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A Player's Guide Newsletter issue #01 --- Intervals

This is for CHORD & HARMONY ENTHUSIASTS at all levels. If you are a beginner or just starting out, this will be a "road-map" to understanding chords and harmony.

If you are a player and have experience, this will be a "refresher" of the logical steps to understanding chords and harmony; maybe a teaching aid, or a resource center for music, books and other aids.

If you play guitar, "NO SWEAT", this is for you also. I am a keyboard player, but every guitar player that I've worked with knew the very basics of the keyboard layout. They realized, like I do, that the principles are the same NO MATTER WHAT YOU PLAY.

Here is the ROAD-MAP:

Intervals - Scales - Key Signatures
Chords - Chord Symbols - Chord Progressions

TIP # 1: Get familiar with WHOLE STEPS and HALF STEPS and then INTERVALS (the distance between 2 notes.) WHOLE STEPS and HALF STEPS are what give scales and chords their unique sounds. Take a look at a C chromatic scale:

going up - use SHARPS!

going down - use FLATS!

As you move from one note to the very next note, you you are moving a HALF STEP. It doesn't matter if it's a sharp, natural or flat; or if it's a:
  • white key to black key
  • black key to a white key
  • white key to white key

if they are right next to each other, it's a HALF STEP.

So... if moving from one note the the very next note is a HALF STEP, moving two consecutive notes is a WHOLE STEP. So moving from:

  • C to C sharp = HALF STEP
  • C to D = WHOLE STEP
  • D to E = WHOLE STEP
  • E to F = HALF STEP
Notice how E to F is a HALF STEP even thought they are 2 white keys?

This is what you need to know to get a basic understanding of basic intervals and scales! Intervals and scales are the foundation music as we know it.

INTERVAL: the distance between 2 notes

An interval is commonly referred to as either:
  • harmonic, played simultaneously (they make harmony); or..
  • melodic, played consecutively (they make a melody).
The next 2 examples show the harmonic and melodic intervals within a C major scale.

Every interval has its own unique quality or sound. They can be either:

FREE DOWNLOAD: Complete Interval Sheets!

For a more complete presentation of ALL THE INTERVALS, click the file folder to the left and open the PDF file... You can then save a copy or print a hard copy of the included sheets.

Learn more about unisons, 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, and octaves. their qualities can be either perfect, major, minor, augmented or diminished. Follow these links:



fourths & fifths



Perfect Intervals

Augmented Intervals

Diminished Intervals

I'll see you next time with TIP # 2: SCALES


Copyright © 2011 Ralph Martino
All Rights Reserved

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