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West Midlands Barbershop Harmony Club

Sightsinging part 2

Submitted by George Badland on Tue, 12/07/2016 - 17:10


So, think of the scale as a sort of template or a pattern of tone intervals and semitone intervals. Whatever key you are in, the pattern will remain the same I.e. TTSTTTS.

Now  let's consider the intervals in the scale.

You will be familiar with Rod talking about thirds and sevenths and fifths, all of which are the names of intervals in a scale. So what exactly is say, a third? 

Well, the answer is very simple indeed. A third is the third step up the scale. The only thing you must remember is that you MUST count the starting place as ONE. That is very important. Whatever note the scale starts from, that note is counted as ONE. e.g. DO would be one, RE would be two and MI is three. So every step up the scale will have a number that describes each step's position up the scale. What's more, we don't have to stop counting when we reach the octave. We can continue counting up tenths, elevenths, thirteenths, fifteenths etc. But let us stick with the seven notes of the scale for the moment.

Now, if you want to hear what a 'fifth' sounds like, just sing up the scale DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL or 1,2,3,4,5. and the note you sing for SOL or 5 would be the sound of the 'fifth' in that particular scale. Similarly for any other interval note.

To a beginner, perhaps the most surprising thing is that you only have to learn just ONE scale because ALL other scales follow exactly the same pattern of intervals. So that's nice isn't it.

If we now consider the scale of C, which on the keyboard contains just the white notes.

We start with C which is ONE, which can also be referred to as the 'root' or 'keynote'. The rest of the notes moving up the scale would be D, E, F, G, A, B and finally C again an octave higher than the starting C.

So the full scale of C would have notes named:

C,D,E,F,G,A,B, C. And the intervals will be 1 or root,2 or second, 3 or third 4 or fourth, 5 or fifth, 6 or sixth, 7 or seventh 8 or octave.

Question 1.  In the scale of C then what is the seventh interval note?     If you think it's a B you are correct.

Question 2. What is the 'distance' between the third and fourth intervals, i.e between E and F? Is it a tone or a semitone?

If you said tone you would be incorrect because it is a semitone.

My comment in the first part about musicians trying to bring in facts still applies at this stage.;0)