Interval Inversions

Quick, what’s the interval between A and C?

Ok, it’s a trick question. The answer is it depends on which octaves the notes are in, and specifically which note is higher. That’s the concept of interval inversions that I will talk about here. I suggest reviewing my lessons on The Musical Alphabet and Intervals.

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Pythagoras and Me

As someone who is interested in both music and science, I find myself fascinated with the concept of scales. Why are they the way they are? If music is so mathematical, why does it seem so arbitrary. There are 12 notes in an octave, but what’s so special about this number 12? Then the major scale is formed from seven of those notes, which is strange. If the major scale is so nice and melodious and all that, why aren’t the notes evenly spaced? Well, I set out to find some answers. I spent hours scouring the internet, visiting the library, reading books, scratching figures in a notebook. You don’t have to do that, because here’s what I found out, all nicely summarized.

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Why Learn Music Theory?

So you’re a guitarist. You play by ear, you play what sounds good. You’ve never taken any theory lessons, and that hasn’t stopped you from writing kick-ass songs. Why should you care whether you’re playing in a minor key or a major key? Why should you care about intervals and note names and chord alterations and chord substitutions? Well, I’ll tell you why.
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Music Theory Lesson: Intervals

Category: Music theory

Level: Beginner

In the last lesson, we talked about the musical alphabet, and how notes are named. We discussed that the distance between two adjacent notes is called a half-step, and that two half steps is called a whole-step. Very exciting, I'm sure.

The generic term for the distance between two notes - any two notes - is an interval. Turns out there are names for lots of intervals, not just the half-step and whole-step. And some of these intervals have more than one name. Remember how I said that much of music theory is giving fancy names to things you may already understand? Well, here is a perfect example. Intervals are something we get instinctively. It's when they get names like "diminished seventh" that people run for the hills. Don't. In this lesson, you can listen to them, hear them in context, and see where they are used in real life, and not just read about them abstractly.

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Music Theory: The Musical Alphabet

Music Theory

Level: Beginner

This article presents an introduction to the way musical notes are named and referred to. If you already know even a little music theory, this may seem pretty basic for you, so you may want to skip ahead or come back for more advanced lessons. If you’re a “play by ear” musician, you may not see the need to learn any theory at all. In many ways, music theory is giving names and complicated explanations to things we already know instinctively. Still, the next time you’re jamming and someone asks you to play an A sharp, it would be good to understand what that means. In addition, this lesson provides a base for later, more interesting, lessons. Continue reading Music Theory: The Musical Alphabet