1.11 Second, third, fourth and fifth
|Category: Harmony | Tags: Intervals, Ear training: intervals|
In this chapter you will learn more about the intervals second, third, fourth en fifth. You learn about the character of these intervals. In the videos and examples, I show how to make these intervals. In the exercises, you learn to recognize intervals and you are going to make them yourself. You will also learn to distinguish these intervals by ear.
1. Second: the 2-step interval
The second is an interval of 2 steps. On the piano, it is very easy to play a second. Play two white keys that are next to each other and you have a second. I often hear that people think a second sounds false, or speaking in musical terms, dissonant. Playing a second separately can give that impression.
The second plays an important role in music, especially in melodies and also in chords. In chords, the second, which can sound false when played separately, can suddenly sound very nice and rich in a chord. Much popular music makes use of this interval. The chords are often enriched by a second, which now sounds very beautiful. Listen to chords composed by Debussy, in which each chord has a second at the top:
Which tones do you get if you make seconds on the natural notes?
2. Third: the 3-step interval
The third is an interval with 3 steps. You play a third on the piano when you play two keys with 1 white key in between. Thirds are used very often and everyone thinks they sound good.
The third is one of the most important intervals in music. Chords are made up of thirds. Thirds determine whether a scale or chord is major or minor. The third plays a prominent role in a great deal of music. In classical music as well as pop music, jazz, world or folk music. There are very famous pieces of music built on the interval third, just listen:
Which tones do you get if you make thirds on the natural notes?
3. Fourth: the 4-step interval
The fourth is an interval with 4 steps. Do you want to know what a fourth sounds like? Then sing the 'Ding, ding, dong' of the chlidren's song Brother John (Frère Jacques).
The fourth is a somewhat odd interval. This can occur in different forms. From beautiful to "devilish", or false. There is a story that a certain type of fourth was banned in the Middle Ages, being associated with the devil. However, there is no evidence for this story. This type of fourth is the only interval that has its own name: the tritone. In etude no. 3 by Chopin, you can hear a lot of tritones:
Which tones do you get if you make fourths on the natural notes?
4. Fifth: the 5-step interval
The fifth is an interval with 5 steps. Do you want to play a fifth on the piano? Then place 5 fingers neatly next to each other on 5 white keys and then play your thumb and little finger at the same time or in succession. A fifth sounds very nice! Or to speak in musical terms, consonant.
The fifth, like the third, is one of the most important intervals in music, especially for chords. Chords consist of a third and a fifth. In scales, this fifth tone, the fifth, even has its own name: the dominant. This famous piece about the pink panther starts with just fifths:
Which tones do you get if you make fifths on the natural notes?
Harmony exercise 1c: practise recognizing a second, third, fourth and fifth from musical notation.
Harmony exercise 1d: practise making a second, third, fourth or fifth.
6. Ear training
Ear Training exercise 1f: practise distinguishing the difference between a second, third, fourth and fifth by ear.
Which interval do you hear?
Choise 1: second
Choise 2: third
Choise 3: fourth
Choise 4: fifth
Sing the interval being played to train your inner hearing abilties. Decide which interval is being played.