What Are Major Intervals?, Learn how to recognize and build the 4 different Major Intervals
Mar 13 2013, 03:20 PM
Theory Instructor
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What Are Major Intervals?

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

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

Each of these intervals can be found in the major scale, and so if you know your major 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 major scale:

C D E F G A B C

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

C-D = Major 2nd
C-E = Major 3rd
C-A = Major 6th
C-B = Major 7th

For those of us that are still learning the notes of our major 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.

Major 2nd Intervals

Major 2nd intervals can be worked out as they are 1-tone, 2-frets, apart from each other at all times.

This means that if you want to find the note that is a Major 2nd above a given note, you simple add 1 tone, or 2 frets, to that note and you have a Major 2nd interval.

For example, if you had the note G, you then add a tone, or 2 frets, to that note and you get the note that is a Major 2nd above G, which turns out to be the note A.

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

After you’ve learned how to build a Major 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.

Major 3rd Intervals

The major 3rd interval is one-tone wider than the Major 2nd that we just looked at, therefore it is 2 whole-steps (4 frets) away from the root note of that interval.

This means that if you have a note, for example G, and you want to build or write a Major 3rd interval on top of that note, you go up 2 whole-steps, 4 frets on the guitar, and you will find that note, which in this case is the note B.

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

After you’ve learned how to build a Major 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.

Major 6th Intervals

The Major 6th interval is much larger than the other two intervals we have already looked at, and so we will look at two ways to find this interval, one ascending and one descending.

To find a Major 6th interval going up, you need to look 4.5 whole-steps above the note you are on to find the Major 6th interval.

This means that if you have the note C, you look 4.5 whole-steps above that note (C-D-E-F#-G#-A) and you get the note A, a Major 6th above C.

The other way to find this note, and usually the easier of the two, is to look 1.5 whole-steps below the note you’re on.

Again, looking at the note C, you go down 1.5 whole-steps (C-Bb-A) and you get the note that is a Major 6th from C, in this case the note A.

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

After you’ve learned how to build a Major 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.

Major 7th Intervals

Again, the Major 7th interval is a large leap from the root note of the equation, and so there are two ways to work out this note, one going up and one going down.

The first way, going up, means that you have to look 5.5 whole-steps from the note you are on to find it’s related Major 7th interval.

For example, if you have the note C, you go up 5.5 whole-steps (C-D-E-F#-G#-A#-B) and you get the Major 7th interval, in this case the note B.

But, the other way is far easier and probably the better of the two to use when finding a Major 7th interval.

In this case, you simply look a half-step (1-fret) below the note you’re on and you will find the note that is a Major 7th above the root note.

Again, looking at our note C as an example, you can go a half-step below C, to find B, which is the same note we saw earlier when using the ascending version of the formula to work out this interval.

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

After you’ve learned how to build a Major 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, 11:46 AM

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Mar 13 2013, 03:34 PM
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From: 3rd stone from the Sun
Interesting lesson thanks...Can you answer a silly question please..I thought 5ths were important (eg.for making chords)...aren't they ?Where are they here?

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This post has been edited by Headbanger: Mar 13 2013, 03:34 PM

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Mar 13 2013, 03:47 PM
Theory Instructor
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From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (Headbanger @ Mar 13 2013, 02:34 PM)
Interesting lesson thanks...Can you answer a silly question please..I thought 5ths were important (eg.for making chords)...aren't they ?Where are they here?

Not a silly question at all. 5ths are important to building chords, but they are Perfect intervals, which we'll cover in an upcoming lesson, so important but different than Major intervals. That's all.

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Mar 13 2013, 05:00 PM
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From: 3rd stone from the Sun
QUOTE (The Professor @ Mar 13 2013, 03:47 PM)
Not a silly question at all. 5ths are important to building chords, but they are Perfect intervals, which we'll cover in an upcoming lesson, so important but different than Major intervals. That's all.

Thanks Matt..I'll have to think about that now.

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Mar 14 2013, 01:24 PM
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QUOTE (Headbanger @ Mar 13 2013, 04:00 PM)
Thanks Matt..I'll have to think about that now.

yeah, just check out the next bunch of lessons on intervals, each will make things easier to understand the overall concept. If you have any more questions don't be shy!

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Oct 29 2013, 06:05 PM
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Thank You !

Dieter

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Oct 29 2013, 07:10 PM
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No problem, thanks for checking out the lesson!

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Oct 29 2013, 09:28 PM
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Ok i do start now with answers !

Major 2nd interval examples .

A - B --------- --------- ----------
--------- --------- ----------
--2---4-- --------- ----------
--------- --------- --7----9--
--------- 0----2--- ----------
--------- --------- ----------

B - C# ----------
----------
----------
--9----11-
----------
----------

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This post has been edited by Dieterle: Oct 29 2013, 09:30 PM
Oct 29 2013, 09:33 PM
Theory Instructor
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From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (Dieterle @ Oct 29 2013, 09:28 PM)
Ok i do start now with answers !

Major 2nd interval examples .

A - B --------- --------- ----------
--------- --------- ----------
--2---4-- --------- ----------
--------- --------- --7----9--
--------- 0----2--- ----------
--------- --------- ----------

B - C# ----------
----------
----------
--9----11-
----------
----------

NIce, those are all M2 intervals!

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Oct 29 2013, 09:35 PM
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Major 3rd Interval

B D # A String 2 ---- 6

A C # D String 7 ---- 11

F A B String 6 ---- 10

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Oct 29 2013, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE (Dieterle @ Oct 29 2013, 09:35 PM)
Major 3rd Interval

B D # A String 2 ---- 6

A C # D String 7 ---- 11

F A B String 6 ---- 10

Nice, that's perfect!

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Oct 29 2013, 09:50 PM
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Major 6th interval

A - F#

B - G#

C - A

Major 7th interval

C - B

D - C#

E - D#

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Oct 29 2013, 09:53 PM
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From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (Dieterle @ Oct 29 2013, 09:50 PM)
Major 6th interval

A - F#

B - G#

C - A

Major 7th interval

C - B

D - C#

E - D#

Great work!

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Oct 29 2013, 11:16 PM
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Very nice lesson Mr Professor. Maybe a good excerices could be improvising over a major BT using only major intervals, right?

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Oct 29 2013, 11:18 PM
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Thanks. yeah for sure. You can use just one major interval to start. So solo over a BT with just M3 intervals, then just M2 intervals, etc. Then when you get through all of them you can start to mix them all together. Great way to learn intervals and have fun at the same time!

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