This post will end our journey with interval recognition.

In Part 6 we talk about :

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

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

Descending minor 6th

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

It can be C-E or F-A or G♭-B♭ ...

Here are some examples of descending minor 6th :

Listen to the first two piano notes at 0:10. That's a descending minor 6th. One of the most famous... from the soundtrack composed by Francis Lai for the film Love Story.

As always, try to remember this song, it will help you to memorize this interval.

Descending major 6th

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

All descending major 6th share a common sound.

It can be C-E♭ or D♯-F♯ or B♭-D♭...

Here are some examples of descending major 6th :

Listen carefully to the lyrics "I'M - START" at 1:07. This song (Man in the Mirror ) by Michael Jackson will help you memorize this interval

This is the sound of a descending perfect 4th.

Descending minor 7th

A minor 7th has a wide of 10 semi-tones.

It can be **C-**D or D-E, G♭-A♭ among others...

Here are some examples of descending minor 7th :

The song that follows is Watermelon Man, composed by Herbie Hancock, a pianist who has accompanied evolution of jazz, funk, hip-hop and electronic music from 1960 until today.
At 0:15 , you can hear the first note of the song melody, (an Eb), and at 0:18 the second note, (an F) both played by saxophone and trumpet. That's a descending minor 7th.

Descending major 7th

A major 7th has a width of 11 semi-tones.
Every descending major 7th share a common sound. (not very common ... )

It can be C-D♭ or D-E♭ or E-F or G-A♭ among others...

Here are some examples of descending major 7th :

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is one of the most famous compositions of Modest Mussorgsky (it was composed in in 1874 ). It's a suite in ten movements for piano.
In fact, we often listen to the orchestral version. ( Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel ! )
The 9th movement is called "The Hut on Fowl's Legs" it begins with a descending major 7th (F# - G)

Waou, it's been a long journey trough intervals !
One last thing : here is a reference table with all ascending and descending intervals, and corresponding songs :

interval type distance in semi-tones Song (link)
ascending minor 2nd 1 Jaws
ascending major 2nd 2 Major scale
ascending minor 3rd 3 Smoke on the Water
ascending major 3rd 4 O When the Saints
ascending perfect 4th 5 La marseillaise
ascending augmented 4th 6 The Simpsons
ascending perfect 5th 7 Also sprach Zarathustra (2001 a space odyssey)
ascending minor 6th 8 Black Orpheus
ascending major 6th 9 Marion's Theme (Indiana Jones)
ascending minor 7th 10 Somewhere
ascending major 7th 11 Superman

And the descending intervals table :

interval type distance in semi-tones Song (link)
descending minor 2nd 1 Jurassic Park
descending major 2nd 2 The King of the Golden Hall (The Lord of the Ring movie)
descending minor 3rd 3 The Girl from Ipanema
descending major 3rd 4 Summertime
descending perfect 4th 5 Eine Klein Nachtmusik
descending augmented 4th 6 Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough
descending perfect 5th 7 Superman
descending minor 6th 8 Love Story
descending major 6th 9 Man in the Mirror
descending minor 7th 10 Watermelon Man
descending major 7th 11 Pictures of an Exhibition (9th movement)

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 ↩︎