Interval Identification | Introduction To Intervals (1 of 10)

An interval is defined as the distance, or amount of steps, separating any two notes.

For example, the number of steps separating the note C and the first E above it is four consecutive half steps.


A half step above the note C is the note C#.


C# to D is another half step.


A half step also separates the note D and D#.


And finally, one half step from the note D# is the note E.

Now, whenever any two notes are separated by the distance of four consecutive half steps, we call that an interval of a Major third.


Don't worry. We will go further into this specific type of interval, as well as a number of other intervals not yet discussed, in the upcoming group of videos in this series.

Intervals can either be played harmonically or melodically.

Harmonic Intervals

When two notes are played simultaneously, as in a harmony, we call that a harmonic interval.

Melodic Intervals

A melodic interval occurs when two notes are played in succession. Or in other words, when two notes are sounded one after the other, as in a melody.


An interval can also be identified by the direction it takes on the staff.

Ascending Intervals

When an interval is read from the bottom note to the top note, meaning the note with the lower pitch frequency to the note with the higher pitch frequency, we call that an ascending interval.

Descending Intervals

When the two notes are read from the note with the higher pitch frequency to the note with the lower pitch frequency we call that a descending interval.


Before we move on to the next video in this series, it is important to remember that the only two sets of natural notes which are separated by a half step are B and C, and E and F. All other natural notes are separated by a whole step.