Perfect Intervals


seconds - thirds - fourths & fifths - sixths - sevenths

Perfect Intervals - Augmented Intervals - Diminished Intervals



unison - 4th - 5th - octave



Here are some common abbreviations for the various interval types:

  • PERFECT = P (perfect5 or P5)
  • MAJOR = maj or M (maj7 or M7)
  • MINOR = min or m or - (min7 or m3 or -7)
  • AUGMENTED = aug or + (aug5 or +5)
  • DIMINISHED = dim or ° (dim5 or °5)

Diatonic intervals that are perfect are the unison, 4th, 5th and octave. The structure, or make up of perfect intervals is:

  • P4 = 5 half steps (or 1 & 4 of a major scale)
  • P5 = 7 half steps (or 1 & 5 of a major scale)
  • P8 = 12 half steps (or 1 & 8 of a major scale) To me the perfect intervals have an open, hollow sound - they don't set a mood (stability, peace, somber, tension, dissonance) like the major, minor, augmented and diminished intervals do. 

Recently popular, contemporary music has introduced and used POWER CHORDS. These are referred to as 5 chords (C5 - D5 - G5 etc.) They are 2 note chords, perfect 5ths that are usually in the bass and punctuated in a higher range by guitars and/or other instruments. Here are some examples of perfect intervals:



perfect 5ths

perfect 5ths

Notice how 5ths are either on lines (with 1 line between each note) - or on spaces (with 1 space between each note).

IMPORTANT

Be aware that Eb to Bb is a 5th but Eb to A# is a 4th (even though they are enharmonically the same. Intervals are measured by letter names - therefore E to B is a 5th, but E to A is a 4th. (sharps or flats don't matter - it's letter names that determine the size of the interval)

perfect 4ths

perfect 4ths

Notice how with 4ths, one note is on a line (then skip a line) and the other note is on a space.

IMPORTANT

Notice that (just like above) F# to B is a 4th but Gb to B is a 3rd (even though they are enharmonically the same. Intervals are measured by letter names - therefore F to B is a 4th, but G to B is a 3rd. (sharps or flats don't matter - it's letter names that determine the size of the interval)

perfect 8s (octaves)

perfect 8s

Octaves are commonly used by players, many times in the melody for guitar or piano - and especially in the bass (left hand) for piano. They give a solid foundation to the over-all harmony and music texture.

Octaves are pretty easy to recognize - the bottom note is on a line, then skip 3 lines and the top note is on the space...

or vice-versa

the bottom note is on a space, then skip 3 spaces and the top note is on the line...

Here is an example of some 5ths, octaves and power chords in the left hand of a piano part.

Notice how "open" and solid the harmony sounds in this example:

power chords - octaves in bass

power chords



seconds - thirds - fourths & fifths - sixths - sevenths

Perfect Intervals - Augmented Intervals - Diminished Intervals


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