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 3rds (same sound as augmented seconds)

In Part 2 we talked about :

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

Today, in Part 3 we will talk about:

  • ascending minor sixth (same sound as augmented fifth)
  • ascending major sixth
  • ascending minor seventh (same sound as augmented sixth)
  • ascending major seventh

If you have troubles understanding interval names, you can check this post.

Ascending minor sixth

A minor 6th is made of 8 semi-tones[1]
Every ascending minor 6th share a common sound.

It can be C-A♭ or A-F or D♯-B ...

Note that C-G♯ is made of a 8 semi-tones too. But the name of this interval is augmented 5th. Since minor 6th and augmented 5th correspond to the same width (8 semi-tone), they share the same characteristic sound. So what applies to one also applies to the other.

Here are some examples :

You'll easily recognise this sound.

Listen carefully to the first two notes of the trumpet after the short drum intro :

It is called Manhã de Carnaval, composed by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfá and lyricist Antônio Maria.
This is the Gerry Mulligan Sextet version.

You can use this famous song to remember the sound of an ascending minor 6th. (or ascending augmented 5th)

Ascending major sixth

A major 6th is made of 9 semi-tones.

Every ascending major 6th share a common sound.

It can be C-A or D♯-B♯ or A♭-F...

Here are some examples of major 6th :

Listen carefully to the first two notes of John Williams's Raiders of the Lost Ark "love theme" (Marion's theme) :

Ascending minor seventh

A minor seventh 10 semi-tones
Every minor 7th share a common sound.

It can be C-B♭ or D-C or A-G .

Here are some examples of minor sevenths :

Listen carefully to the first words of this song at 0:15 :

Ascending major seventh

A major 7th is made of 11 semi-tones.

Every minor third shares a common sound.

It can be B-A♯ or C-B or B♭-A or D-C♯.

Here are some examples of ascending major sevenths :

Here is the Superman theme composed by one of my favourite composers. At 0:48 there is a major seventh. I always remember the first time I heard this two notes and asked myself "Which interval is this ?"... I love it !

That's it for now. See you in Part 4 where we begin descending intervals, with a whole new set of songs/compositions.

See you,

Articles on the series about intervals:

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