Minor Intervals

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Violin and sheet

Minor intervals are non-perfect intervals that have one less half step than major intervals with the same numerical name. 

If we narrow major intervals by either raising the lower notes or lowering the upper notes of them by a half step, we build minor intervals. We use a lower case m to indicate minor intervals. Minor intervals can only be seconds, thirds, sixths or sevenths just like the major intervals. Here is a table showing all minor intervals with the number of half steps between their notes.

INTERVAL NAME

SYMBOL

NUMBER OF HALF STEPS

Minor Second

m2

1

Minor Third

m3

3

Minor Sixth

m6

8

Minor Seventh

m7

10

Minor Intervals

Minor Second Interval (m2)

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

Melodic minor second intervals
Melodic minor second intervals

In this example, there are two minor seconds in two measures. The first one is G-A flat ascending melodic minor second and the second one is C-B descending melodic minor second. There are half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference music for ascending minor second is the theme of Jaws. There is an ascending minor second interval between the first two notes of this theme.

The best reference music for descending minor second is Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven. Again, between the first two notes of this work, there is a descending minor second interval.

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

All minor second intervals

All minor second intervals

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

Minor Third Interval (m3)

Within a minor third interval, there are three note names and the notes are three half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic minor third intervals
Melodic minor third intervals

In this example, there are two minor thirds in two measures. The first one is C-E flat ascending melodic minor third and the second one is B-G sharp descending melodic minor third. There are three half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference themes for ascending minor third interval are Greensleeves and Lullaby by Johannes Brahms. There are ascending minor third intervals between the first two notes of these themes.

The best reference song for descending minor third interval is Hey Jude by The Beatles. There is an ascending minor third interval between the first two notes of this song.

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

All minor third intervals

All minor third intervals

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

Minor Sixth Interval (m6)

Within a minor sixth interval, there are six note names and the notes are eight half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic minor sixth intervals
Melodic minor sixth intervals

In this example, there are two minor sixths in two measures. The first one is C-A flat ascending melodic minor sixth and the second one is B-D sharp descending melodic minor sixth. There are eight half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference theme for ascending minor sixth interval is Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2 by Frederic Chopin. Between the first two notes of the melody of this work there is an ascending minor sixth interval.

The best reference music for descending minor sixth interval is theme of Love Story by Francis Lai. Between the first two notes of the melody of this work there is an descending minor sixth interval.

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

All minor sixth intervals

All minor sixth intervals

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

Minor Seventh Interval (m7)

Within a minor seventh interval, there are seven note names and the notes are ten half steps away from each other. Let’s see an example.

Melodic minor seventh intervals
Melodic minor seventh intervals

In this example, there are two minor sevenths in two measures. The first one is C-B flat ascending melodic minor sixth and the second one is D-E descending melodic minor third. There are ten half steps between each note of these intervals.

The best reference music for ascending minor seventh interval is the theme from original Star Trek.Between the first two notes of the melody of this work there is an ascending minor seventh interval.

The best reference music for descending minor seventh interval is An American In Paris by George Gershwin.

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

All minor seventh intervals

All minor seventh intervals

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

 

 

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