Music theory hints and tips

In this article I will describe an easy way to recognise individual intervals in aural exams.

Recognising intervals is actually very straightforward. The easiest way is to remember these tunes, and which interval it is they start with.

Minor 2nd. Jaws
Major 2nd. Major Scale
Minor 3rd. Greensleeves
Major 3rd. While Shepherds Watched
Perfect 4th. Away in a Manger
Augmented 4th/Diminished 5th. Maria
Perfect 5th. Star Wars
Minor 6th. Theme from Love Story
Major 6th. My Bonnie lies over the ocean
Minor 7th. There’s a place for us
Major 7th. Over the rainbow (1st note to 3rd note)
Octave. Over the rainbow (1st 2 notes)

It is also important that you practise being able to sing individual notes from a chord. Start of by playing 2 notes on the piano at the same time, and then try to sing the top note. This is not usually too difficult. Then try and sing the bottom note. If you can’t sing the bottom note accurately, then play it on its own and then together and see if you can hear it within the chord.

Don’t worry if this is difficult, keep at it, and once you get used to it this gets much easier.

If you are not a piano player, this diagram will show you which keys to press to get a particular interval. Just look for the pattern of the black keys and make sure you use the C in the middle of the piano.

A Minor 2nd is C – C# and a major 2nd C – D and so on until you reach the octave C – C.

keyboard with note names on


29. April 2010 · Comments Off on Recognising Intervals

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