Here are some common abbreviations for the various interval types:
Diatonic intervals that are perfect are the unison, 4th, 5th and octave. The structure, or make up of perfect intervals is:
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:
Notice how 5ths are either on lines (with 1 line between each note) - or on spaces (with 1 space between each note).
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)
Notice how with 4ths, one note is on a line (then skip a line) and the other note is on a space.
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)
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...
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:
Hi and Welcome!
Fill out the form below to sign up for the free periodic
Player's Guide Newsletter!
Get tips and ideas about substitute chords, chord progressions and harmonic movement.