Descending Major Intervals, Learn how to recognize and build the 4 Descending Major Intervals
Mar 25 2013, 02:55 PM
Theory Instructor
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From: Manchester UK
What Are Descending Major Intervals?

In this Theory lesson we’ll be looking at the partner interval to one we have already looked at, the Descending Major Interval.

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

Each of these intervals can be found by inverting a related ascending interval that we have already discussed in previous lessons, the ascending minor interval.

If you need to review your minor intervals, you can do so at the “What Are Minor Intervals” page.

Here is how each descending major interval relates to an ascending minor interval.

Ascending Minor 7th = Descending Major 2nd
Ascending Minor 6th = Descending Major 3rd
Ascending Minor 3rd = Descending Major 6th
Ascending Minor 2nd = Descending Major 7th

This might look a bit confusing at first, but before you give up on these intervals, check out the sections below where I go into detail for each of the 4 Descending Major Intervals, which will make them easier to break down and learn in the process.

Here are the formulas for each individual descending major interval to check out.

Descending Major 2nd Intervals

The first descending interval we will look at are Descending Major 2nd Intervals.

Here, you can find this interval two ways, by going down a tone or inverting the Ascending Minor 7th Interval.

The first way is the easiest in this case, where you simply go down 1 whole-step, 2 frets, from the root note and that creates the interval of a Descending Major 2nd.

While the second way requires more thought process, it may be easier for those that already know your ascending intervals very well.

Here, you take a minor 7th interval ascending, C-Bb for example, and you lower the top note by an octave, to create a C moving down to a Bb. C moving down to Bb is a descending major 2nd interval.

Here are a few Descending Major 2nd Intervals to check out on paper to see how they look when applied to notation and tab.

After you’ve learned how to build a Descending 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.

Descending Major 3rd Intervals

The next descending interval we’ll be looking at is the Descending Major 3rd Interval.

Again, there are two ways to work out this interval, one counting down steps and the other inverting an ascending interval you may already know.

In the first instance, you take a minor 6th interval, C-Ab for example, and invert it to find the Descending major 3rd interval, C down to Ab in this instance.

The other way to think about it is to count down two whole-steps from your tonic note such as C to Bb (1 whole-step) and then Bb-Ab (1 whole-step) to produce C down to Ab as a Descending Major 3rd interval.

Here are a few examples of Descending Major 3rd intervals to see how they look on paper.

After you’ve learned how to build a Descending 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.

Descending Major 6th Intervals

The Major 6th also has two different ways of working it out, but for now we will focus on the easier one as it is the most commonly used.

To find a Descending Major 6th Interval, you take an ascending minor 3rd and invert the notes.

So, if you have the notes C-Eb, an Ascending Minor 3rd Interval, you reverse them, so you have C down to Eb, and you get a Descending Major 6th Interval.

Here are a few examples of this to see how they look on paper.

After you’ve learned how to build a Descending 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.

Descending Major 7th Intervals

The last Descending interval we’ll be looking at is the Major 7th interval. Again, we’ll look at one way, the easiest, way of deciphering these intervals to make it easy to recognize and write them in your musical lives.

To find a Descending Major 7th Interval, you take an Ascending Minor 2nd interval, so C-Db for example, and then lower the top note by an octave, giving you C down to Db, a Descending Major 7th Interval.

Here are a couple examples of Descending Major 7th Intervals to check out and see how they look on paper in both notation and tab.

After you’ve learned how to build a Descending 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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