Topic 3 Intervals

The last aspect that we need to introduce before understanding what the chromatic circle is and how it works are musical intervals. An interval is the distance between two notes. Understanding intervals means being able to understand how to build musical scales and chords, which are the foundation of musical compositions and songs. If we take the C major scale and compare the first note of C gradually with all the other notes it contains, we will obtain the following intervals:

It is quite simple to number them since if C is the first note, D will be the second, E the third F the fourth etc., and when we overlap the first note with the second (C and D) we will call that interval a second. If we overlap C with E, we will obtain a third, and so on. As we have already seen when we have a C together with the next higher C, we call that an octave. The only interval that does not imply a real distance is the first (called unison), which is how you call a note that coincides with itself. So, looking at the pattern, C is repeated twice precisely because it coincides with itself. This interval is not useless since, for example, two different instruments can play in unison (i.e. play the same note written in the same point on the staff), but the effect will be that of a sum of the characteristics (or timbres) of the two instruments, which will generate something new.