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What Are Intervals?

    Intervals are the fundamental building blocks of music and refer to the distance or pitch relationship between two notes. They provide a way to measure and describe the space between notes in terms of steps or degrees. Understanding intervals is crucial for developing a strong foundation in music theory and ear training.

    Intervals are named according to their distance, measured in terms of the number of letter names and the number of half steps (or semitones) they encompass. Here are the basic interval names and their corresponding descriptions:

    1. Unison: The interval between two identical pitches or notes.
    2. Second: The interval between two consecutive notes in a scale, such as C to D or A to B.
    3. Third: The interval consists of two whole steps or four half steps, such as C to E or G to B.
    4. Fourth: The interval of five half steps, like C to F or D to G.
    5. Fifth: The interval of seven half steps, such as C to G or A to E.
    6. Sixth: The interval of nine half steps, like C to A or D to B.
    7. Seventh: The interval of eleven half steps, such as C to B or E to D.
    8. Octave: The interval of twelve half steps, which brings you back to the same note but at a higher or lower pitch.

    Intervals can also be categorized as either “major” or “minor” based on their specific distance within a major scale. For example, a major second refers to a whole-step distance (two half steps), while a minor second refers to a half-step distance. The distinction between major and minor intervals becomes important when constructing chords and scales.

    By understanding intervals, guitarists can effectively communicate and understand musical concepts, transpose music into different keys, construct chords and scales, and develop their ear-training skills. It provides a foundation for navigating the fretboard, identifying melodies, and harmonizing with other instruments.