Intervals/theory help&understanding

theWhiteKeys

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
193
Reaction score
56
Ok here is where I am at, I was explained intervals starting with C as the root note which looks like:

C-root
C#-minor 2nd
D-Major 2nd
Eb-Minor 3rd
E-Major 3rd
F-perfect 4th
F#-minor 5th, Augmented 4th
G-perfect 5th
G#-minor 6th, Augmented 5th
A-Major 6th
A#-minor 7th
B-Major 7th, Augmented 6th
C-Octave, perfect 8th

From which you can obtain scales/keys..for this example I will pull the C-Major Key...which is WWHWWWH

C D E F G A B C..now here is the confusion if we were to play chords (barre chords for this example) It would be C-Maj, D-min, E-min, F-Maj, G-Maj, A-minor, B7, C-Major

Because I was taught in-hand with the major scale or key it goes
R-Major
W-Minor
W-Minor
H-Major
W-Major
W-Minor
W-Minor 7th
H-Major

Now here is where i am ball t!ts confused. If you were to ask me whats the interval between C and D..it's a major 2nd...but why would it be played as a minor chord? Am i missing something here?
 

shrp11

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
26
Reaction score
18
First of all, the seventh chord in the key is NOT a dominant 7th, but rather it's a minor 7th flat 5.

I think you're confusing root motion with chord quality. The reason the II chord is minor is because the interval INSIDE the chord between the root (D in this case) and the third (F) is a "minor third" ( a major third would make the relationship between D and F#, that's a common change, but a "non diatonic" one).

So, as the major scale has a pattern of whole steps and half steps, so do chords; major chords feature a major third between the root and third (W,W), minor chords feature a minor third between the root and third (W,H).

Make sense?
 

theWhiteKeys

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
193
Reaction score
56
First of all, the seventh chord in the key is NOT a dominant 7th, but rather it's a minor 7th flat 5.

I think you're confusing root motion with chord quality. The reason the II chord is minor is because the interval INSIDE the chord between the root (D in this case) and the third (F) is a "minor third" ( a major third would make the relationship between D and F#, that's a common change, but a "non diatonic" one).

So, as the major scale has a pattern of whole steps and half steps, so do chords; major chords feature a major third between the root and third (W,W), minor chords feature a minor third between the root and third (W,H).

Make sense?


Wow okay i think i got it, I was trying to view it in too simple of terms, its acutally more complicated than i thought....so let me try this out to make sure i got it right...C to A would be a major 6th interval BUT since an A chord consists of A C# E, and there is no C# in the key of C...it is an Aminor chord..A C E

do i have it right? wow how do you guys remember all of this stuff on the fly or at will...because i know it is different for the minor scale..it goes WHWWHWW...what chords in that formula are minor and which are major? and what other ones besides the major and minor are worth knowing at an early stage

thanks a lot!!
 

LiveSimply

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
851
Reaction score
650
because i know it is different for the minor scale..it goes WHWWHWW...what chords in that formula are minor and which are major?

The natural Minor Scale would have the following chord tones. [edit: removed "Harmonized"]

i - min
iid - Dim
III - Maj
iv - min
v - min
VI - Maj
VII - Maj

ive only been practicing for a year..im so far behind :(

You seem to be tackling subject matter that many guitarists often don't try to understand early on.... I think you are more than right on track
 

theWhiteKeys

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
193
Reaction score
56
The Harmonized Minor Scale would have the following chord tones.

i - min
iid - Dim
III - Maj
iv - min
v - min
VI - Maj
VII - Maj



You seem to be tackling subject matter that many guitarists often don't try to understand early on.... I think you are more than right on track

now what makes up a diminished chord? i dont believe i am familiar with those yet.

and in response to your second statment, ive been trying really hard to be as best as I can, and knowing basic theory such as this is essential. I did what you implied what other guitarists have done. In my first few months i focused solely on chord shapes. I know most of the CAGED system, triads, a few 7th, 9th, and 13th fingerings. Now Im trying to understand the theory behind it so I can go on to creat my own chords and to better understand how to fit everything together.
 

LiveSimply

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
851
Reaction score
650
now what makes up a diminished chord? i dont believe i am familiar with those yet.

and in response to your second statment, ive been trying really hard to be as best as I can, and knowing basic theory such as this is essential. I did what you implied what other guitarists have done. In my first few months i focused solely on chord shapes. I know most of the CAGED system, triads, a few 7th, 9th, and 13th fingerings. Now Im trying to understand the theory behind it so I can go on to creat my own chords and to better understand how to fit everything together.

A Diminished Triad is a minor triad that has been made "smaller" by lowering the 5th by 1/2 a step.

Also please note that I was referencing the chords in the natural minor scale. The harmonic minor's chords would be different and a web search can give you that pretty readily.

Your approach is sound and I commend you. Hopefully you are also learning existing songs with all those chords you are becoming familiar with so that you can see not only how they are applied harmonically, but, importantly, to also get your rhythmic chops up. No use in knowing a bunch of chords if you can't make them sound good. :dude:
 

shrp11

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
26
Reaction score
18
Very easy to "see" on a keyboard :) I think the problem lies in the way guitarists are often taught - the CAGED system, for example, teaches your fingers how to be like an autoharp, but dosen't really teach you the proper way to visualize diatonic scales and chords.

The way the OP is learning is absolutely correct, btw, but would be better visualized with a keyboard.
 

LiveSimply

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
851
Reaction score
650
Shrp, but wouldn't other instruments (other than the keyboard) have that same sort of difficulty in visually linking the two?

Actually, one of the advantages of the CAGED system was that it at a minimum it links the scales to an underlying root based chord. With some effort you could go beyond that and map out other harmonized chords within the scale, but it certainly would not be as intuitive or as easy to see as in the keyboard.

I must admit I've had a desire to try to pick up some knowledge of the keyboard. It must open up great possibilities, especially when composing tunes. Unfortunately having picked up the guitar late in life, I'm too busy playing catch up there to try to fit something new into the schedule.
 

shrp11

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
26
Reaction score
18
Live,

Yes, I think the keyboard is the only instrument that allows for an intuitive and easy-to-see road map of chords and scales. It's also the only instrument that covers the entire range of the orchestra (in 88 key form) and allows for a separate left hand, right hand performance of melody-harmony (and bass lines).

This is why I believe basic piano (or keyboard) should be required study for any musician interested in harmony, theory and composition - if one learns, in the first year of study, the basic layout for scales and chords, then everything else comes along atop that.

Piano is my first instrument, it made it very easy for me to dive into the guitar years later, I just took everything I knew from piano and applied it to guitar.

Ed
 

huw

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
3,595
Reaction score
4,883
First off, congratulations on making the decision to do the work & learn the theory. IMHO it's a definite benefit to do it properly. :)

That being said, I'm going to make a couple of points about your terms - these may seem picky, but get it right now & it'll stop you being confused later.

Ok here is where I am at, I was explained intervals starting with C as the root note which looks like:

C-root

Yes

C#-minor 2nd

Not quite: C# is an "augmented root". The minor 2nd is Db. Think about it, try and see why, I'll tell you in a minute...

D-Major 2nd
Eb-Minor 3rd
E-Major 3rd
F-perfect 4th

Fine so far
F#-minor 5th, Augmented 4th

Ok - F# is the augmented 4th. The diminished 5th (never "minor 5th") is Gb. These are enharmonics (two names for same note) but it's important: the 5th is G, so an altered 5th most be an altered G. See the distinction?

G-perfect 5th

Yes

G#-minor 6th, Augmented 5th

Again, a similar distinction: G# is an augmented 5th; the minor 6th is Ab - literally the 6th made smaller.

A-Major 6th

Yes

A#-minor 7th

Opposite problem here - a minor 7th is Bb (A# is the very uncommon augmented 6th).

B-Major 7th, Augmented 6th
Major 7th yes, aug 6th no. Wrong pitch, not just wrong name.

There is a convention there that is important. Count up the letter names from the root (regardless of # & b) and that gives the basic degree, eg (in key of C) an A is always some kind of 6th, be it major or minor (or augmented or, rarely, diminished). Conversely, if something is described as any kind of 5th (diminished, perfect or augmented), it must be some kind of G (Gb, G, G#).

So now you can (I hope) see why the minor 2nd should be Db and not C#. The 2ndnote up from C is D, so a minor second must also be "some kind" of D...

It's a simple idea, but often skipped over by beginers. It goes hand in hand with the idea that when writing a scale we only (wherever possible) use each letter name once - so a scale may contain F# & G, but not Gb & G.

Get the names straight & it'll make a lot of what you read clearer.

(The other points in the OP seem to have been covered, so I'll skip them)

:)
 

huw

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
3,595
Reaction score
4,883
The natural Minor Scale would have the following chord tones. [edit: removed "Harmonized"]

i - min
iid - Dim
III - Maj
iv - min
v - min
VI - Maj
VII - Maj

As you say, these are the triads derived from the natural minor. Using the Harmonic Minor gives a different set due to the major 7th:

i min
ii* dim
III+ aug
iv min
V maj
VI maj
vii dim

HOWEVER... ;)

...in practice what happens in many cases is just that we work with the chords from the natural minor, and then on occasion choose the major V chord insted of the minor v.
 

theWhiteKeys

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
193
Reaction score
56
so much useful information going on here....now i know there are never any shortcuts to anything...but is there any easier way to memorize all the different variations instead of going through them all like major WWHWWWH, then minor WHWWHWW..etc and then memorizing what notes fit in to that "formula"?

because right now my process is this (done when i dont have a guitar around)..i work on memorizing the "formula" then ill quiz myself with random different starting root notes. so i know which sharps and flats are in that key and what chords are major and minor..and then when i have my guitar around ill sit down and pick a random root note and think "okay lets go through it using the low E string as the root note, and then ill do it with the A string as the root note and then ill mix the two...and ill continue this "method" until i get through all 6 strings. So in theory eventually ill have free will to jump around where ever on the guitar neck in that key. And I am almost there, I have to take some time to think about some of the jumps, but i can find the I IV V chords anywhere at will, a bit shaky with the rest except on the low E and A strings I have those nailed completely.


Is this over kill? Or am I on the right track to knowing the whole fretboard? To do this with every different formula seems like it would take me forever to learn them all lol so I am hoping there is an easier way
 

JonR

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
2,889
Reaction score
2,578
The way I like to see it (and this is looking back on stuff I've learned over many years) is that intervals are the key to understanding both chords and scales - IF we use the terms properly.

huw's advice is all good (as usual), but here's my $0.02...

PERFECT INTERVALS
Unison, 4th, 5th, octave.

So-called because they have the strongest, purest sounds (due to simple frequency ratios), and make the most fundamental scale divisions.

MAJOR AND MINOR INTERVALS
2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th.

These are "imperfect", having more complicated ratios, and all come in two sizes, because their positions are not fixed.
"Major" means "bigger", "minor" means "smaller" (half-step difference in each case). That's all they mean: nothing to with emotional effect, or scale or chord type. Not yet...

Here's how they lay out in the divisions of an octave:
Code:
1                   4       5                   8
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    m   M   m   M               m   M   m   M
    \ 2 /   \ 3 /               \ 6 /   \ 7 /
An important rule - when it comes to building scales and chords - is that you can only have one of each note letter. If it's a 7-note scale it must have one of each letter; no doubling, and no missing letters. (Of course, pentatonic scales have 2 missing letters, and 8-note diminished scales have to double up one note.)

This rule results in the more well-known rule that major scales (other than C) have sharps or flats but not both.
But it also results in mixed sharps and flats in 3 minor scales:
D harmonic minor: D E F G A Bb C#
G harmonic minor: G A Bb C D Eb F#
G melodic minor: G A Bb C D E F#


When it comes to naming a specific interval between two notes, we count letters first, as huw explained.
So, G#-D would be diminished 5th, because it's 5 notes (GABCD) but a half-step smaller than a perfect 5th (G-D or G#-D#).
But Ab-D - although it sounds identical - is an augmented 4th; because it's 4 notes (ABCD), but a half-step bigger than a perfect 4th (A-D or Ab-Db).


When it comes to naming scales or chords, we tend to use the names of the most significant or noticeable intervals in the scale or chord.

Eg, the most significant interval (when we keep the perfect 4th and/or 5th) is normally the 3rd. Makes a big difference to the sound of the whole thing.
So a "major scale" is one that has a "major" (bigger) 3rd.
A "minor scale" is one that has a "minor" (smaller) 3rd.

Neither name defines the rest of the scale (other than the assumed P4 and P5). Eg, although all the other intervals in the "major scale" happen to be major, the 3 kinds of minor scale contain a mix of major and minor intervals; in melodic minor, only the 3rd is minor, the others are all major.

Similar with chords. Both major and minor chords have a perfect 5th; that's assumed. So the difference is the 3rd; hence the chord names.
When the 5th is altered, that becomes the most noticeable interval. So a "diminished" triad refes to the lowering of the 5th. (It happens to have a minor 3rd, because a normal diatonic scale can't produce a chord with both maj3 and dim5.)
Likewise, the augmented 5th gives its name to the "augmented" triad (which happens to have a major 3rd, because a normal diatonic scale can't produce a chord with both min3 and aug5.)

(Slightly more complicated rules apply when we add 7ths...)
 

JonR

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
2,889
Reaction score
2,578
so much useful information going on here....now i know there are never any shortcuts to anything...but is there any easier way to memorize all the different variations instead of going through them all like major WWHWWWH, then minor WHWWHWW..etc and then memorizing what notes fit in to that "formula"?
Basically no, but there aren't that many formulas:
MAJOR = WWHWWWH
MINOR = major from 6th step, ie WHWWHWW
HARMONIC MINOR = raise 7th degree of minor
MELODIC MINOR = raise 6th and 7th degrees of minor (or lower 3rd of major)

That's pretty much it, until you get to modes...

Uh, oh yeah, modes....:rolleyes: (Ignore the following if it's all too much already, or if you have no idea what this is all about)

MIXOLYDIAN = lower 7th degree of major
LYDIAN = raise 4th degree of major
DORIAN = raise 6th degree of minor
PHRYGIAN = lower 2nd degree of minor
because right now my process is this (done when i dont have a guitar around)..i work on memorizing the "formula" then ill quiz myself with random different starting root notes. so i know which sharps and flats are in that key and what chords are major and minor..and then when i have my guitar around ill sit down and pick a random root note and think "okay lets go through it using the low E string as the root note, and then ill do it with the A string as the root note and then ill mix the two...and ill continue this "method" until i get through all 6 strings. So in theory eventually ill have free will to jump around where ever on the guitar neck in that key. And I am almost there, I have to take some time to think about some of the jumps, but i can find the I IV V chords anywhere at will, a bit shaky with the rest except on the low E and A strings I have those nailed completely.


Is this over kill? Or am I on the right track to knowing the whole fretboard? To do this with every different formula seems like it would take me forever to learn them all lol so I am hoping there is an easier way
This is all good - especially learning chords in various places. But it's a slow process, unfortunately, so don't kill yourself over it. It will all come eventually, no sense in rushing it.

Make sure you have some fun playing songs, in between all the fretboard learning. Don't forget why you're doing all this!
If you don't understand why or how some particular concept or technique applies to the music you're playing or working on, you probably don't need it. Yet...
 

huw

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
3,595
Reaction score
4,883
Here's how they lay out in the divisions of an octave:
Code:
1                   4       5                   8
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    m   M   m   M               m   M   m   M
    \ 2 /   \ 3 /               \ 6 /   \ 7 /

Jon always does good visuals, and this is a beauty. Look closely and you'll see that the intervals between 1 & 4 repeat between 5 & 8. In posh speak, these are the upper (from G to high C) and lower (from C to F) tetrachords, but don't let the names put you off...

What it means is that you have two halves of the scale, each consisting of a perfect 4th (either from root to 4, or from 5 to upper root) and containing two other notes, each with two possible locations.

So you can use that to work out for yourself pretty much every scale you will ever come across (ok, I'm exagerating, but not by much ;) ).

Think about it - with two fixed notes and only two moveable ones, each half of the scale has only four possibilities...

EG from 5 to 8, ie from G to high C:

GABC
GABbC
GAbBC
GAbBbC

Only four possibilities.

Same for the lower half, from 1 to 4, ie from C to F:

CDEF
CDEbF
CDbEF
CDbEbF

Doesn't seem like a lot of material, does it? Not too much to learn...

...but...

...if you mix & match the combinations: four possible upper tetrachords for each of the four lower ones = 4x4 = 16 resultant scales.

Sixteen different scales, all just from the simple idea that there are two possibilities for some of the notes in the scale. Never mind the names (for now), experiment with what sounds you like (some of them sound less pleasing than others).

Now, at this point, hands up anyone wondering to themselves "But, Huw! What about Lydian? That has a #4 - where's that?" Have a bonus point. Or a cookie.

If we make the lower tetrachord between C & F# we double the number of possibilites, so the total number of combinations goes up to 32.

Thirty two scales that we discovered all by ourselves, just by playing with the major & minor versions of the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, & 7th, and the perfect/augmented 4th.

Good grief, we're scientists - so much discovery in one afternoon! I have to go lie down...

:)
 

huw

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
3,595
Reaction score
4,883
PS - I got a little carried away there, so I'll repeat the advice that Jon gave: the theory is great, but always learn some songs so you have something to play.

:)
 

revtime

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
1,128
Reaction score
1,644
Keep in mind all the theory knowledge in the world won't help your chops. Practice, practice some more, and then practice it again. Knowing what notes to hit is one thing, being able to hit them at speed is another.
I am not down playing theory (I've read everything twice). If your playing for others its the ability in your hands not the ability in your brain.
 

theWhiteKeys

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
193
Reaction score
56
I think the OP may have gotten more than he bargained for ;)

True! But I love it lol..... And to everyone yes I am playing songs but only a few! Here is my thought process...I am more focused on theory and technique because I want to learn the right way, by transcribing the way it should be done and not by looking up tabs/videos. Getting the rhythm down is easy, so once you know your basic theory, and by practicing it all over the neck you are essentially ear training so if you hear a sound you know how to recreate that sound and your options. And so far my theory is working, I learned foo fighters big me by ear (very easy song) and simple stuff like the Star Wars theme just by sitting there..thinking of the melody and then finding the proper intervals. I have cheated on a few occasions such as after midnight by Clapton and just a few other songs just to work in a certain technique im trying to perfect like you all suggest. But I'm trying hard to do it mostly by ear.

So to put those at ease, I'm just not focusing on theory
 

Latest Threads



Top