Lesson 14 - Intervals
1. IntroductionIn this lesson you will take a look at intervals. An interval is the distance between two notes. An interval played separately is called a melodic interval; an interval played together is called a harmonic interval.
2. The Half StepIn western music, the smallest interval is the half step. This is sometimes referred to as the semitone or halftone. A visual representation of the half step is any two notes on the piano keyboard that have no notes between them. Below is an illustration of some half steps on the piano keyboard. Notice that all the half steps on the piano keyboard consist of a black and white key that are next to each other. There are two exceptions. The distance between the two white notes B and C, and the two white notes E and F are also a half step.
3. The Whole StepThe whole step is a distance of two half steps. This is sometimes referred to as a whole-tone. This would make a whole step any two notes with only one note between them. Below is an illustration of some whole steps on the piano keyboard.
4. Description of IntervalsIntervals are described in two ways. One way to describe intervals is by number, also known as interval number. The interval number has to do with the distance two notes of a given interval are from each other on the staff. These numbers are U (unison), 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8ve (octave).
Another way to describe intervals is by quality, also known as interval quality. Here are the terms along with their abbreviations in parenthesis used to name interval quality.
Unison, fourth, fifth, octave. These intervals may be perfect, augmented, or diminished.
A perfect fourth is five half steps. A perfect fifth is seven half steps. A perfect octave is twelve half steps. A perfect unison occurs between notes of the same pitch, so it is zero half steps. In each case, an augmented interval contains one more half step, and a diminished interval contains one less half step.
Second, third, sixth, seventh. These intervals may be major, minor, augmented, or diminished.
5. 12 Basic IntervalsLet's take a look at the basic intervals on the piano keyboard and what they sound like. You are going to skip the unison, because a unison is two of the same notes.
Below is a Minor second, abbreviated (m2). Notice the lowercase "m". The opening of the "Jaws" theme is a (m2).
Below is a Major second, abbreviated (M2). Notice the uppercase "M". The first two notes of "Happy Birthday" are a (M2).
Below is a Minor third, abbreviated (m3). "The Impossible Dream" has a (m3).
Below is a Major third, abbreviated (M3). "Halls of Montezuma" has a (M3).
Below is a Perfect fourth, abbreviated (P4). The first two notes of "Here Comes the Bride" are a (P4).
Below is a Diminished 5th, abbreviated (d5). This is also known as a Tritone, abbreviated (TT). Sing "Maria" from the song "Maria" in "West Side Story". That is a (TT).
Below is a Perfect fifth, abbreviated (P5). The first two notes of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" are a (P5).
Below is a Minor sixth, abbreviated (m6).
Below is a Major sixth, abbreviated (M6). The first two notes of the "NBC" theme are a (M6).
Below is a Minor seventh, abbreviated (m7). "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" has a (m7).
Below is a Major 7th, abbreviated (M7). "Bali Hai" from "South Pacific" has a (M7).
Below is an Octave. It may sometimes be abbreviated (Oct.). The first two notes of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" are an Octave.
6. ConclusionIn this lesson you went over intervals. You then learned about half steps and whole steps. Intervals can be named using number and quality. You also went through and named the 12 basic intervals.
Use Virtual Piano Keyboard below to practice what you have learned in Lessons 12 thru 16
Click to Install Flash Plugin if you cannot view our Virtual Piano below, or animation demos in Lesson 12, Lesson 13, Lesson 14, Lesson 15, or Lesson 16.
See Instructions for using Z-Board
Lesson 12 - 12 Keys of Music
Lesson 13 - Major Scale
Lesson 14 - Intervals
Lesson 15 - Chords of the Major Scale
Lesson 16 - Circle of Fifths
Lesson 10 - Three Primary Chords
See all 50 Free Lessons
Learn how to play C Major Scale
Click on "Play" button below to watch how to play C Major scale:
Lesson 13 - How to Play C Major Scale | How to play all Major Scales
Piano Learning Tools:
Learn how to readGlossary of Musical Terms
Free Interactive Music Training Tools
Free Virtual Piano Keyboard
Free Interactive Chord Chart
Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 1
Use these Free Music Training Tools below to test your piano skills:
Alfred's Basic Piano Lesson Book
Level 1A (Alfred's Basic Piano Library)
Teaching Little Fingers to Play
For Earliest Beginners combining rote and note approach
50 Free Piano Lessons
Lesson 1 - Patterns of Piano Keys
Lesson 2 - Names of White Keys
Lesson 3 - Names of Black Keys
Lesson 4 - Piano Grand Staff
Lesson 8 - Learn to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
Lesson 9 - Major Chords
Lesson 18-Double Chord Pattern
Lesson 22-Whole Tone Scale
More..... List of Free Piano Lessons
Five Finger Exercise
Learn Songs - Learn 3 Easy Songs, free Virtual Piano provided
Chords - Learn how to construct Major Chords & more
Music Theory - Key Signatures, Major Scales, Intervals & more
Improvisation - Chord Inversions, and different Chord Patterns
Techniques - Piano Techniques for beginners
Use the Virtual Piano below to practice the piano finger exercise.
Use this piano in conjunction with all of our Free piano lessons.
Use the virtual piano keyboard below to practice what you've learned in the "Piano Basics" Section - Piano Layout. You can play this Virtual Piano Z-Board in two ways:
1. For playing melodies with the right hand
Use computer mouse to click directly on any key (note highlighted in RED) to play that note, or2. For playing chords with the left hand
Press on any corresponding button (key highlighted in BLUE) on your computer keyboard to play that particular note (this feature is used when playing chords - you have to first click on the virtual piano once to activate this feature)
e.g. Press "Shift" on the computer
keyboard to play "C" note,
Press "S" to play "E" note, and so on.
To play C Major Chord (C-E-G) -
Hold down "Shift"-"S"-"F" keys on
the computer keyboard at the same time. See sample below:
Access Major Chord chart
Play on Z-Board using the mouse to click directly Press these keys on the computer keyboard __________ __________ __________ C chord C - E - G Shift - S - F G chord G - B - D F - B - N F chord F - A - C D - G - Sp Dm chord D - F - A A - D - G
Access the "Piano Basics" section to learn the layout of piano keyboard. Learn how to read music - Music Notations. Next - Use this interactive Z-Board to practice playing easy popular songs.
Click to Install Flash Plugin if you cannot view our Virtual Piano Keyboard
50 Free Piano Lessons | Piano Layout | Learn Major Chords
Learn how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - Free Piano Lesson
Learn how to play Major Scale - Watch the video below:
DownloadAngels We Have Heard On High | Deck The Halls | Jingle Bells | This Old Man | Oh Susanna | Yankee Doodle & More!
Free Sheet Music for Beginners
Free Interactive Music Tools
Learning with Songs
Learn Numbers Song for Children
Access new virtual ZebraKeys Z-Board game to TEST your piano skills
Download it for Free in App Store, and you will be able to use this keyboard to play songs we have learned in the Learn Songs Section:
Download Free Sheet Music for Fur Elise