Where does the word “Interval” come from?


The word “Interval” comes from the Latin word “Intervallum” which means “space between two walls”. 

What is a musical Interval? 

A musical Interval is the distance between two pitches. 

What is meant by the phrase, “the distance between to pitches”? 

When we speak of the distances between to pitches, we are simply comparing how much higher or lower one pitch is to another. 

What do intervals look like on the piano keyboard? 

On the piano keyboard, an interval is the distance from one key to some other key. 

What do intervals look like on the staff? 

On, the staff, an interval is the distance from one line or space to some other line or space. 

What is a melodic interval? 

A melodic interval is two pitches heard separately. 

What is a harmonic interval? 

A harmonic interval is two pitches heard simultaneously. 


A ratio is a comparison of two quantities. 


Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician who lived from 570495 BC. 


A monochord is an ancient instrument with one string used as a device to measure the ratios between pitches. 

What did Pythagoras discover? 

Pythagoras discovered that musical pitches have certain mathematical ratios to one another. 

What ratio produces the interval of an octave? 

The ratio of 2:1 produces the interval of an octave. 

What ratio produces the interval of a 5th? 

The ratio 3:2 produces the interval of a 5th. 

What ratio produces the interval of a 4th. 

The ratio 4:3 produces the interval of a 4th. 

What do we call it when pitches sound well together? 

When pitches sound well together we call it consonance. 

What do we call it when pitches do not sound well together? 

When pitches do not sound well together, we call it a dissonance. 

Can consonance and dissonance be measured? 

Consonance and dissonance can be measured by the simplicity of the ratio. The simpler the ratio, the stronger the consonance. 


A scale is a series of 8 pitches specifically spaced from one another. 


A major scale is a series of 8 pitches in the following sequence: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. 

Who developed the modern scale? 

The modern scale was developed over thousands of years by many different minds. 

What is the starting point and basis for the scale? 

The starting point and basis for the scale is the octave (8th). 

Why is the octave the starting point and basis for the scale? 

The octave is the starting point and basis for the scale because the octave encompasses all other pitches within it. 

What impact did Pythagoras’ discovery regarding the mathematical relationships between intervals have on the development of the scale? 

Pythagoras’ discovery regarding the mathematical relationships between intervals resulted in the theoretical basis for the whole tone. 


A whole tone is the difference between an interval of a 5th and an interval of a 4th. 


A tetrachord is a series four pitches within the space of a fourth, most commonly consisting of two whole tones and one semitone. 


A semitone is the difference between a fourth and two whole tones 

Why is the discovery of the whole and semitone important? 

The discovery of the whole tone and the semitone is important because they are the basis for how many and which pitches are in the musical scale. 

What do two overlapping tetrachords result in? 

Two overlapping tetrachords result in the seven notes of the Greek scale. 

What are two most common methods of reading music? 

The two most common methods of reading music are reading by number and reading by letter. 

What is the most efficient way of reading must. 

The most efficient way of reading music is reading by order. 

What is reading by order? 

reading by order is the ability to see the mathematical structure and organized patterns inherent in the music. 

Why is reading by order important? 

Reading by order is important because you will understand what you are playing; by making sense of the notes on the page. you will increase the speed at which you will read and learn music 

Where should your eyes be looking on the page? 

Your eyes should always be a few beats ahead of what your hands are playing. 

What is the direction of the musical line? 

The direction of the musical line is the shape the music takes on the page and conforms to how the music sounds. 

Why is recognizing the musical line important? 

Recognizing the musical line is important because it will reduce the time it takes the fingers to find the next key to play and increase your sight reading ability. 
