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Intervals and triads

Intervals and nomenclature

Intervals within an octave

An interval is the distance between two notes. In the following figure you can see all the intervals within one octave. Play and sing all of them.

X: 1
T: Intervals
N: Material Created by Alex Serrano
L: 1/8
K: C
"minor 2nd / half step" [C8_D] |"major 2nd / whole step" [C8D] |"minor 3rd" [C8_E] | "major 3rd"[C8E]|
"perfect 4th"[C8F] | "tritone / aug 4th / dim 5th"[C8^F] [C8_G] | "perfect 5th"[C8G] | "minor 6th / aug 5th"[C8_A][C8^G]|
"major 6th "[C8A] | "minor 7th / aug 6th"[C8_B] [C8^A]| "major 7th"[C8B]|"octave"[C8c]||


In order to facilitate quick identification of intervals in a chord, the following numbers are used as a generic shorthand

  • 1 = the root of the chord
  • 2 = a major second above the root
  • b3 = a minor third above the root
  • 3 = a major third above the root
  • 4 = a perfect fourth above the root
  • b5 = a diminished fifth above the root
  • 5 = a perfect fifth above the root
  • #5 = an augmented fifth above the root
  • 6 = a major 6 above the root
  • º7 = a diminished seventh above the root
  • b7 = a minor seventh above the root
  • 7 = a major seven abobe the root


A triad is a set of three notes that can be stacked by thirds. There are four types of triads

  • Major Triad --> major third with a minor third on top (1 3 5)
  • Minor Triad' --> minor third with a major third on top (1 b3 5)
  • Augmented Triad --> two major thirds (1 3 #5)
  • Diminished Triad --> two minor thirds (1 b3 b5)
X: 1
T: Triads
N: Material Created by Alex Serrano
L: 1/8
K: C
"C major triad"[C8EG]  | " C minor triad"[C8_EG]  | "C diminished triad" [C8_E_G]  | "C augmented triad"[C8E^G] ||

Major Scale

A scale is a series of ascending or descending notes in a stepwise pattern. The major scale is one of the most used scales in Western music

Structure and modes


The sequence of intervals between the notes of a major scale is:

  • whole,whole,half,whole,whole,whole, half

where "whole" stands for a whole tone and half for a "semitone"

Let's see the C major scale

X: 1
T: C major scale
N: Material Created by Alex Serrano
L: 1/8
K: C
C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 A8 B8  


The same notes of the major scale can be used to begin and end at different points. This creates a collection of related scales known as modes

T:Keys and modes
"Ionian(major)" C D E F G A B
"Dorian" D E F G A B c
"Phrygian" E F G A B c d
"Lydian" F G A B c d e
"Mixolydian" G A B c d e f
"Aeolian(minor)" A B c d e f g
"Locrian" B c d e f g a

Constructing chords