Intervals

An interval is the space between two pitches.

Semitones: The smallest interval in western music is the semitone, or half step. On the guitar, an inteval of a semitone is of one fret - that is, the distance between two adjacent frets. The next building block is the tone, or whole step, two frets. In other words, each of the notes in the chromatic scale is separated by a half step.

Microtones: On the guitar your are also able to make pitches between semitones, often refered to as micro tones, or in blues - the flattened third, flattened fifth, and flattened sevenths scale degrees, the blue notes.

Tones: Two halv steps is a whole step, or a tone.

Interval numbers: The interval numbers is generated from the scale degrees - that is, the counting of the notes of the major scale:

 C   D   E   F   G   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   A  
 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  
 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12  13 

Intervals of the C Major Scale

w w h w w w h
C   D   E   F   G   A   B   C 
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 
|<------------------------->| Octave  P8 = VIII  
|<--------------------->| Major 7th   M7 = VII  
|<----------------->| Major 6th       M6 = VI 
|<------------->| Perfect 5th         P5 = V 
|<--------->| Perfect 4th             P4 = IV 
|<----->| Major 3rd                   M3 = III 
|<->| Major 2nd                       M2 = II 
| Unison                              P1 = I 

So what about the notes in between?

Intervals on the fretboard

0 frets: C| = Unison
 1 fret:  C| |  C-Db = Minor 2nd 
 2 frets: C|—|D|  C-D = Major 2nd 
 3 frets: C|—|D|—|  C-Eb = Minor 3rd 
 4 frets: C|—|D|—|E|  C-E = Major 3rd 
 5 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|  C-F = Perfect 4th 
 6 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|  C-Gb = Augmentet 4th 
 6 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|  C-Gb  = Tritone 
 6 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|  C-Gb  = Diminished 5th 
 7 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|  C-G = Perfect 5th 
 8 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|  C-Ab = Augmented 5th 
 8 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|  C-Ab = Minor 6th 
 9 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|  C-A = Major 6th 
10 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|  C-Bb  = Minor 7th 
11 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|  C-B = Major 7th 
12 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|  C-C = Octave 
13 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|  C-Db = Minor 9th  
14 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|D|  C-D = Major 9th 
15 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|D|—|  C-Eb = Minor 10th 
16 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|D|—|E|  C-E = Major 10th 
16 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|D|—|E|  C-E = Diminished 11th 
17 frets: C|—|D|—|E|F|—|G|—|A|—|B|C|-|D|—|E|F|  C-F = Perfect 11th 
notes:   C| |D| |E|F| |G| |A| |B|C| |D| |E|F|  
frets    1   3   5   7   9     12    15    17   

Frets = try it out starting on C on the 1 fret, 2. string

Symbols Name Semitones Example Mind map by tune
1 P1 Unison 0 C - C Jingle Bells
b2 -2 m2 Minor 2nd 1 C - Db Fur Elise, Isn't she lovely, Jaws (movie theme), Nice work if you can get it, O little town of Bethlehem, Pink Panther, Sophisticated lady, White Chrismas
2 M2 Major 2nd 2 C - D Do-Re, Happy birthday; Pop Goes the Weasel; M.A.S.H.; Mary had a little lamb; Satin doll; Strangers in the night; Yesterday
b3 -3 m3 Minor 3d 3 C - Eb A foggy day; Frosty the snowman; Georgia on my mind; Greensleeves; Hey Jude; This Old Man
3 M3 Major 3d 4 C - E Do-Mi, Big Ben; Come rain or come shine; From the Halls of Montezuma; Giant steps; Good night ladies; Kum Ba Ya; Morning has broken; Oh, when the Saints; Summertime; Swing Low Sweet Chariot; Well I Come from Alabama ; When the Saints go Marching in; While Shepards Watched
4 P4 Perfect 4th 5 C - F Do-Fa, Amazing Grace; Auld Lang Syne; Born Free (movie theme); Here Comes the Bride; Home on the Range; I've Been Working on the Railroad; Love me tender; Make New Friends; O Come All Ye Faithful; Oh, come all ye faithful; Someday My Prince Will Come; The British Grenadiers; We wish you a merry Christmas; Yardbird suite
#4, b5 TT, +4 d5, A4 Diminished 5th (Augmented 4th). tritone 6 C - Gb Maria (West Side Story)
5 P5 Perfect 5th: 7 C - G Do-So, Flintstones Theme (descending)
#5, b6 -6 m6, A5 Minor 6th: 8 C - Ab
6 M6 Major 6th 9 C - A Do-La, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, Take the A-Train
b7 -7 m7 Minor 7th: 10 C - Bb Somewhere (West Side Story)
7 M7 Major 7th 11 C - B Do-Ti, Over the Rainbow (first and third notes)
8 P8 Octave, , doubling 12 C - C' Blue bossa; Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire; Let it snow; Some-where over the rainbow
b9 m9 Flat ninth 13 C - Db
9 M9 Ninth 14 C - D
#9 m10 sharp ninth 15 C - D#
10 M10, d11 16 C - E
11 P11 Eleventh 17 C - F
#11 A11 Sharp eleventh 18 C - Gb
b13 m13 Thirteenth 20 C - Ab
13 M13 Thirteenth 21 C - A

M = Major
m = minor
P = Perfect (1, 4, 5, and 8)
d = diminished (b5)
A = augmented
TT = Tri-Tone (b5)
Semitone = one half step on the fretboard

Chords and Scales

Intervals is the element that chords, scales, and all music are built by.

Triads

The major triad chords are buildt by piling minor thirds (3 frets) on top of major thirds (4 frets). Minor triads are buildt in reverse order.

Major triads are build by stacking minor third on major thirds.

|-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|… |-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|—|-5-|—|—|… |—|-3-|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|… |—|—|-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|… |—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|—|-5-|… |-1-|—|—|—|-3-|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|…

Minor triads are build by piling major triads on minor triads.

|-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|… |-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|—|-5-|—|—|… |b3-|—|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|… |—|—|-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|… |—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|—|-5-|… |-1-|—|—|b3-|—|—|—|-5-|—|—|—|—|-1-|—|—|…

Scales

Notes and Intervals on The Guitar Fretboard - C Major Scale

  
        NOTES         INTERVALS   
 0  |E|A|D|G|B|E|   |3|6|2|5|7|3| 
    =============   ============= 
 1  |F| | | |C|F|   |4| | | |1|4| 
 2  | |B|E|A| | |   | |7|3|6| | | 
 3  |G|C|F| |D|G|   |5|1|4| |2|5| 
 4  | | | |B| | |   | | | |7| | | 
 5  |A|D|G|C|E|A|   |6|2|5|1|3|6| 
 6  | | | | |F| |   | | | | |4| | 
 7  |B|E|A|D| |B|   |7|3|6|2| |7| 
 8  |C|F| | |G|C|   |1|4| | |5|1| 
 9  | | |B|E| | |   | | |7|3| | | 
 10 |D|G|C|F|A|D|   |2|5|1|4|6|2| 
 11 | | | | | | |   | | | | | | | 
 12 |E|A|D|G|B|E|   |3|6|2|5|7|3|