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Musicianship Workshop - Q&A

Here is a music theory question from Adrienne.

Question:

* In chromatic scales, is the pattern of interval names always the same?  For example in C the first half step from C is C# which is the minor second.  In A, would the first half step to Bb also be the minor second?  In B, would the first half step to C also be the minor second?  In C the 5th half step is the perfect fourth - In E would the 5th half step to A also be the perfect fourth?

Answer:

Yes.  However, remember that C sharp is also D flat.  So, a half step (minor second) above C is C sharp/ D flat (they are the same note).  

Five half steps is a perfect fourth.  On the guitar, five frets (five half steps) higher from any note is the Perfect fourth.  Works every time!

Question:

* Why is the minor second in C called C# without also listing Db, and the minor third called Eb without also listing D#?  I notice that F# and Gb are both listed, and there are two names for those intervals.  So is it just a convention that we call the m…