Major Intervals

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All intervals that are not perfect intervals are non-perfect intervals. Non-perfect intervals can be major, minor, augmented or diminished. Basically, when we find the upper note of a non-perfect interval in the major scale beginning on the lower note, we call that interval a major interval. Let’s learn about major intervals now.

Note that with perfect intervals we also find the upper note in the major scale beginning on the lower note. So we will focus non-perfect intervals with the same quality here. We indicate major intervals with an upper case M. Simple major intervals are major second, major third, major sixth and major seventh. Here is a table showing all major intervals with the number of half steps between their notes.

INTERVAL NAME

SYMBOL

NUMBER OF HALF STEPS

Major Second

M2

2

Major Third

M3

4

Major Sixth

M6

9

Major Seventh

M7

11

Let’s learn about them now.

Major Intervals

Major Second Interval (M2)

Within a major second interval, there are two note names and the notes are two half steps or a whole step away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic major second intervals
Melodic major second intervals

In this example, there are two major seconds in two measures. The first one is C-D ascending major second in the first bar and the second one is A-G descending major second. There are half steps between them. As you may notice, D is the second note of C major scale. A is the second note of G major scale. So the upper notes are within the major scales built on lower notes.

The best reference songs for ascending major second are Happy Birthday To You, Silent Night and Frère Jacques.

The best reference songs of descending major second are Marry Had A Little Lamb, Yesterday (The Beatles).

Let’s have a look at all major seconds that we can build now.

All Major Second Intervals

All Major Second Intervals

In these figures, you can see all melodic major second intervals starting on different notes both ascending and descending.

Major Third Interval (M3)

Within a major third interval, there are three note names and the notes of a major third interval are four half steps or two whole steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic major third intervals
Melodic major third intervals

In this example, there are two major thirds in two measures. The first one is C-E ascending major third, and the second one is B-G descending major third. There are four half steps between each note of these intervals. The best reference songs of ascending major third are Kumbaya, and Michael Row The Boat Ashore.

The best reference songs for descending major third are Swing Low Sweet Chariot and Summertime.

Let’s have a look at all major thirds that we can build now.

All Major Third intervals

All Major Third intervals

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

Major Sixth Interval (M6)

Within a major sixth interval, there are six note names and the notes of a major sixth interval are nine half steps or four and a half whole steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic major sixth intervals
Melodic major sixth intervals

In this example, there are two major sixths in two measures. The first one is C-A ascending major sixth and the second one is F-G sharp descending major sixth. There are nine half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference song for ascending major sixth is My Way by Frank Sinatra.

The best reference song for descending major sixth is Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson (The first two notes of the chorus).

Let’s have a look at all major sixths that we can build now.

All Major Sixth Intervals

All Major Sixth Intervals

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

Major Seventh Interval (M7)

Within a major seventh interval, there are seven note names and the notes of a major seventh interval are eleven half steps or five and a half whole steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic major seventh intervals
Melodic major seventh intervals

In this example, there are two major sevenths in two measures. The first one is D-C sharp ascending major seventh and the second one is F sharp-G descending major seventh. There are eleven half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference song for ascending major seventh is Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones.

The best reference song of a descending major seventh is I Love You by Cole Porter.

Let’s have a look at all major sevenths that we can build now.

All Major Seventh Intervals

All Major Seventh Intervals

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

 

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