Hi,

Today we continue our series on hearing intervals.

In Part 1 we talked about:

  • ascending minor 2nd (same sound as augmented unison)
  • ascending major 2nd
  • ascending minor 3rd (same sound as augmented seconds)

Today, in Part 2 we will talk about:

  • ascending major 3rd
  • ascending perfect 4th
  • ascending augmented 4th (same sound as diminished 5th)
  • ascending perfect 5th
Ascending major thirds

A major 3rd is made of 4 semi-tones (ie : 2 whole-tones)1
Every major thirds share a common sound.

It can be B-D♯ or C-E or A♭-C ...

Note that G-C♭ is made of a 4 semi-tones too. But the name of this interval is diminished 4th. Since major thirds and diminished 4th correspond to the same width (4 semi-tone), they share the same characteristic sound. So what applies to major thirds also applies to diminished 4th.

Here are some examples :

You'll easily recognize this sound.

Listen carefully to the first two notes of this ("O"-"WHEN") :

You can use this famous song to remember the sound of a major third. (or diminished 4th)

Ascending Perfect fourths

An ascending perfect 4th is made of 5 semi-tones.

Every perfect 4th share a common sound.

It can be B-E or E-A or A♭-D♭ or C-F...

Here are some examples of perfect 4th:

Listen carefully to the first two notes of "La Marseillaise", the national anthem of France:

Ascending Augmented fourths

An augmented 4th , (and a diminished 5th) is made of 6 semi-tones (3 whole-tones). This interval is often called a "triton"

Every augmented 4th (and diminished 5th) share a common sound.

It can be B-E♯* or F-B *or *C-F♯...

Note that B-F is made of 6 semi-tones too. But the name of this interval is diminished 5th. Since augmented fourths and diminished fifths have the same width (6 semi-tones), they share the same characteristic sound.

Here are some examples of augmented fourths and diminished fifths:

Listen carefully to the first two vowels of this ("THE"-"SIM") :

Ascending Perfect fifths

A perfect 5th is made of 7 semi-tones.

Every perfect 5th shares a common sound.

It can be B-F♯ or E-B or G-D or B♭-F...

Here are some examples of perfect fifths:

Here is an excerpt of "Also sprach Zarathustra", composed by Richard Strauss in 1896, and used in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece "2001 A Space Odyssey". Listen to the trumpets at 0:15.

That's it for now. See you in Part 3 where we will discuss:

  • ascending minor 6th (same sound as augmented 5th)
  • ascending major 6th
  • ascending minor 7th (same sound as augmented 6th)
  • ascending major 7th

Sebastien

  1. If you're not familiar with the terminology "semi-tone", check this. If you're not familiar with intervals, check that