• An Introduction To Tenths and Sevenths

    in Piano,Theory

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    In today’s lesson, we are considering tenths and sevenths.

    These intervals are useful left-hand devices that every serious pianist must be familiar with. But before we get started, let’s review the term interval.

    Review Of Intervals

    The term interval refers the relationship between two notes in terms of the distance between them.

    Intervals can be used as left hand accompaniment for right hand chords. We will be exploring two classes of intervals in this post…

    Simple Intervals

    Compound Intervals

    Simple intervals are intervals within the compass of an octave. Thirds like C to E:

    …fourths like C to F:

    …sixths like C to A:

    …are all simple intervals.

    Compound intervals are intervals that span beyond the range of an octave. Intervals like C to D:

    …a ninth, C to F:

    …an eleventh, C to G:

    …a twelfth, C to A:

    …a thirteenth, etc.

    The Seventh

    We’ll be exploring the seventh- a simple interval encompassing seven degrees of any given scale. For example, in the C major scale:

    …C and B:

    …is a major seventh interval, while in the C minor scale:

    …C and Bb:

    …is a minor seventh interval.

    “Take note…”

    We are not restricted to a particular quality of seventh. The quality of the seventh depends on the given scale. An interval formed by encompassing seven degrees of the major scale would be a major seventh interval, while that of the minor scale would be a minor seventh interval.

    The Tenth

    We’ll also be covering the tenth, which is a compound interval that encompasses ten degrees of any given scale. For example, in the C major scale:

    …C and E:

    …is a major tenth interval, while in the C minor scale:

    …C and Eb:

    …is a minor tenth interval.

    Now that you have a basic idea on what tenths and sevenths are, let’s explore them.

    Tenths – Explored

    The tenth is a compound interval, and all compound intervals have their corresponding simple interval respectively. The simple form of the tenth is the third.

    The third is the interval between the first and third degrees of any given scale. For example, in the key of G major:

    …a third is G – B:

    …between the first and third tones of the G major scale.

    This third (a simple interval) can can be used to form the tenth (a compound interval) either by lowering the G down by an octave:

    …to produce a tenth or by raising the B up by an octave to produce a tenth:

    So, G-B can be a third:

    …or a tenth:

    …and this depends on its size.

    There are basically two qualities of tenths we’re going to be concerned with – the major tenth and the minor tenth intervals. The major tenth is the interval that encompasses ten degrees of the major scale. Check out the major tenth intervals in all the keys…

    The major tenth interval on C:

    The major tenth interval on Db:

    The major tenth interval on D:

    The major tenth interval on Eb:

    The major tenth interval on E:

    The major tenth interval on F:

    The major tenth interval on Gb:

    The major tenth interval on G:

    The major tenth interval on Ab:

    The major tenth interval on A:

    The major tenth interval on Bb:

    The major tenth interval on B:

    “Also check out the minor tenth interval in all keys…”

    The minor tenth interval on C:

    The minor tenth interval on Db:

    The minor tenth interval on D:

    The minor tenth interval on Eb:

    The minor tenth interval on E:

    The minor tenth interval on F:

    The minor tenth interval on F#:

    The minor tenth interval on G:

    The minor tenth interval on Ab:

    The minor tenth interval on A:

    The minor tenth interval on Bb:

    The minor tenth interval on B:

    In subsequent posts, we’ll be learning how to apply these tenth intervals as harmonic structure for the left hand and in chord progressions.

    Sevenths – Explored

    There are two seventh intervals that are important to us in this lesson – major sevenths and minor sevenths.

    The Major Seventh Interval

    Scale degree seventh chords of the first and fourth degree are major seventh chords. In the key of C:

    …C:

    …and F:

    …are the first and fourth tones of the scale. Consequently, the C major seventh:

    …and F major seventh:

    …chords are scale degree seventh chords.

    Check out the major seventh intervals in all twelve keys…

    The major seventh interval on C:

    The major seventh interval on Db:

    The major seventh interval on D:

    The major seventh interval on Eb:

    The major seventh interval on E:

    The major seventh interval on F:

    The major seventh interval on Gb:

    The major seventh interval on G:

    The major seventh interval on Ab:

    The major seventh interval on A:

    The major seventh interval on Bb:

    The major seventh interval on B:

    The Minor Seventh Interval

    In the major key, there are four chord qualities for scale degree seventh chords namely:

    The major seventh

    The minor seventh

    The half-diminished seventh

    The dominant seventh

    If you have read my post on What 60% Of Common Seventh Chord Qualities Share In Common, you’ll agree with me that the minor seventh interval is an essential interval to three different chord qualities – the minor seventh chord, dominant seventh chord, and the half-diminished seventh chord.

    The C minor seventh chord:

    …has the minor seventh interval (C and Bb):

    …as its intervallic component.

    The C dominant seventh chord:

    …has the minor seventh interval (C and Bb):

    …as its intervallic component.

    The C half-diminished seventh chord:

    …has the minor seventh interval (C and Bb):

    …as its intervallic component.

    So, the minor seventh interval is a useful because it is associated with three chord qualities – minor, dominant, and half-diminished.

    Here’s the minor seventh interval in all keys…

    The minor seventh interval on C:

    The minor seventh interval on Db:

    The minor seventh interval on D:

    The minor seventh interval on Eb:

    The minor seventh interval on E:

    The minor seventh interval on F:

    The minor seventh interval on Gb:

    The minor seventh interval on G:

    The minor seventh interval on Ab:

    The minor seventh interval on A:

    The minor seventh interval on Bb:

    The minor seventh interval on B:

    Final Thoughts

    Now that we’ve highlighted these tenth and seventh intervals, we’ll go ahead and explore them from a diatonic perspective in another post and most importantly learning the application of these intervals in chord formation and chord progression.

    But before then, let me whet your appetite with these 2-5-1 progressions in the key of C major…

    Take #1

    D minor:

    …a tenth, to G dominant:

    …a seventh, to C major:

    …a tenth.

    Take #2

    D minor:

    …a seventh, to G dominant:

    …a tenth, to C major:

    …a seventh.

    A lot has happened in these simple two note chord progressions that we’ll continue to explore in another post.

    All the best!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Braz

    Hi thanks for the weekly post and also I received the shift post of metronomes, 4 steps and Hanon cds. May God bless you.

    Braz Alberto

    Reply

    2 emmanuel josh

    Thank you so much for the lessons, God bless you

    Reply

    3 vincent

    hey brother thanx for the good and amaizing stuff

    Reply

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