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Thread: Intervals

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    I'm having some trouble with intervals(I'm going through the article Guni wrote).

    I dont really have a problem with perfect intervals, but I've had lots of trouble with the major/minor ones. It's hard to explain how I'm having trouble... but it seems like if I'd just memorize the major scales, I wouldnt have any problems with it anymore.
    I keep getting confused on the exercise even though I've read the article several times and understand the theory. Everytime I do the exercise when I'm done I realise I've gotten several notes wrong... even though I fully understand the concept of major/minor intervals.

    I really need some help, I could barely even figure out how to word this question(hope somebody understands this gibberish
    and can help)

    "From now on we are enemies... You and I."

  2. #2
    Registered User hol0point's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Yep. I had the exact same problem with that article. I had to read it no less then 5 times to start getting the excersises right. Those excersises can be pretty brutal too after spending a half hour on one and getting a quarter of them wrong . All I can say is keep at it and read it as many times as you need to because that article is the perfect first step to learning theory.

  3. #3
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Kiev, Ukraine

    If you understand theory pretty well but still make mistakes that means you just need to do a lot of excercises. When you have enough experience you'll start to get them done right automatically. Switch to a different tonality to test yourself if you understand the intervalic formula properly.
    Anyways try to figure out what confuses you. Step by step.

    Zadd9 -> A6 -> T#9b5 -> Zmaj7

  4. #4
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Colorado Springs CO
    Everyone has different tricks he/she uses to remember Rules, and some of them can be goofy. That's okay, if they always work.

    I think in terms of the major scale, and in terms of semi-tones per interval. So, I basically remember:

    ST Interval C maj Note Name
    0 1 C
    2 M2 D
    4 M3 E
    5 P4 F
    7 P5 G
    9 M6 A
    11 M7 B
    12 P8 C

    Step 1: remember major scale
    Step 2: remember all major scale intervals are M or P, and
    Step 3: M3 to P4 is a half-step and M7 to P8 is a half-step.

    So then for any interval, I compare it to the closest major scale interval, then add or subtract the half-tones needed for the example scale, then correct the interval name.

    Example: Bb to D

    It's already a major scale (Bb) so M3 from memory.

    Example: C# to E

    Major scale: C to E is an M3, so C# to E must be m3 'cause I have to subract a half-tone.

    This is a long way to go and is rather mechanical, but you gotta start somewhere.

    Maybe you would like to pick the examples and work through them here in this thread--ask you questions 'out loud' in other words?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 03-06-2004 at 12:39 AM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  5. #5
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Colorado Springs CO
    Okay. I just re-read my own post above--I'll leave it there as an example of just how badly an explanation can suck. But let's try again.

    The basic process in recognizing intervals is:

    1. Beginning with the lower note, count the number of natural notes to get to the upper note. The number tells you the interval name (i.e., 4th, 3rd, 5th, etc).

    2. Beginning again with the lower note, build a major scale having that note as it's root.

    3. If the upper note is a member of that major scale, then the interval is a diatonic interval--which means it's a major or a perfect.

    4. If the upper note is NOT a member of the major scale you just created, then the interval is chromatic interval--which means it's minor, augmented or diminished.

    That's the process...it's a matter of how familiar your are with your major scales (or how quickly you can build them in your head). AND, there are several different ways of thinking about this process--you may not think in terms of "construct a major scale", but you probably ARE going to picture the intervallic structure of a major scale in your head, just the same. Maybe not!

    As Zatz said, it's all about practice until all this new stuff gets old. Problem is, you can work it to death in a short period of time--and it will go away very quickly. Working with it routinely over long periods of time will make it stick better, IMO.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 03-06-2004 at 12:40 AM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Thank you all so much for taking the time to help me with my problem!

    I read through the article again(for the 30th time) and did all the exercises again, and you know what.... I got them all right!(well I missed 1 or 2, but I went back over them and realised why I got them wrong)

    I just had to take the time to go through the exercises and really think about them and by the last few questions it was only taking me a few seconds to figure out the answers.

    Not only that I can pretty much figure out the notes to all the major scales in my head in a few seconds now thanks to all the exercises.( I couldnt do that before)

    Now it on to the triads article.

    Guni is THE BEST! I have a few books that arent nearly as good at explaining music theory as Guni is, and Guni's articles are FREE!

    This website is the best thing in the world, you guys are doing a great service to musicians.
    Keep it up.
    "From now on we are enemies... You and I."

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