Music Monday! This week, intervals. This is going to be a thread, mostly because of the many examples! Intervals are the "distance" between two notes. In Western music (12 notes and all that), the smallest interval is a minor second (next key on a piano; the black keys count, too!):

And the second smallest is a (major) second (two keys apart on a piano):

Another important one is the fifth:


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The famous "augmented fifth" we have mentioned before:

And the last important one is "octave", which is the distance between a note and the next note with the same name:

If you want to remember how it sounds, it's the first jump in Somewhere over the rainbow! (G# to the next G# in this case, check

Next, let's compare two songs and their intervals...


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The beginning of Jeremy is pretty "intervalic", as in it jumps a fair amount and the jumps are relatively big, while in Black the jumps are pretty tame.

Jeremy starts with: "At home, drawing pictures / of mountain tops" (C# C# ⤴ D ⤵ C# ⤵ A ⤵ E / ⤴ C# ⤴ D ⤵ C# ⤴ E ⤵ C#):

Try the notes here if you want to see how far apart they are:


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In contrast, the beginning of Black goes up very slowly. Black starts with: "Sheets of empty canvas" (E ⤴ F# ⤴ G# ⤴ A ⤴ B ⤵ A)

Actually, if you look in, you will see that it's the smallest steps in that scale!

See the next posts for a bonus, explaining why we repeat note names after a while (spoiler: because they are interchangeable, sort of!).


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Notes with the same name (but different octaves) can be used in the same context and still sound good (just lower/higher, but still match the music). Consider Aha's Take on Me, a song with some very high notes at the end of the chorus: "I'll be gone / In a day or two" (notes are "D ⤴ A ⤴ B / ⤴ E ⤴ F# ⤵ E ⤵ D ⤴ A") (honk if you never understood that lyric!):


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You could sing the "in a day or two" like the original, but if you don't reach that high, you could sing one octave below like in this version:

Try on the online piano with the notes on the previous post!


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I realised that I never mentioned a small detail: the notes I wrote for the Take On Me chorus are in a different key!

The reason is that Music Explorer has very few notes, so it's easier to experiment with the song in D major instead of in the original key.

Anyway, this is another reminder that the full archive of Music Monday posts is available at (including an RSS feed!). In that version I did explain the key change.

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