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  • Writer's pictureTom Glasson

Grade 1:12 - Intervals

Intervals are the difference between two or more notes, they are numbered and work in a similar way as the scale degrees we saw in lesson 9. The number of the interval is the number of scale degrees which it contains, or the number of letter names of the scale included within the interval. To find the interval, count from the first note to the target one (include the first and last note whilst counting) - You could also count lines and spaces on the score.

For example, an interval containing two letter names is a second: C to D is a second. Three letter names is a third - C to E is a third, G-C is a 4th, F-C is a 5th and so on.

Note, the interval between the first note and the next note of the same name (C to C) is called an octave, written 8ve or 8va rather than an 8th.

For Grade 1, the lower note of the interval will always be one of the keys of your scales in the exam, so C, G, D or F - but of course you can make an interval from every note to every other note and will do so in real life.

Also for Grade 1, we only need to know the interval number, although there are more distinctions we will need to learn in later grades, for example C to F is a 4th, C to F# is also a 4th. There are also other terms used to distinguish between these two different intervals, one is 5 semitones, the other is 6. But don't worry about it now, they are both types of a 4th and that's what we need to know for Grade 1.

Intervals played at the same time are called harmonic intervals, intervals played separately, one after the other, are called melodic intervals. You will need to know this difference.


Intervals in C, G, D and F Major

You shouldn't try to memorise this, but to know how to work them out quickly, so that you can find any interval. If you can do it in these keys, you can do it in any key. I don't think you will have a problem with this after a little practice. And if you want to practice any of the techniques in this lesson series, I would recommend downloading the free workbook linked at the bottom of this page. It contains practice questions for every lesson and has answers for you to check your progress. If you are interested, have a look, and I will see you in the next lesson.

A Free Gift for you...

Download the Grade 1 Music Theory Workbook - An Introduction to Music Theory for free. The workbook is a written course which teaches you the entire content of Grade 1 music theory from start to finish, it is the full written version of our video course. It contains activities, with answers, to test your knowledge and give you chance to practice what you are learning.

There are 19 sections, covering every topic as well as reference sheets and materials which will come in handy as you study.

Click here to check it out.

Introduction to Music Theory Workbook

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