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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: What is your favorite musical interval?

October 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

What is your favorite musical interval?

And while we're at it, let's add to this list of tunes that help people remember the intervals. I've compiled this from some old discussions (Like this one, and this one)

Minor 2nd - Jaws

Major 2nd - Frere Jacques, Happy Birthday

Minor 3rd - Greensleeves, This Old Man (slowed down, that's the Barney Song)

Major 3rd - When the Saints Go Marching In

Perfect 4th - Amazing Grace, Here Comes the Bride

Augmented 4th (Tritone): Maria, The Simpsons

Perfect 5th - Scarborough Fair, Twinkle Twinkle

Minor 6th - Love Story

Major 6th - My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Minor 7th - Somewhere (West Side Story)

Major 7th Bali Hai (first and third note of the tune)

Perfect Octave - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Actually, the poll is here if you want to take it: It wouldn't embed. You can also just post your answers!

From Thomas Cooper
Posted on October 14, 2011 at 10:09 PM

I always thought the perfect fourth was beautiful.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 14, 2011 at 10:19 PM

 There is something that is just cool about an augmented 4th.  I also like the minor 6th and its melancholy tone.  I have a hard time with perfect 4ths and 5ths for some reason, I don't hear them well and sometimes get them mixed up with each other.  Just not a "perfect"-ionist, I guess.

I always thought of the theme from the original Star Trek for the minor 7th.

From Carolyn Farnand
Posted on October 14, 2011 at 11:53 PM

Augmented fourth!!!  :) 

From Dessie Arnold
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Here are some tunes I use for teaching intervals:

m2 - Barber of Seville Overture (opening), Dark Eyes (Otchie Chornya)

M3 - Holy Holy Holy, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Bach E Major Violin Concerto 1st movt. opening

m6 - theme song from the original Lassie TV series

M6 - tune from the old NBC logo, On Wings of Song (Mendelssohn)

8ve - Bali Hai (between first and second notes)

It would be great if more people would post contemporary tunes for learning intervals - many of the tunes I know aren't familiar to young kids today (but the converse is probably also true)!  :)

From bill platt
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Favorite interval?

That would be boring.  My favorite interval is like my favorite girlfriend: the one I have now :-)

From Richard Watson
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 1:51 AM

 Diabolis in musica.

From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 4:53 AM
Funny how many of us love the tritone! Maybe b/c it has that beautiful, haunting tension. I don't like it on the piano, but I love it on the violin, perfectly tempered till you can literally feel that amazing consonance of dissonance, like peace and unrest intertwined. I also love the major 7. That amazing chord in the middle mvt of sibelius vc...the heartbreak is in the resolution... ...and the M3, and the m3, and the m6, and.... :) :)
From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 5:07 AM
Speaking of intervals...I watched west side story for the first time last night, after knowing the music for years...such an amazing score. What one can communicate with intervals. And what an amazing genre film/broadway music is-but i'd better not hijack laurie's thread on that one :) another day...
From Julian Stokes
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 7:04 AM

...and I always used to think that intervals were for having drinks and snacks in!

From Ian Stewart
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 8:11 AM

I can't vote as my favourite interval is the unison. Just think of all the wonderful rock riffs, Celtic music, Middle Eastern music, chanting, minimalist music, jazz big bands where 4 trumpets, 3 trombones and 5 saxophones play a unison written out solo.

Regarding violins all the wonderful unison lines in disco music, or the unison cellos on Beatles recordings. No other interval is as powerful.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Context is everything.  I'm fond of the D-Flat octave jumps towards the end of the 1st movement of the Barber violin concerto.

From Rubiantin Mesha Tambunan
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 2:31 PM

i agree with Bill Platt's post :)

From Tony Boone
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Interesting and helpful post and thread. Thanks!

From Trevor Jennings
Posted on October 15, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Although I have no particular favorite intervals in classical repertoire there is occasionally to be found in Irish fiddle music a fourth that is a quarter of a tone sharp – in the key of G it is halfway between C and C#.  In the right context it has a peculiarly haunting quality.
In case anyone is wondering, it is not a C or C# being played out of tune, for the fiddler will play a correct G on the Eing, a correct F# on the D, and a correct C-nat on the Aing, but he may play that sharpened C on the A for a special emotional effect once or twice in the tune when he feels it is appropriate. In Ireland I've heard the sharpened fourth called a "lonesome" note. 


From Ray Randall
Posted on October 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM

  The West Side Story music was basically one song, Maria. Every other piece was a variation of that.  My favorite interval, rehearsal break and join the mob running for the bathrooms.

From Mark Roberts
Posted on October 17, 2011 at 3:39 PM

has anyone else tried the gnu solfege for interval recognition?   I tried it and my guess were worse than random and did not improve.   Any suggestions on how to improve at interval recognition? 

From Paul Deck
Posted on October 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Diminished 9th -- Moonlight Sonata, first movement.

I mean, why stop at an octave?

Mark -- try picking them out on the piano.  Sometimes the visual aspect of the keyboard can provide a little extra mental advantage.

From bill platt
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 3:53 AM

Nothing beats fretted instruments (guit, mando, uke, banjo etc) for recognizing. You can see and count them.


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