How to Read Music – Lesson 21 – Specific Intervals

A specific interval is the distance between any two notes measured in halfsteps.

A specific interval will be different from the generic interval because the generic interval is the number of lines and spaces, which will not line up with the number of halfsteps.

Specific intervals tell us something abou the quality of the intervals such as if the interval is major, minor, augmented, diminished or perfect.

To measure a specific interval begin with the bottom note and count 1 for the first half step between the bottom note and the next half step up. Proceed by counting up 1 for each half step until you reach the top pitch.

Here is a list of the number of half steps and the specific interval name:

  • 1 – minor 2nd
  • 2 – major 2nd
  • 3 – minor 3rd
  • 4 – major – 3rd
  • 5 – perfect 4th
  • 6 – tritone
  • 7 – perfect 5th
  • 8 – minor 6th
  • 9 – major 6th
  • 10 – minor 7th
  • 11 – major 7th
  • 12 – octave

To help you remember and more easily see this this information visually, you can download the free Specific Intervals poster.

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    • Aaron Garrett III

      How often do you post these lessons?

      Please continue doing what you’re doing. It is a tremendous help to those of us who are trying to learn music theory but are pressed for time.

      Thanks for your commitment to education.

      • leonharrell

        Hey Aaron,

        I usually post several times a week but I am getting married this week so I won’t post again until late next week. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the lessons. Be sure to subscribe to the free newsletter for all my other info.

    • nyc artist

      Hi Mr Leon, I just want to say thank you to this site of yours and I appreciate your effort to post many guides here about guitar chords. And also congrats, you will be now a loving husband but please don’t forget your site here. I did enjoyed staying here as well as learned many things.

      • leonharrell

        Hi nyc artist,

        Thanks for your comments, I am glad that you like the lessons. I will be adding more soon. Let me know if you have any questions or lesson you would like to see in the future.

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