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 minor second in C C#?  Do we always call the half step from C C# and never Db in all chromatic scales?


Answer:

Another great question!  I think the best way to think of this is by how they sound.  If you go from C to C# (which is also a Db), you will hear the sound of a minor second.  So, it really doesn't matter if you call it C# or Db.  However, there are certain protocols in music.  Typically when you refer to the interval of a second, you will be referring to the second note after the starting note.  For example, the second note from C is D, so C to Db is a minor second, and C to D is a Major Second.  The third note from C is E, so C to Eb is the minor third, and C to E is the Major Third.  

So , I would say whether you say C up to Eb or C up to D#, it will sound like a minor third, but when notating it in music, it would be best to notate the Eb above the C.  Get it?



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wish You Were Here - Lesson

Save Me San Francisco by Train - Intro and Strumming Pattern