Basic Music TheoryIntroduction
The Major Scale
Another way to help identify the quality of an interval is to count the number of half-steps, or chromatic pitches, between the two notes. The number of half-steps, or semitones, in each interval is shown in the following chart. This number does not include the starting note.
For example, consider the following two intervals:
You recognize that these are thirds, but suppose you are not sure whether they are major or minor. If you remember that a minor 3rd contains 3 semitones, and a major 3rd contains 4 semitones, you can count the chromatic pitches, as follows:
So, you can see from the above that E to G is a minor 3rd, whereas F to A is a major 3rd.
The ability to correctly identify the quality of a third is going to be important in understanding and identifying chords. So, although you don't have to memorize the whole chart above, it will be good if you can remember how to tell the difference between a major and a minor third.
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