More about intervals

Overview| Next


There are different scales

  • Pentatonic used by aboriginal people around the world.
  • Pythagorean made 400 years BC and was used until end of the 17th century.
  • The harmonic which fits best physically to how we are experiencing music
  • The tempered scale used in our western civilization today

And how can we use this knowledge.

When you are playing violin alone you will most likely try to intone to the harmonic scale. This is the scale that sounds best. When you play harmonic intervals the resonance of the other strings will guide you that you are playing in tune. Beware of the seventh though. The harmonic minor and major seventh are quite far away from the tempered, and many people will feel that you are playing out of tune if you use the harmonics.

When you play together with other instruments you must play according to the tempered scale. The difference is quite small for most notes, but not for all!


Names of interval


Interval name unison half tone whole tone minor third major third fourth tritone fifth minor sixth major sixth minor seventh major seventh octave
half note 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Tone in C-major C C# D Eb E F F# G Ab A Bb B C
Tone in D-major D D# E F F# G G# A Bb B C C# D
Tone in A-major A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A