Step Definitions

 
  • Semitone: a half-step (D–D#)
  • Major Second: a whole step (D–E)
  • Augmented: the tone is raised one semitone
  • Diminished: the tone is lowered one semitone
  • Prime: Original tone
  • Augmented Prime: 1 semitone
  • Minor 2nd: 1 semitone
  • Major 2nd: 2 semitones
  • Augmented 2nd: 3 semitones
  • Minor 3rd: 3 semitones
  • Major 3rd: 4 semitones
  • Perfect 4th: 5 semitones
  • Augmented 4th: 6 semitones
  • Diminished 5th: 6 semitones
  • Perfect 5th: 7 semitones
  • Augmented 5th: 8 semitones
  • Minor 6th: 8 semitones
  • Major 6th: 9 semitones
  • Augmented 6th: 10 semitones
  • Minor 7th: 10 semitones
  • Major 7th: 11 semitones
  • Octave: 12 semitones
  • Minor 9th: 1 octave, 1 semitone
  • Major 9th: 1 octave, 2 semitones
  • Augmented 9th: 1 octave, 3 semitones
  • Major 11th: 1 octave, 5 semitones
  • Augmented 11th: 1 octave, 6 semitones
  • Minor 13th: 1 octave, 8 semitones
  • Major 13th: 1 octave, 9 semitones
  • Augmented 13th: 1 octave, 10 semitones

Increasing the span of a perfect interval by a half step results in an augmented interval.
Decreasing the span of a perfect interval by a half step results in a diminished interval.
Increasing the span of a major interval by a half step results in an augmented interval.
Decreasing the span of a major interval by a half step results in a minor interval.
Increasing the span of a minor interval by a half step results in an major interval.
Decreasing the span of a minor interval by a half step results in a diminished interval.

  One Response to “Step Definitions”

  1. Hi ChrisWell, I’ve been using the word note without hanvig defined it. [Edit: I have now done so, and added a popup on note at the top of the post] A note is a pitch, a sound, hanvig a sound wave frequency measurable in hertz, cycles per second. There are many tonal qualities a note may have, including those you mentioned (duration, dynamic level, articulation). They are not pitch related they do not change the pitch or the note name. They change our perception of the sound, its character, but not the pitch. (Well vibrato does by slightly raising and lowering the pitch around the core sound. But the note is still the same note, it doesn’t have another name when vibrato is applied to it). Octaves are an interesting case. An octave above a pitch is heard and named as the same note because the frequency is exactly doubled. An octave below is exactly half the frequency. Our ears hear them as the same note even though the frequency is different. The first overtone of any pitch is exactly double the frequency and that partially explains why we hear octaves as the same note. The note C is called C in all its octaves, regardless of the frequency. The octave is divided into 12 semitones, giving 13 notes, with the 1st and 13th being named the same. There are actually only 12 different notes in the Western scale system.

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