A Guide to Understanding Piano Intervals

Are you a beginner in piano? If yes, then learning about piano intervals is a prerequisite that you should be equipped with! Most beginners feel that it is a Herculean task to memorize all the types and implement them correctly.

However, we strive to break this limiting belief and simplify piano intervals in a way that is easily comprehensible to all! With this guide at hand, you can read piano notes with absolute ease without further struggles.

Let us take an in-depth look into the nuances involved in this training.

What Are Intervals?

Musical notes have a marked distance between them. This distance is calculated as the gap between a lower and a higher note. It is labeled with the number of the higher note. These are the intervals while playing the piano or simply, the distance between any 2 notes!

For instance, when you calculate the interval between the C and D notes, you will label it as a second interval since it is derived from the number of the upper note. An interval is also defined as the width of the space between two distinct notes. You can learn more about this by enrolling for our online keyboard classes.

Types Of Intervals

Intervals can be classified into five major categories. They include:

  • Major Intervals
  • Minor Intervals
  • Perfect Intervals
  • Augmented Intervals
  • Diminished Intervals

It is essential to study these intervals further to get a complete grasp of them and their properties.

Major Intervals

The gaps between the keynotes of the major scales are called major intervals. They occur between the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes. They are further classified into the following kinds:

Major Second

The interval between the second note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the major second. It is denoted with the symbol “M2”.

Major Third

The interval between the third note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the major third. It is denoted with the symbol “M3”.

Major Sixth

The interval between the sixth note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the major sixth. It is denoted with the symbol “M6”.

Major Seventh

The interval between the seventh note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the major seventh. It is denoted with the symbol “M7”.

Minor Intervals

When the major intervals are lowered by half a step, they are called minor intervals. Hence, they are represented with “m”.

Minor Second

The interval between the second note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale lowered by a half-step is called the minor second. It is denoted with the symbol “m2”.

Minor Third

The interval between the third note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale lowered by a half-step is called the minor third. It is denoted with the symbol “m3”.

Minor Sixth

The interval between the sixth note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale lowered by a half-step is called the minor sixth. It is denoted with the symbol “m6”.

Minor Seventh

The interval between the seventh note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale lowered by a half-step is called the minor seventh. It is denoted with the symbol “m7”.

Perfect Intervals

The perfect intervals include the 1sts, 4ths, the 5ths, and the octaves. They do not fall under the category of major or minor. However, they may come under either the augmented or diminished intervals.

Perfect First

The interval between the first note (C) on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the perfect first. It is denoted by P1.

Perfect Fourth

The interval between the fourth note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the perfect fourth. It is denoted by P4.

Perfect Fifth

The interval between the fifth note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the perfect fifth. It is denoted by P5.

Perfect Eighth

The interval between the eighth note on the scale and the keynote of the major scale is called the perfect eighth. It is also called an “octave.” It is denoted by P8.

Augmented Intervals

An interval can be augmented by two methods. It basically involves widening the gap between the notes. They include:

  • Increasing the upper note by a half step
  • Decreasing the lower note by a half step

Diminished Intervals

An interval can be diminished by two methods. It basically involves lessening the gap between the notes. They include:

  • Increasing the upper note by a half step
  • Decreasing the lower note by a half step

Conclusion

Piano intervals may seem complicated to learn initially. However, they are not as terrifying as they seem! With the right guidance and proper insight, you can master all the intervals before you know it! Happy learning!

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