Now that we know what guitar intervals are, let’s look a little deeper.
Ever wondered what makes a major scale a major scale? For that matter what makes any scale sound the way they sound?
Intervals aren’t hard. Just misunderstood!
The answer is that they are all made up of a unique collection of intervals. The collection of intervals is different for each scale. For example; a major scale has a different set of intervals that say a melodic minor scale or a harmonic minor scale.
So let’s start with the Major scale.
As usual we will start with C major as it is easy for us to understand quickly. C major is made up of the note C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Now if we look at the interval distance between C and D we get a Major 2nd (if we shift to frets or two semitones up we get a major 2nd. Just one fret or semitone would give us a Minor 2nd.
So far we have the Root note (C) and the Major 2nd (D).
Next let’s look at the interval between C and E. There is 4 frets (or semitones) between them so it is therefore a Major 3rd.
Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd. Going well so far.
Next we look at the distance between C and F. 5 frets (semitones) apart. That gives us a Perfect 4th.
Between C and G (7 frets or semitones) we get a Perfect 5th.
C and A gives us a Major 6th (9 frets or semitones) and between C and B a Major 7th (11 frets or semitones).
Now we know that a major scale is made up of a Root note, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th and a Major 7th.
Lets compare to a natural minor scale which is made up of the Root, Major 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 6th, and Minor 7th.
From that we can work out what notes we need to use for a C natural minor scale. C(Root), D(Major 2nd), Eb(Minor 3rd) F(Perfect 4th), G(Perfect 5th), Ab(Minor 6th), Bb(Minor 7th).
Now it is your turn. Work out the following scales and intervals for me and write them int he comment box below.
C Dorian mode – Intervals are Root, Major 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Minor 7th. Work out what notes we need.
C Melodic Minor- Notes are C, D, Eb, F, G, A, B. Work out what intervals we have.
I hope you have learned something here. Intervals a building blocks and can be really useful for us guitarists.
In the next post on intervals I will put together a video to give you some visual context.