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Lesson 4.9 - Intervals (Augmented and Diminished)

In Lesson 3.7 you learned the prefixes major, minor and perfect as applied to intervals. To summarize; 4ths, 5ths and Octaves are perfect. 2nds, 3rds, 6ths and 7ths are major if they occur in the major scale of the lower note.
2nds, 3rds, 6ths and 7ths are major if they occur in the major scale of the lower note

Minor intervals are a semitone less than major intervals.
Minor intervals are a semitone less than major intervals


In this lesson there are two more prefixes as applied to intervals

Augmented and Diminished

Perfect and major intervals can be augmented 
(increased by a semitone)

Perfect and minor intervals can be diminished 
(decreased by a semitone).

Let's consider some examples


F to A is a major 3rd (A is the 3rd note of F major) F to A sharp is an  augmented  3rd (increased by a semitone) F to A flat is a minor 3rd (decreased by a semitone) F to A double flat is a diminished 3rd (a minor 3rd decreased by yet another semitone).
F to A is a major 3rd (A is the 3rd note of F major)
F to A sharp is an  augmented  3rd (increased by a semitone)
F to A flat is a minor 3rd (decreased by a semitone)
F to A double flat is a diminished 3rd (a minor 3rd decreased by yet another semitone).

F to B flat is a perfect  4th (B flat is the 4th note of F major and remember there is no such thing as a major or minor 4th) F to B natural is an augmented 4th. (Increased by a semitone). F to B double flat is a  diminished  4th (Decreased by a semitone)
F to B flat is a perfect  4th (B flat is the 4th note of F major and remember there is no such thing as a major or minor 4th)
F to B natural is an augmented 4th. (Increased by a semitone).
F to B double flat is a  diminished  4th (Decreased by a semitone).


Many people find this quite complicated but if you follow this flow chart you can't go wrong.

For 2nds, 3rds, 6ths & 7ths If the upper note is in the major scale of the lower note it is MAJOR If it is a semitone less it is MINOR If it is a semitone more it is AUGMENTED If it is 2 semitones less it is DIMINSHED For 4ths, 5ths and Octaves.  If the upper note is in the major scale of the lower note it is PERFECT. If it is a semitone less it is DIMINISHED If it is a semitone more it is AUGMENTED
For 2nds, 3rds, 6ths & 7ths
  • If the upper note is in the major scale of the lower note it is MAJOR
  • If it is a semitone less it is MINOR
  • If it is a semitone more it is AUGMENTED
  • If it is 2 semitones less it is DIMINSHED
For 4ths, 5ths and Octaves. 
  • If the upper note is in the major scale of the lower note it is PERFECT.
  • If it is a semitone less it is DIMINISHED
  • If it is a semitone more it is AUGMENTED.
The only problem may arise if the lower note is one you do not know the major scale of, Csharp to A flat for example.

If you asked the interval between C sharp and A flat first consider the major scale of a note you do know i.e. C major.

Now C - A is a major 6th 
A is 6th note of C major

so C# to A is a semitone less i.e. a minor 6th
C sharp to A is a minor 6th

and C# to Ab would be a diminished 6th
C sharp to A flat is a diminished 6th
Download a FREE worksheet with answers for this lesson HERE


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