Specific Intervals

Specific intervals are a more complex method of referring to the distance between 2 notes. These intervals are measured using both the difference on the staff, and in terms of steps / semitones. There are 5 different types of specific intervals:

Details of specific intervals

The above table represents the difference between 2 notes in terms of steps / semitones. The content of the table probably doesn’t make any sense right now, so let’s use 3 different examples to clarify how specific intervals are classified:

Examples of specific intervals

Here are the 3 different examples (3 different pairings shown in different colors). From what we learned in the generic intervals lesson, we can immediately see that the pair of notes in red and blue has an interval of a 4th, and the green notes have an interval of a 5th.

To take this a step further and find out the specific interval, we must now look at the difference between the notes in terms of semitones.

Difference in terms of semitones

Looking at the keyboards above, we can now see that the red notes have an interval that is 5 semitones apart, and that the blue and green notes are 6 semitones apart. Now that we know this information as well as the generic intervals, we can refer to the table and find out the specific interval classifications for these 3 examples.

For convenience, I’ve highlighted these in colour below:

Specific interval classification

So we have now found out the that the interval between the red notes shown is a perfect fourth, the blue notes an augmented fourth, and the green notes a diminished fifth.

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