Lesson 28: Introduction to Intervals – type, size, and quality

Category: Lessons, Music Theory

Intervals: what are they and what are they good for? An INTERVAL is the distance in pitch between any two notes. There are two different types of intervals; HARMONIC and MELODIC. With harmonic intervals, both notes are played at the same time. Melodic intervals occur when notes are played in succession, one after the other.

Intervals also have a size. That is, how far away the notes are from each other. This is represented by a number (usually 1-8). For example, the SIZE of the interval between D and A is: D-E-F-G-A… 5 notes.  The size of the interval doesn’t change when sharps or flats are introduced. The size of the interval between D and A is the same as the size of the interval between D and A flat. Here are a few examples of interval sizes:

The last thing (and most challenging thing) we will learn about intervals is that each interval has a QUALITY. The quality indicates whether the interval is MAJOR, MINOR, or PERFECT, etc.. Often the quality will depend on the accidentals or key signatures that are present. Identifying the quality of an interval takes some practice and is beyond the scope of this lesson, but I will delve into this topic soon enough. Probably sooner than you would like.

Brief summary to wrap up: Intervals: important. Type: harmonic or melodic. Size: distance between notes. Quality: major, minor, perfect, etc. Me Tarzan. You Jane.

Posted on September 27th, 2010 by sharlene


  1. A Very Good Boy Says:

    Where is Lesson 29? Lesson 28 was posted back in September 2010, and, now, it is March 2011…6 months later!

    I am hanging on the edge of my virtual piano bench…

  2. Music Theory Lesson: Intervals of the Major Scale | Epianostudio Says:

    […] and perfect octave.  (The above graphic does not show perfect unison.) If you remember, during the introduction to intervals lesson, I mention that each interval has a quality. The quality of basic intervals can be major, […]

  3. Introduction to Minor Scales, Minor Intervals | Epianostudio Says:

    […] is where I will introduce major and minor intervals. If you need a refresher on intervals, see Lesson 28: Introduction to Intervals – type, size, and quality. The interval between the first degree and the third degree in a major scale is a MAJOR THIRD […]

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