What Are Minor Intervals, Learn how to recognize and build the 4 different Minor Intervals
Mar 14 2013, 01:43 PM
Theory Instructor
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What Are Minor Intervals?

In this Theory lesson we’ll be looking at one of the most commonly used intervals in modern music, the Minor Interval.

There are 4 different Minor Intervals in music, the Minor 2nd, Minor 3rd, Minor 6th and Minor 7th.

Each of these intervals can be found in the phrygian scale, and so if you know your phrygian scale notes you can always find these intervals from any given root as they will be the intervals found in that scale.

For example, if you have a C phrygian scale:

C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C

And you want to find the Minor Intervals, you simply look at the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th notes of the phrygian scale.

C-Db = Minor 2nd
C-Eb = Minor 3rd
C-Ab = Minor 6th
C-Bb = Minor 7th

For those of us that are still learning the notes of our phrygian scales, there are formulas that you can memorize and use to figure out all of these intervals without knowing the notes of their corresponding major scales.

Here are those formulas to check out.

Minor 2nd Intervals

Minor 2nd intervals are some of the easiest to find on the guitar, or the staff, as they are the closest intervals in Western music.

This means that to find a Minor 2nd above any note, you just go up by 1 half-step, or 1 fret on the guitar.

Say you have the note C, and you want to find a Minor 2nd above that note, then you go up 1 fret, 1 half-step, and you find the note Db. So, C-Db is a minor second interval.

Here are a couple of examples of Minor 2nd intervals written out on different parts of the neck.

Test Your Theory Knowledge!

After you’ve learned how to build a Minor 2nd interval, go ahead and write a number of them out and post your work below. I will be happy to go over and check your work to make sure that you’re on the right track when it comes to identifying and writing this interval.

Minor 3rd Intervals

When working out minor 3rd intervals, you simply take the note you are on and add 1.5 whole-steps, 3 frets on the guitar.

This means that if you have the note C and you want to find the note that’s a minor 3rd above that note, you look 1.5 whole steps (3 frets) higher, and you’ll see Eb. This means that C-Eb is a minor 3rd interval.

Here are a couple of examples of Minor 3rd intervals written out on different parts of the neck.

Test Your Theory Knowledge!

After you’ve learned how to build a Minor 3rd interval, go ahead and write a number of them out and post your work below. I will be happy to go over and check your work to make sure that you’re on the right track when it comes to identifying and writing this interval.

Minor 6th Intervals

As we saw with Major intervals, the Minor 6th is a large leap from the root, and therefor it’s better to find it using steps rather than frets.

To find the minor 6th above any note, you go up 4 whole-steps and you find the note you want.

If you have C for example, you go up 4 steps, C-D-E-F#-G#(Ab), and you have Ab. This means that C-Ab is a Minor 6th interval.

Here are a couple of examples of Minor 6th intervals written out on different parts of the neck.

Test Your Theory Knowledge!

After you’ve learned how to build a Minor 6th interval, go ahead and write a number of them out and post your work below. I will be happy to go over and check your work to make sure that you’re on the right track when it comes to identifying and writing this interval.

Minor 7th Intervals

For the Minor 7th interval, there are two good ways that you can use to find this interval. The first is looking 5 whole-steps above the note you’re on.

So, if you have the note C, you go up 5 whole-steps, (C-D-E-F#-G#-A#(Bb), and you have Bb. This means that C-Bb is a Minor 7th interval.

The other way, and probably easier way, is to simply go down 1 whole-step, 2 frets, fro the note you’re on and you’ll find the note a Major 7th above that root.

So, if you have C, you go down 1 whole-step, 2 frets, and you find Bb. The same note we saw before that was the Minor 7th above C.

Here are a couple of examples of Minor 7th intervals written out on different parts of the neck.

Test Your Theory Knowledge!

After you’ve learned how to build a Minor 7th interval, go ahead and write a number of them out and post your work below. I will be happy to go over and check your work to make sure that you’re on the right track when it comes to identifying and writing this interval.

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This post has been edited by The Professor: Mar 18 2013, 11:49 AM

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