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Thread: Regarding Intervals

  1. #1
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    Regarding Intervals

    Hi Friends !

    My name is Kush and I'm from India. I'm a Guitar player and I've been teaching myself Fingerstyle Guitar for the last 8 to 9 months. To introduce myself as a Guitar player, I request you kindly have a look at the small video clips below - of my playing -

    Tears In Heavn - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjpFP39TSOM
    Fur Elise - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50eyJM6tDRU
    Californication - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Lm0GEqO9g

    These are some of my clips, though I dont practice new arrangments these days as I'm completley into studying music thoery for some time...

    So, Here's question - kindly help me by advicing regarding the same -

    I know that a "Whole step" up from the Root note is a Major 2nd, 3 Half-steps above the Root is a Minor 3rd etc etc... but what is the Interval called when I go down from the root ? Say I god a whole step down the root, then what is this called ?

    What is this situation - is it to be considered like a descending interval ? or Does this have a name of its own ?

    Kindly advice Friends...
    Take care and Have a Great Day !
    Lots of Regards
    Kush

  2. #2
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    Welcome to IBM

    whether you are going up or down, it doesn't matter, the interval name stays the same. If you go up a whole step it's a Maj 2nd. If you go down a whole step it's a Maj 2nd.

    Think of it this way. If you go from C down to Bb, you could easily turn around and go Bb to C right? Well you know that Bb to C is a Maj 2nd, so the oppososite is exactly the same. Now, if you were to go from Bb down to C, that would be a different interval (a min 7th)

    Try to think of the intervals in relation to the lowest note and you should avoid this problem.

  3. #3
    Inquisitor BillyJack's Avatar
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    Here's you a full neck chart of the intervals using "F" as your root. As your root changes, each intervals relationship to the root move with it so the relationship itself doesn't change.




    1 = Root/Octave
    m2 = minor 2nd
    M2 = Major 2nd
    m3 = minor 3rd
    M3 = Major 3rd
    P4 = Perfect 4th
    d5 = diminished 5th (or Augmented 4th)
    P5 = Perfect 5th
    m6 = minor 6th
    M6 = Major 6th
    m7 = minor 7th (Dominate 7)
    M7 = Major 7th
    1 = Octave/Root

    Here's the chart again in "A"



    and again in "C"



    I would suggest you look at pattern relationships to each other and not so much how many steps each interval is from the root.

    Start with the Majors:
    The 2 is a whole step sharp from the 1
    The 3 is a half step flat of the 4
    The 4 is just below the 1
    The 5 is just above the 1
    The 6 is below the 3
    The 7 is a half step flat from the 1
    The Octave is two strings down and two frets sharp from the 1

    (remember, the "B" string is a half step flat so you'll have to sharpen the intervals on that string to compensate)
    Money can't buy you happiness but, I bet it's more comfortable crying in a Porsh than a Pinto!

  4. #4
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    That is how I have the neck memorized. It always worked for me.

    However, it has come to my attention that academically-trained guitar players support the notion of memorizing the location of all the specific notes themselves, and then remembering that E is the Maj3 of C, for instance. At least, in another thread I made that assumption.

    Presumably it is still best to learn the notes locations before learning the relationships. But I cannot be taught new tricks. I will always hear the note I am playing and think in terms of my next note's interval, never even considering what note name I am playing.

    For me, it has always been more fruitful to hear two notes and to know the distance between them rather than to know what two notes they were. Perhaps that is the roadblock keeping me from learning quality jazz?

  5. #5
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    As an academically trained musician that came to the guitar as a second instrument, I tend to think in terms of notes first but I don't have to remember that E is the major 3rd of C. When I think of C and E I automatically recall that E is the major 3rd of C and C is the minor 6th of E. It's not a separate thing to think about it's the basis of my musical understanding to see notes and intervals at the same time.

    When learning to play the guitar I came to see the various shapes or major 3rd and minor 6ths and how those intervals laid on the guitar (as well as all of the intervals) in terms of the notes themselves. It's not so much that notes are taught before the intervalic relationships but rather than the two are taught as one entity.

    Playing jazz requires both skills to be integrated. Jazz is normally communicated (via chord changes) as groups of notes. Imbedded within the information is the intervalic info but the language is in terms of notes. If jazz charts were written out in terms of harmonic / melodic analysis it would be closer to an intervalic view.

    Once you've memorized the intervalic relationships of a couple of major keys, the path to integrate intervals and notes for all keys would be very clear. It's less of a "new trick" than expanding on the solid numerical foundation that you already have. Come on Blutwulf, you know you want to. Just think about how much more eloquently you'd be able to rag on people in terms of notes as well as intervals and patterns. ;-)

    cheers,

  6. #6
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    Hi Friends !

    Thankyou so much for all the replies and for the kind help This forum is really very friendly and I feel that its a Treasure that I've found ! Thanks again

    I'm trying to study everything slowly and understand everything you've adviced here. Actually I'm a bit new to all this and I want to make sure that I'm learning everything right, the first time...

    Kindly bear with me if my questions are not very brilliant and (foolish sometimes) - Here one which I reallly want to clear -

    For example - say I'm playing a melody with 'C' on the 3rd Fret - 5th string as my 'Root' note - I go to a Whole Step up to 'D' (on the 5th Fret) which will be a Major 2nd - Then say I come back to the root 'C' (which again will be a Major 2nd but 'descending' this time) - right ?

    and then suppose I go down a Whole Step (to the 1st Fret) again from the Root 'C' - Now do I call this a "Descending Major 2nd" aswell ? Aint I going to the note 'Bb' which is a Minor 7th from the Root 'C' ?

    So what should this situation be called -

    1. I'm going to 'Bb' which is a 'Min 7th' note from C ?

    (or)

    2. Am I descending a Maj 2nd from root 'C' ?

    I'm really sorry if my Question is'nt very meaningful or it isnt necessary etc - I really want to clear this in my understanding...

    Thanks again for all the help and advice
    Lots of Care and Regards,
    Kush

  7. #7
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    Once you've memorized the intervalic relationships of a couple of major keys, the path to integrate intervals and notes for all keys would be very clear.
    See, that is where our paradigms diverge, at least on guitar (I was trained on clarinets back in the day).

    In my paradigm, the intervalic relationships of all major keys are the same. A Maj3 is one string up and one fret flat from the 6'th string root for every major key, for instance. Sure, I know that for a root of A, the Maj3 is going to be C# (gotta have something to show for 35 years of playing music). I just don't think in those terms.

    I am not suggesting that one not learn the notes or scale spellings. I am only saying that when I am playing guitar I tend to ignore it and simply play everythng relative to my last note. For piano or orchestral instruments, of course, I am slave to the spellings. For guitar, I treat the thing as one long-assed string and a slide. Whistling, as it were.

    Just think about how much more eloquently you'd be able to rag on people in terms of notes as well as intervals and patterns. ;-)
    Well... Ragging on people isn't really my goal. How can I dislike people who share the same love and passion for guitar that I have? You guys rule. I suppose what I am doing (and will probably annoyingly do until banned) is the opposite of what iBM stands for. Over the last 40+ years, I saw guitar go from rock to art. At some point, three guys jamming to "Whole Lotta Love" became three guys trying to become classically-trained musicians. I'll be the iBM guy trying, bizarrely, to return legitimacy to primitive folk music (while I score my orchestral pieces at home by the fire).

  8. #8
    Montague kjellen's Avatar
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    The questions are very good, actually, and very well formulated. And I can understand the confusion on this issue, as it is not very easy to get.

    If you go down a major 2nd from your root - C, you will get a Bb. So the MELODIC interval from C to Bb is a major 2nd.

    The confusion arises when you start analyzing the harmonic relation between the notes, as the Bb, regardless of it being lower than the root you're playing, is, as you say, a minor 7th from the root.

    This is the difference between MELODIC and HARMONIC intervals. In the harmonic context, the Bb is a minor 7th, and in the melodic context, you just took a descending major 2nd step from the tone C to the tone Bb. Hope that clarified something. Feel free to ask more, as explaining can be difficult at times.

  9. #9
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    kjellen,

    Great explanation. I agree his question was very well written. May I add a slightly different wording / example to your explanation of melodic versus harmonic intervals?

    If we think melodically, then descending from C to Bb is indeed a major second. The distance of (or interval equal to) two frets on any one string is defined as a melodic major 2nd.

    If we are thinking harmonically
    (say relative to Cmin7 = C Eb G Bb, based on the C natural minor scale = C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb)

    then we can say we are descending from the root (of Cmin7) down a major 2nd to the minor 7th (of Cmin7). In this case we are referring to the function of the Bb note relative to the Cmin7 chord (a harmonic construct) rather than the distance between the C and the Bb notes (a melodic construct).

    Blutwulf,

    I started on clarinet as well (Dad was a tenor man and insisted I start with the clarinet. Thanks Dad!)

    In my paradigm, the intervalic relationships of all major keys are the same. <snip> I just don't think in those terms. (notes)
    I understand what your saying, and i think I understand you point. What I was referring to is the named note expression of the intervallic relationships of the keys. For many, numeric intervals and the named note expression of those intervals are the same thing, exactly. The named note version is just an instance of the class defined by the numeric interval. As you know applying the note names to an interval doesn't alter the interval it just defines a specific example of a general case. But if we think back, the notes existed long before the numeric analysis did. It's the whole "theory attempts to explain music but does not define it" thing. I guess my point is that the two are not mutually exclusive and can (if one chooses to allow then to) exist as the same thing.

    I know you're not really ragging on people. I think you just offer a gentle bump every now and then when we start to sound like the theory or notes are more important than the actual music. I'm guessing we are of similar age (and stages of physical / mental / emotional / moral decay). I too remember when music had absolutely nothing to do with education and involved nothing more than feeling and the desire to make music.

    cheers,

  10. #10
    Montague kjellen's Avatar
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    Perfect, Jed! You must be from a more english-speaking country than me.

  11. #11
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjellen
    Perfect, Jed! You must be from a more english-speaking country than me.
    Actually I thought you were quite eloquent, having asumed english to be a second language for you. English is a second language for me as well. My native language is American. ;-)

    cheers,

  12. #12
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    whether you are going up or down, it doesn't matter, the interval name stays the same. If you go up a whole step it's a Maj 2nd. If you go down a whole step it's a Maj 2nd.
    This confuses me. Does anyone have a second opinion?

    I thought in the key of C, the major 2nd was always a D whether you're ascending or decending. Am I wrong?

    Starting at C and going to a Bb would seem to be going from I to b7, no?

    I do understand an interval of two half-steps is always going to be a whole interval, but calling a Bb a maj 2nd of C confuses me.

    Clarification?

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    Last edited by jade_bodhi; 01-10-2007 at 04:05 PM.
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  13. #13
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    clearing it up

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    If we think melodically, then descending from C to Bb is indeed a major second. The distance of (or interval equal to) two frets on any one string is defined as a melodic major 2nd.

    If we are thinking harmonically
    (say relative to Cmin7 = C Eb G Bb, based on the C natural minor scale = C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb)

    then we can say we are descending from the root (of Cmin7) down a major 2nd to the minor 7th (of Cmin7). In this case we are referring to the function of the Bb note relative to the Cmin7 chord (a harmonic construct) rather than the distance between the C and the Bb notes (a melodic construct).
    Okay, this has made the distinction clear for me. I'm still not sure why we have to have two different ways of describing this descending movement from C to Bb, but I think I understand it. Melodically, it is a change in tone, but speaking harmonically about the same mmovement, we are locating both notes in the context of a scale. Someone has suggested the Cmin scale, but wouldn't it be okay to say the Bb is simply the flatted 7th of the C major?

    Great discussion, all.

    Jade
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  14. #14
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    yup its fine to think of Bb as the b7 of C major.

    Try thinking of descending intervals as just ascending intervals, but inverted. b7 up ends on the same note as a major 2nd down because b7 + Maj2nd = an octave. Perfect 5th up is the same as a perfect 4th down because they add up to an octave.

    There are really two things happening at once, as I'm sure has already been explained. So we need two different systems to explain each. We need a system to explain the harmonic relation that note has with the key and the melodic relation it has with the note previous. If you want to check yourself with descending intervals, just count semi tones. Does C down to Bb have the same amount of semi tones as a b7. You don't even need to know how many semi tones are in a b7 to know that it doesn't and it has to be something else.
    Last edited by silent-storm; 01-10-2007 at 08:39 PM.

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    just want to add that I'm glad all of this was brought up. It's gonna make me rethink how I teach intervals. Try to get students seeing both at the same time as soon as possible.

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