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> Melodic Intervals ?quick Question
post Jun 15 2011, 12:08 AM
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okay i since i didn't really pay much attention to theory and since i have 24h free /cuz iam on summer vacations/
i decided to work out a bit on theory from the 0!

have been reading a cool book i have "Progressive Guitarist from Don Latarski

and there is a part that it says-

"there are only two types of Interval: harmonic and melodic. An interval is harmonic when two notes are sounding at the same time, such as in a chord or a vocal harmony. Melodic Intervals are like melodies: a succession of singles note

my question - is the single note on the melodic an interval to the the key of the melody or the note before it in the succession?

This post has been edited by MonkeyDAthos: Jun 15 2011, 03:51 AM

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dark dude
post Jun 15 2011, 02:07 AM
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You could say both, it depends what you're talking about.

Most of the time, you'll be talking about the interval relative to the root. However, if you wanted to say that e.g. this F is a minor second (one fret/half step) away from the previous note, E, it would be true as well.

All you need to know about harmonic and melodic intervals is in that quoted line: a harmonic interval is when both notes are played at the same time, a melodic interval is when both notes are played separately, after eachother.

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post Jun 15 2011, 02:25 AM
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Thank you!

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 15 2011, 10:10 AM
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Usually notes of the major scale are referred to as "one", "three", "five" etc.. Play the "fifth of C major" means playing G.

Intervals in all keys are always the same, and each mode has it's own specific set.

If you're interested in more hands-on-hands approach you can check out Pedja's interval series where he explains everything nicely using some simple examples. I think combining this article with his lessons would be something useful perhaps. I've made this article based on a book on music theory that I red years ago:


As atoms are building bloks or matter, intervals are the building blocks of melody and harmony. A good definition of an interval is "the space between the notes". On the next example you can observe the list of basic intervals starting from C:
notes_interval names
C (root)
Db minor 2nd (half step)
D major 2nd (whole step)
Eb minor third
E major third
F perfect 4th
F#(or Gb) tritone (augmented 4th for F# or diminished 5th for Gb)
G perfect 5th
G# (Ab) augmented 5th for G# or minor 6th for Ab
A major 6th
A# (Bb) augmented 6th for A# or minor 7th for Bb
B major 7th
C octave

here are some very well known melodies that use common intervals for ear training:

interval - tunes
minor 2nd Theme from Jaws
major 2nd Happy Birthday
minor 3rd Chopin’s Funeral March
major 3rd Kum Ba Ya
perfect 4th Here Comes The Bride
tritone Theme from The Simpsons
perfect 5th Theme from Star Wars, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
minor 6th The Entertainer (3rd to 4th note)
major 6th Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen (descending), NBC Theme
minor 7th Theme from the original Star Trek, Somewhere from West Side Story
major 7th Bali Hai (Up an octave, then down a half step)
octave Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Inverting intervals:

An important skill all musicians must have, especially when transposing is the ability to invert intervals. If you have to transpose a tune "up a major 6th" on the spot, you'll probably find it easier to transpose it "down a minor 3rd", which is the same thing. A 3rd is a lot closer than 6th. In other words, you need to know that a major 6th inverts to a minor 3rd. When you invert an interval, you take the bottom not and put it on top, or vice versa. The result is a new interval, and the rules for inverting intervals are simple.

When you invert an interval:

- Major becomes minor
- Minor becomes major
- Perfect remains perfect
- Tritone remains tritone (augmented becomes diminished and vice versa)
- the old and new intervals add up to nine

For example:

1. If you invert a major 3rd of C (that would be E) it becomes E with C on top, a minor 6th. Major becomes minor, and three plus six add up to nine.
2. If you invert minor 2nd it becomes major 7th. Minor becomes major and two plus seven add up to nine.

To really learn the intervals properly, you should sing them as part of your daily practice routine. You don't need guitar to do this (unless you're a singer), so you can practice in the shower, in the card etc.
In addition, practice singing along with your favorite records, melodies, solos etc. You have to train your ear like this because a good solo consists largely of playing on gutiar what you hear in your head.

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