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Help with Intervals

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gothbass, Feb 2, 2001.


  1. gothbass

    gothbass

    Jan 15, 2001
    I have been playing bass for about a year now. I know a lot of things about playing bass, but the one thing that I can't really grasp is the intervals. What are they? What do they do? How can I tell the difference between the different types of intervals? Somebody please help.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In music, the term "interval" simply means "the distance between two notes". There are twelve different intervals in tempered tuning, and you can find them easily enough from any open string as follows:

    Start by playing any open string (for example purposes, I'll use the low E string).

    Starting Note distance (note) Interval Name
    E.................+1 fret.......(F)......minor 2nd
    E.................+2 frets..(F#/Gb)...Major 2nd
    E.................+3 ".........(G)......minor 3rd
    E.................+4 "......(G#/Ab)...Major 3rd
    E.................+5............(A)......Perfect 4th
    E.................+6.........(A#/Bb)...Tritone (Aug 4, dim5)
    E.................+7............(B)......Perfect 5th
    E.................+8............(C)......minor 6th
    E.................+9.........(C#/Db)...Major 6th
    E.................+10...........(D)......minor 7th
    E.................+11........(D#/Eb)...Major 7th
    E.................+12...........(E)......Octave


    Intervals are the most basic building blocks in music. While you are learning them, the most important thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the way each one sounds. If you completely master them (a skill that takes many years to develop), you will eventually be able to figure out or "transcribe" any song or solo that you hear without an instrument in your hands.

    Hope this helps.

    Chris
     
  3. gothbass

    gothbass

    Jan 15, 2001
    Thank you very much. That helps a lot.
     
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Another reason intervals are important is that is how chords are constructed. You have to know what intervals a chord contains so you know if you are plauying the "right" notes for the specified chord.

    jason oldsted