Interval overview

WEDNESDAY, October 9, 2019

Interval is a measurement word…

The word “interval” is a musical term for the distance between two notes. An interval has a number, and that number talks about how many letters are involved between two lines and spaces on a page or between two keys on the keyboard. Remember, we only care about the letters. This is not about sound – yet. It will be about sound later.

On the keyboard start with white keys..

This is a crude starting method, but in the beginning you have to put on blinders. You have to use only white keys to count. Black keys complicate everything and have to come into the story later.

It gets more specific later…

We have other words for describing intervals more precisely. Those will come later. But to begin with you always want to know the number. An interval will look very varied written in a score, but the  number is still determined by the letters involved. Sharps, flats and naturals never change this number. So learn the numbers first. On the piano the number of black notes between the two white keys you play does not change the number.

Melodic and harmonic intervals…

You can play notes together in chords, which creates harmony to accompany melodies.

Or you can play them one by one, in a melody, to go along with the chords or in duets.

  • Harmonic intervals are played at the same time, in chords.
  • Melodic intervals are played separately, in melodies. One note is hit first, the other comes later.

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