two notes played consecutively.
  • Harmonic interval – two notes played together.

Interval qualities

Intervals have qualities.

  • Perfect – unisons, fourths, fifths and octaves.
  • Major – seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths.
  • Minor – seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths.
  • Augmented – all intervals.
  • Diminished – all intervals.

Interval names and interval distances

Table of intervals of the chromatic scale with names and distances.

Interval nameIntervalSemitonesExample in the key of C
Unison10┬áC – C (same pitch)
Minor secondb21C – Db
Major second22C – D
Minor thirdb33C – Eb
Major third34C – E
Perfect fourth45C – F
Augmented fourth/
Diminished fifth
#4/b56C – F#, C – Gb
Perfect fifth57C – G
Minor sixthb68C – Ab
Major sixth69C – A
Minor seventhb710C – Bb
Major seventh711C – B
Perfect octave812C – C

Intervals of the major scale

The table below shows the intervals of the major scale when counting from the keynote.

NrNameIntervallSemitonesExample, C-major
1Unison/key note10C
2Major second22D
3Major third34E
4Perfect fourth45F
5Perfect fifth57G
6Major sixth69A
7Major seventh711B
8Octave812C