Augmented Intervals

A Comprehensive Guide To Augmented Intervals

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Augmented intervals are one half step wider than perfect or major intervals.

How To Build Augmented Intervals

We can build augmented intervals from unisons to octaves. We use an upper case A to indicate augmented intervals.  Let’s see an example.

F-B Flat Perfect Fourth Interval
F-B Flat Perfect Fourth Interval

In this example, you can see F-B flat perfect fourth interval. Between these notes, there are four note names and these notes are five half steps away from each other. This is why this is a perfect fourth interval.

F-B Augmented Fourth Interval
F-B Augmented Fourth Interval

If we remove the flat on B and make it a natural B, we enlarge this interval to an augmented fourth. So F-B is an augmented fourth interval. Let’s see another example.

G-A Major Second Interval
G-A Major Second Interval

In this example, you can see G-A major second interval. Between these notes, there are two note names and these notes are two half steps away from each other.

G-A Sharp Augmented Second Interval
G-A Sharp Augmented Second Interval

If we place a sharp on A, we enlarge this interval to an augmented second interval. So G-A sharp is an augmented second interval.

We can not build augmented intervals from minor intervals by enlarging them one half step. Because when we enlarge a minor interval by a half step, we build a major interval, not an augmented interval.  If we want to build an augmented interval from a minor interval we should use double sharps or double flats. In some cases, we should use more sharps or flats. This is why it is not practical. This is why while building augmented intervals,  we usually think of perfect and major intervals.

Here is a table showing all augmented intervals with the number of half steps between their notes.

INTERVAL NAME

SYMBOL

NUMBER OF HALF STEPS

Augmented Unison

A1

1

Augmented Second

A2

3

Augmented Third

A3

5

Augmented Fourth

A4

6

Augmented Fifth

A5

8

Augmented Sixth

A6

10

Augmented Seventh

A7

12

Augmented Octave

A8

13

There are eight simple augmented intervals.  Now, let’s learn about them in details.

Augmented Intervals

Augmented Unison (A1)

When we enlarge a perfect unison by a half step, we build an augmented unison. Within an augmented unison, there is one note name and the notes are one half step away from each other. Let’s see an example.

A-A sharp Augmented Unison
A-A sharp Augmented Unison

In this example, there is a melodic augmented unison interval between A and A sharp. Between these notes, there is a half step. As you may notice, this interval sounds exactly like a minor second. But this is an augmented unison. Because there is only one note name. This interval is between A and A sharp, not A and B flat.  So how can we show an augmented unison in harmonic form? Let’s have a look at another example.

C-C sharp Augmented Unison
C-C sharp Augmented Unison

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented unison interval between C and C sharp.  As you may remember from Altering Double Accidentals, when there are multiple accidentals like this, we apply them from left to right. So the first natural sign belongs to the first note of this harmonic augmented unison. Likewise, the second sharp sign belongs to the second note. Because of the 4/4 time signature and the whole notes, this is a harmonic augmented unison, not melodic. You may use the reference music of minor second intervals to hear how this interval sounds.

Now let’s have a look at all augmented unisons.

All Augmented Unisons

All Augmented Unisons

In these figures, you can see all melodic augmented unisons starting on different notes both ascending and descending, including enharmonic equivalents.

Augmented Second (A2)

When we enlarge a major second by a half step, we build an augmented second. Within an augmented second, there are two note names and the notes are three half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

D-E Sharp Augmented Second Interval
D-E Sharp Augmented Second Interval

In this example, there is a melodic augmented second interval between D and E sharp. Between these notes, there are three half steps. Now let’s see another example.

B flat-C sharp Augmented Second Interval
B flat-C sharp Augmented Second Interval

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented second interval between B flat and C sharp. Between these notes, there are three half steps too.

You may use the reference music of minor third intervals to hear how this interval sounds.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented seconds that we can build.

All Ascending Augmented Seconds

All Ascending Augmented Seconds

Notice that we didn’t build any augmented second on E sharp and B sharp. The main reason for it is we don’t want to use more sharps than double sharps.  It wouldn’t be practical. You can build the descending second intervals by yourself.  You will realize that there are some intervals that you need to use more flats than double flats.

Augmented Third (A3)

When we enlarge a major third by a half step, we build an augmented third. Within an augmented third, there are three note names and the notes are five half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

C-E Sharp Augmented Third Interval
C-E Sharp Augmented Third Interval

In this example, there is a melodic ascending augmented third interval between C and E sharp. Between these notes, there are five half steps. Now let’s see another example.

A-C Double Sharp Augmented Third Interval
A-C Double Sharp Augmented Third Interval

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented third interval between A and C double sharp. Between these notes, there are five half steps too.

You may use the reference music of perfect fourth interval to hear how this interval sounds.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented thirds that we can build.

All ascending augmented thirds

All ascending augmented thirds

Notice that we didn’t build some of the ascending augmented thirds here. The main reason for it is we don’t want to use more sharps than double sharps.  It wouldn’t be practical. You can build the descending third intervals by yourself.  You will realize that there are some intervals that you need to use more flats than double flats.

Augmented Fourth (A4)

When we enlarge a perfect fourth by a half step, we build an augmented fourth. Within an augmented fourth, there are four note names and the notes are six half steps or three whole steps away from each other. This is why we also call this interval a tritone. Tritone refers to the three whole steps between notes. This particular interval is between perfect fourth and perfect fifth. This quality makes it one of the hardest sounding intervals. Let’s see an example.

C-F Sharp Ascending Augmented Fourth Interval
C-F Sharp Ascending Augmented Fourth Interval

In this example, there is a melodic ascending augmented fourth interval between C and F sharp. Between these notes, there are six half steps. Now let’s see another example.

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented fourth interval between G and C sharp. Between these notes, there are six half steps too.

The best reference music for ascending augmented fourth is the theme of The Simpsons.

The best reference music for descending augmented fourth is Even Flow by Pearl Jam.

Now let’s have a look at all augmented fourths that we can build.

All Augmented Fourths

All Augmented Fourths

In these figures, you can see all melodic augmented fourth intervals starting on different notes both ascending and descending, including enharmonic equivalents. Try to build them in harmonic form by yourself.

Augmented Fifth (A5)

When we enlarge a perfect fifth by a half step, we build an augmented fifth. Within an augmented fifth, there are five note names and the notes are eight half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

C-G Sharp Augmented Fifth Interval
C-G Sharp Augmented Fifth Interval

In this example, there is a melodic augmented fifth interval between C and G sharp. Between these notes, there are eight half steps. Now let’s see another example.

F Sharp-D Augmented Fifth Interval
F Sharp-D Augmented Fifth Interval

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented fifth interval between F sharp and D. Between these notes, there are eight half steps too.

You may use the reference music of minor sixth interval to hear how this interval sounds.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented fifths that we can build.

All Augmented Fifths

All Augmented Fifths

In these figures, you can see all ascending melodic augmented fifth intervals starting on different notes, including enharmonic equivalents. Try to build them in harmonic form by yourself.

Augmented Sixth (A6)

When we enlarge a major sixth by a half step, we build an augmented sixth. Within an augmented sixth, there are six note names and the notes are ten half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

C-A Sharp Augmented Sixth Interval
C-A Sharp Augmented Sixth Interval

In this example, there is a melodic augmented sixth interval between C and A sharp. Between these notes, there are ten half steps. Now let’s see another example.

G-F Augmented Sixth Interval
G-F Augmented Sixth Interval

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented sixth interval between G and F. Between these notes, there are ten half steps too.

You may use the reference music of minor seventh interval to hear how this interval sounds.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented sixths that we can build.

All Augmented Sixths

All Augmented Sixths

In these figures, you can see all ascending melodic augmented sixth intervals starting on different notes, including enharmonic equivalents. Try to build them in harmonic form by yourself.

Augmented Seventh (A7)

When we enlarge a major seventh by a half step, we build an augmented seventh. Within an augmented seventh, there are seven note names and the notes are twelve half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

C-B Sharp Augmented Seventh Interval
C-B Sharp Augmented Seventh Interval

In this example, there is a melodic augmented seventh interval between C and B sharp. Between these notes, there are twelve half steps. Now let’s see another example.

G-F Double Sharp Augmented Seventh Interval
G-F Double Sharp Augmented Seventh Interval

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented seventh interval between G and F double sharp. Between these notes, there are twelve half steps too.

Augmented seventh intervals sound exactly like octaves because of the twelve half steps between the notes.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented sevenths that we can build.

All Augmented Sevenths

All Augmented Sevenths

In these figures, you can see all ascending melodic augmented seventh intervals starting on different notes, including enharmonic equivalents. Try to build them in harmonic form by yourself.

Augmented Octave (A8)

When we enlarge an octave by a half step, we build an augmented octave. Within an augmented octave, there are eight note names and the notes are thirteen half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

C-C Sharp Augmented Octave
C-C Sharp Augmented Octave

In this example, there is a melodic augmented octave interval between C and C sharp. Between these notes, there are thirteen half steps. Now let’s see another example.

G-G Sharp Augmented Octave
G-G Sharp Augmented Octave

In this example, there is a harmonic augmented octave interval between G and G sharp. Between these notes, there are thirteen half steps too.

Now let’s have a look at all ascending augmented octaves that we can build.

All Augmented Octaves

All Augmented Octaves

In these figures, you can see all ascending melodic augmented octaves starting on different notes, including enharmonic equivalents. Try to build them in harmonic form by yourself.

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