Type “music intervals” into Google and you get over 5 million results, most of them useless. They are either too long or too complicated or of poor quality or just plain wrong. The best introduction to intervals I found was at pianolessons.com. The YouTube video is below, or you can see the video along with a transcript here.
Missing from the presentation are examples of the intervals as used in well known songs. If you are serious about your musical studies, these are important – they may be the only way (besides cheating) to pass an ear-training course. Think of these songs as Nate plays the intervals, then go to the keyboard and play them yourself. I have included the notes for each interval, using middle C as the starting note.
|minor second: C to Db||Jaws theme, “I’m Dreaming Of A” White Christmas|
|major second: C to D||Frere Jacque, Happy Birthday|
|minor third: C to Eb||Rock A Bye Baby, To Dream The Impossible Dream|
|major third: C to E||Oh When the Saints, Morning Has Broken, verse and guitar riff of “Blister in the Sun”|
|perfect fourth: C to F||Auld Lang Syne, Here Comes the Bride, Hi Ho|
|Tritone: C to F#||The Simpsons theme, Maria (West Side Story)|
|perfect fifth: C to G||Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Star Wars (Main Theme), Sprach Zarathustra (2001 Space Odyssey)|
|minor sixth: C to Ab||The Entertainer (notes 3 and 4)|
|major sixth: C to A||My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean, NBC theme|
|minor seventh: C to Bb||Star Trek Theme, Mirage|
|major seventh: C to B||Bali-Hai (1st and 3rd note) or Scary “Woo-hoo!”|
|perfect octave: C to C||Over the Rainbow|
[The minor sixth and major seventh are tough — let me know if you have better or more up-to-date examples. Not sure how may kids out there are down with Bali Hai.]
Start with the major and perfect intervals (the white keys above C). Once you are comfortable with them, move on to the next two lessons:
So now we know that intervals are just the spaces between notes. If you absolutely must know the mathematical relationship between the notes, and have always wondered what A 440 really means, the answers are revealed here.