Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Intervals for Guitar (and others). Free sheet music too!

This week's blog is simply a handout I use for the theory classes I teach. That said, it is chocked full of useful musical information. Though not specifically guitar-centric (all musicians can learn from this) the sheet music is written in notation AND guitar tab. 

To download the sheet music simply: 1. Click on the image, 2. Right click the image once it becomes bigger, 3. Click "Save image as..." That's it!

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you might have: PresterJohnMusic@gmail.com


A good way to internalize the sounds of the various intervals (the distance between any two pitches) is to use a melodic mnemonic (memory) device. For example, the song "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" begins with the interval of a Major 3rd (1-3) and the first three notes of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" are the scale degrees 1-3-5: Mi = 1, chael = 3, row = 5. Below is a list of familiar songs containing all the intervals found in a one octave chromatic scale. If you're not familiar with these particular songs (some are more ubiquitous than others) find songs that you do know very well to use as your personal mnemonic devices. 


Ascending: Happy Birthday, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells

Descending: No descending.

As a double stop: Boud Deun Train, Rain, Zero

Minor 2nd = m2

Ascending: Jaws, As Time Goes By, “A kiss is just a kiss…”,
Nice Work if You Can Get It

Descending: Joy to the World ( the opening line is actually a descending Major scale),
Für Elise, Fly Me to the Moon

As a double stop: Boud Deun Train, Rain, Zero (also uses the unison). 

   Major 2nd = M2

Ascending: Frere Jacques, Silent Night, Do-Re-Mi,
Stairway to Heaven, “There’s a lady…”

Descending: Three Blind Mice, Mar-y Had a Little Lamb, The-a First Noel

Minor 3rd = m3

Ascending: Smoke on the Water (Riff), What child is this?,
Iron Man (Riff), Georgia on My Mind, “Georg-(i)a…”

Descending: Hey Jude,  (and then it goes back up a minor 3rd [same notes], This Old Man, Here Comes the Sun,
A Day in the Life, “I read the news today…”
The Star-Spangled Banner, “O’ say can you see…”
Fros-ty the Snowman, Sesame Street Theme, “Sun-ny days…

Major 3rd = M3

Ascending: Oh, When the Saints, Kum-ba-ya,

Descending: Beethoven's 5th, Summ-er-time (also goes up),
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,

Perfect 4th = P4

Ascending: Auld Lang Syne, O Chris(t)-mas Tree, A-ma-zing Grace,
Here Comes the Bride, Some-day my prince will come which is very similar to “Some day you’ll know…” I’ll Follow the Sun, All the Things You Are, “You are the promised kiss of springtime…”

Descending: Theme From A-Team, Eine kleine Nachtmusik,
O Come All Ye Faithful, I've Been Working on the Railroad, All of Me

Tritone = #4 or b5 = Augmented 4th or Diminished 5th

Ascending: Maria, Cool, “Bo-(o)y…” Simpson’s Theme,
Purple Haze (Intro Riff: harmonized)

Descending: Jets theme (West Side Story), YYZ

Perfect 5th = P5

Ascending: One by Metallica, My Favorite Things,
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Theme from Star Wars
Theme from 2001, Blue Skies,

Descending: Superman theme, The Flin(t)-stones Theme, Feel-ings, Mozart's Minuet in G. It Don’t Mean a Thing

Minor 6th = m6

Ascending: Be-cause the world is round… The Beatles, In My Life (Intro Hook)

Descending: Where Do I Begin? from Love Story,
Please Don't Talk About me When I'm Gone

Major 6th = M6

Ascending: NBC Theme, My Bonnie, Two of Us: The Beatles (Intro hook), Take the A-Train, “You must take the “A” train…”
My Way, “And now the end is near…”

Descending: No-body Knows the Trouble I've Seen,
Cra-zy: Patsy Cline (Willie Nelson)

Minor 7th = m7

Ascending: Somewhere from West Side Story: “There’s a place for us.”
Star Trek Theme, New Year’s Day” “All is qui-et…” (Each note sung twice: AA GG), The Take Over, The Breaks Over (Fall Out Boy)

Descending: Watermelon Man,

Major 7th = M7

Ascending: Take on Me (A-Ha), Bali High from South Pacific NOT a Major 7th, it jumps an octave then descends one half step to the Major 7th,
 “Ba- li High

Descending: I Love You (Cole Porter)

Octave = P8

Ascending: Some-where Over the Rainbow, When You Wish Upon a Star
Let it Snow, “Oh the weather outside is frightful.”, Paper Moon

Descending: Bulls on Parade intro Rage Against the Machine,
Wil-low Weep for Me

Songs with interesting and/or uncommon chord to melody notes relationships.
(Note: These examples are a bit advanced theory heavy…that is to say, not easily explained in a short sound bite. Feel free to e-mail me with questions: PresterJohnMusic@gmail.com)

1.    Moon River: B over an F chord, b5

2.    Viva la Vida: B over a C chord, Major 7th

3.    I’ll Follow the Sun: Eb over an F chord, Minor 7th

4.    Misty: Descends a Major 7th chord

5.    Mrs. Robinson: (Note: this song is capoed at the 2nd fret, my key/chord examples are without the capo). Verse descends an E mixolydian scale (A Major) starting on the D, the 7th, over an E Major chord. That means they start by singing the dominant 7th note. The next two chords get similar treatment. Over the A chord they sing A mixolydian, over the D chord they sing D mixolydian, that means the song changes keys three time over three chords!

6.    The Sound of Silence: “Hell-o dark-ness my old friend…” is an ascending Minor arpeggio, each note sung twice, DD FF AA (G). The second line is a Major triad, same idea, “I’ve come to talk with you a-gain…” CCC EE GG (F).

7.    Casper the Friendly Ghost: Descends a C Major triad.

8.    Song from West Side Story

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The End.
See you next week. 
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