Currently doing Exercise 2-1-1 and got a bit confused on counting intervals.

In your video you explain how to count say a 4th from C, and then go on to talk about the qualities of intervals.

So when I tried to count a P4 from F, I wound up on B, when it in fact is supposed to be a Bb (which I found out after googling some).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t recall hearing you talk about how many half steps there are in each interval?

Counting “4 notes from C” makes a P4, but doing the same from F and you’ll end up a half step too far for a P4.

With this in mind, it’d be awesome to hear if you could share some tips on how to memorise the size of each interval, I’ve been doing this:

Major 2nd = 2 half steps

Major 3rd = 4 half steps

Perfect 4th = 5 half steps

Perfect 5th = 7 half steps

Major 6th = 9 half steps

Major 7th = 11 half steps

Perfect 8th = 12 half steps (octave)

From there I go -1 half step for minor and dim, +1 half step for aug.

Are there any easier methods to memorising this?

Remember, there are two things we are thinking about with intervals in regards to diatonic music – the distance and the quality.

I am not saying in the video that every time you count up 4 spaces, you will get a perfect 4th, you will just get a 4th. So C to F, is a 4th, and F to B is a 4th, just as D to G, E to A and so on.

Once you know the distance, then you must figure out the quality. So C to F is a perfect 4th, because, as you point out, there are 5 half-steps. F to B is an augmented 4th because there are 6 half-steps.

In the context of C major, without any accidentals, the distance of the 4th scale degree to the 7th scale degree, is always an augmented 4th.

While counting half-steps is accurate, it is far less useful for composing tonal diatonic music.

The goal of learning and practicing intervals, is not so you get good at calculating intervals. It is so you don’t have to think about them anymore. They just make sense.

So learning them from the reference point of scales will be far more beneficial for understanding tonal music, than by half-steps.

Thanks for your response!

I see, the point of learning it from a point of tonal music, thanks for pointing that out.

However, I was aiming at the fact that I was trying to do the 2-1-1 exercise using what I learnt in the module so far (and previous modules), and I failed at it because even though you didn’t say counting 4 always made a perfect 4th, neither did you point out how to identify the 4th as being perfect, augmented or diminished.

Well, at least I didn’t understand it if you did hehe.

Please don’t take my feedback as complaining, I’m just both trying to get the most out of this course while also providing feedback on the things I have a hard time understanding. 🙂

//Kjell