How to Read Music – Lesson 20 – Generic Intervals

An interval is a musical measurement between two notes. A generic interval is the measurement of the lines and spaces between two notes.

To find the generic interval between two notes begin by counting the number 1 on the bottom note.

Count up one number for each line and space until you reach the top note.

For example if you have the notes D and A, to count the interval begin on D and count 1. E will be 2, F is 3, G is 4 and the top note A will be 5. So the interval between D and A is a 5th.

In music we common measure the intervals between 1 and 8 lines and spaces. The labels for each are the following:

  • 1 – Unison
  • 2 – 2nd
  • 3 – 3rd
  • 4 – 4th
  • 5 – 5th
  • 6 – 6th
  • 7 – 7th
  • 8 – Octave

There are as many possible intervals as there are lines and spaces between any two notes. But commonly we measure the distance between the two notes as though they were in the same octave to reduce anything large than 8 lines or spaces away down to an octave interval or less.

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  • usa music

    Thanks for this music lesson #20 as im having a hard time to understand the generic intervals. Like what you said there are many possible intervals and im kinda confused with it. Thank you so much.

    • leonharrell

      You’re welcome. My next video will explain specific intervals so hopefully that will clear up your questions, but if not just post your question or email it to me and I’ll see if I can help you understand it better.