Ultimate Guitar Lesson

Il. Intervals

A musical interval can be defined as the distance between two notes. Intervals are spelled as a rule by using the same number of letters in the alphabet as is named in the interval.The steps in a major scale form only major or perfect intervals from its root. To create a major or perfect interval, spell a major scale from the lower note.

To create intervals of different qualities than major or perfect, spell a major scale from the lower note of the desired interval, and then make any needed alteration. Use each letter one time only. An augmented fourth above C, for instance, is F#, and not Gb, which is a diminished 5th above C.

As shown in the table below, 2nds, 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths are inherently major, becoming augmented, or minor and then diminished, with alteration. Unisons, 4ths, 5ths, and octaves are referred to as perfect, and go directly to augmented or diminished with alteration.

larger ↑

smaller ↓


2, 3, 6, 7

1, 4, 5, 8



Note that consecutive notes in a melody could occur in intervals (e.g., an augmented octave) that are not usually found in the spelling of a chord.