• Who Else Needs Extra Help On Third Intervals?

    in Beginners,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    In today’s lesson, I’ll be providing you with valuable information on third intervals.

    Third intervals are very important in the study of chords because a vast majority of the chords you know and apply are built off third intervals.

    The following chords:

    Major chords

    Minor chords

    Diminished chords

    Augmented chords

    …can be broken down into third intervals. Even bigger chords like sevenths, ninths, elevenths, and thirteenth chords can be broken down into third intervals.

    It is because of the importance of third intervals (especially in the study of chords) that I’m dedicating this lesson to it and if you give me your undivided attention for the next 5-10 minutes, I’ll get you to understand and master third intervals.

    Attention: I’m aware that there are people reading this blog who don’t know what the term interval means in music.

    “What Is An Interval?”

    An interval is simply a product of the relationship between two notes.

    For example, when C and E are played or heard together:

    …we know that there are four half-steps between them:

    C to Db (first half-step):

    Db to D (second half-step):

    D to Eb (third half-step):

    Eb to E (fourth half-step):

    If we say “C to E is a distance of four half-steps” that would be correct.

    But when it comes to the understanding of what intervals are, we are looking at the product of that distance. Instead of describing it as four half-steps, we rather call it a major third.

    The major third is the product of the relationship between C and E; so C to E is a major third interval.

    “Intervals Are Much More Than Distances…”

    Intervals aren’t just about the number of half-steps and whole steps that are between notes on the piano — No!

    Intervals have to do with the product of the distance between two notes played or heard together and that’s why intervals have quality and quantity.

    In the case of the major third interval between C and E:

    The term “major” describes the QUALITY

    The term “third” describes the QUANTITY

    So, in the study of intervals, you’ll come across qualities like:






    …and also come across quantities like:
















    If you’d want to learn more about intervals, join the Gospel Music Training Center today.

    The goal of this lesson is to provide you with extra help on third intervals and I haven’t forgotten that yet. So, let’s go ahead and break down third intervals.

    Who Else Needs Extra Help On Third Intervals?

    Before I provide you with extra help on third intervals, I want to be sure that we’re on the same page.

    There are basically two third interval types:

    Major third

    Minor third

    …and while my theoreticians would want to say “But there’s the augmented third and diminished third intervals” they also need to realize that these other third intervals were once forbidden and even up till today, they are very rare.

    So, I’m going to show you how to master major and minor third intervals on the keyboard. However, this information has a per-requisite which is the knowledge of the major scale in all twelve keys.

    So here are the major scales for your reference:

    C major:

    Db major:

    D major:

    Eb major:

    E major:

    F major:

    Gb major:

    G major:

    Ab major:

    A major:

    Bb major:

    B major:

    Using the knowledge of these major scales, you can master third intervals: major third and minor third intervals.

    The Major Third Interval

    The major third interval is a product of the distance between the first and third tones of the major scale. When the term major third is mentioned, the numbers 1 and 3 should comes to mind.

    If you go to any of the major scales above and take the first and third tones, you’ll have a major third interval.

    “Let Me Show You How Easy It Is…”

    Using the D major scale:

    …we can form the major third interval using the first and the third tones of the D major scale:



    …and altogether, D-F#:

    …is a major third interval.

    “Let’s Take Another Example…”

    If we take the Ab major scale:

    …and single out the first and third tones (which are Ab and C):

    …we’ll have a major third interval.

    I’ll let you tell me what the major third interval from G is:

    …using the G major scale as a reference:

    Attention: Let me know in the comment section below.

    The Minor Third Interval

    Now that you know the major third interval, the minor third interval is just a walk in the park.

    All you have to do is to lower the highest-sounding note in any given major third interval by a half-step and you’ll have a corresponding minor third interval.

    Using the C major third interval (C-E) as a reference:

    …we can form the minor third interval by lowering the highest-sounding note (which is E):

    …by a half-step (to Eb):

    …and that produces C-Eb:

    …a minor third interval.

    “Okay, Let’s Do That Again…”

    Using the E major third interval (E-G#) as a reference:

    …we can form the E minor third interval by lowering the highest-sounding note (which is G#):

    …by a half-step (to G):

    …to produce E-G:

    …the E minor third interval.

    I’ll let you tell me what the B minor third interval is:

    …using the B major third interval as a reference:

    Attention: Let me know in the comment section below.

    Final Words

    Thanks for stopping by today and I’m glad you devoted some time into reading this blog post.

    I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, etc., please feel free to leave them in the http://getzonedup.com/ comment section below and I’ll be happy to respond.

    I want to deeply appreciate my mentor and role-model, Jermaine Griggs, for the opportunity to share this information with you and in subsequent blogs, we’ll be taking this conversation further.

    All the best.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

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


    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 bubble shooter

    Great for the knowledge you share with us, I will always follow your blog and will share your blog with my friends.


    2 mapquest directions

    Thanks for sharing this useful information, I will really try it out!


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