In this article, I will explain the differences between “pitch”, “interval”, and “degree”, which are surprisingly easy to confuse.
pitches, Intervals and degrees are important concepts in music. Understanding these concepts will help you write and perform music.
Only the key points are explained, so you can read it quickly!
Pitch is the pitch of a sound.
C, D E, F and so on, the pitch gets higher and higher.
There are also multiple pitches for the same note name.
For example, “C” has pitches such as “C4” and “C5”.
Each time the number part increases by one, the sound will be an octave higher.
An interval is the interval between two pitches.
For example, use “The pitch between ‘C’ and ‘D’ is XXX.”
There are two ways to express pitch.
-semitone (half tone, half step) and whole tone
Semitone and Whole Tone
A semitone is the interval between two adjacent pitches in a 12-tone scale.
For example, the interval between “C” and “D♭” is a semitone.
A whole tone is an interval of two semitones.
For example, the interval between “C” and “D” is a whole tone.
Also, if we consider the whole tone as the standard, “semitone” and “whole tone” can be expressed as “0.5 tone” and “1 tone” respectively.
For example, the interval between “C” and “F” is 2.5 tones.
Degrees can be expressed using semitones and whole tones as follows:
|Degree||No. of semitones||No. of whole tones|
|1st||Perfect 1st: P1||0||0|
|2nd||minor 2nd: m2||1||0.5|
|major 2nd: M2||2||1|
|3rd||minor 3rd: m3||3||1.5|
|major 3rd: M3||4||2|
|4th||Perfect 4th: P4||5||2.5|
|augmented 4th: aug4|
=diminished 5th: dim5
|5th||Perfect 5th: P5||7||3.5|
|6th||minor 6th: m6|
=augmented 5th: aug5
|major 6th: M6|
=diminished 7th: dim7
|7th||minor 7th: m7||10||5|
|major 7th: M7||11||5.5|
|8th||Perfect 8th: P8||12||6|
For example, the interval between “C” and “D” is a major 2nd.
If you lower the perfect interval (P〇) by a semitone, it becomes a diminished interval(dim〇), and if you raise it by a semitone, it becomes an augmented interval (aug).
Also, if you lower the minor interval (m〇) by a semitone, it becomes a diminished interval (dim〇), and if you raise the major interval (M〇) by a semitone, it becomes an augmented interval (aug〇).