Lesson 10: Intervals - Down

Now for intervals below the pitch note.

Now, if you studied that complicated paragraph back in lesson 7, you'll remember that the intervals between each note in a major scale follow the order:


This means that if we go up one note from the pitch (middle C in the C major scale shown above), we have gone up a tone (or a major second).

However, if we start at the top (C above middle C, the last note in the C major scale shown above) and come down one note, we are only going down a semitone - This interval is called a minor second (m2).

A minor interval is a semitone smaller than the major interval (of the same number size).

The interval between the first note and the third note of a major scale (eg middle C to E in C major above) is a major third - or 2 tones (or 4 semitones). But coming down from the top, the interval between C and A is 1.5 tones or 3 semitones making it a minor third.

The interval between the first note and the fourth note of a major scale (eg middle C to F in C major above) is a perfect fourth or 2.5 tones (or 5 semitones). Coming down from the top, the interval between C and G is also 2.5 tones (or 5 semitones) - Ahh, perfect. Also a perfect fourth.

The intervals coming down a major scale from the top note are:

-m2 minor second
-m3 minor third
-P4 perfect fourth
-P5 perfect fifth
-m6 minor sixth
-m7 minor seventh
-8ve perfect octave

Note that these are all lower case 'm's because they are minor intervals.

Musical Mathematics

Let's try some examples:

Interval Down

If the pitch is Ab and your first note is Eb (below the pitch), what is the interval between them?

When your first note is below the pitch, start counting letters from your first note and count up to the pitch.

So count E, F, G, A - that's 4 steps. (If it was my part for a song, I would write -P4 in pencil at the top of my music to remind myself of my starting note)

Songs to remember the pitch

-m2 - one note down from the pitch (8-7)
-m3 - Hey Jude
-P4 - Born Free
-P5 - Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light (US anthem)

Have a practise at singing them in this game

Here are the other ones:

-m6 - Theme to Love Story
-m7 - Down an octave and up one (1-1-2)
-8ve - There's no business like show business

Practise singing them:

So now you can think about the song you need to find your interval while the pitch is playing and make sure you come in on the right note.


Great, so now the sight reading will start with notes below the pitch. Play the pitch note to start (the higher one if you have a choice) and then start singing on the correct note.

Remember, if you are having trouble, try singing the scale numbers eg 5-4-5-6-7-8 instead of just la.