The Major and Minor Third Intervals
Now that you understand the Fifth Interval, we can progress faster, and I can show you the types of Third Intervals so that you can begin building complete triad chords. There are two types of Third Intervals, which work with the Perfect Fifth to make a complete Triad chord. However, before I show you how, let me first show you what the two types of third intervals look like in the key of C
As you see, they are very similar, with the only difference being in the last note lowered a half tone. Just remember: Major Thirds use 4 half-tone steps and Minor Thirds use 3 halftone steps. Again, you won’t need to memorise the notes of every Third Interval in all keys. All intervals follow a certain pattern, and if you count the number of notes from the first to last note, in both the interval examples, respectively, you should notice they are the same. The two types of Third Intervals that are used for building the Triad chords are the Major and Minor Third intervals. Just by knowing how these intervals are defined, you should be able to master them in all keys.
Q: How are the Major and Minor Third Intervals defined?
If we define these intervals, we have:
Major Third Interval: 4 Half-Tones from the first to second note.
Minor Third Interval: 3 Half-Tones from the first to second note.
We have also developed for you two interval charts to show you the Major and Minor- Third Interval on all keys so that you can practice. Let’s first take a look at the Major Third Intervals on all keys. Let’s go to the Major Intervals chart.
Remember that you can get to a Minor Third from a Major Third by lowering the second note one half-tone. In this way, you can create all the Minor Third Intervals on all keys.Let’s take a look at the Minor Third Interval Chart..
Before moving on to Triad chords, I want you to tell me if you think that the Minor and Major third intervals cause tension or not.
Go ahead and play the D Major Third Interval for example :
You’ll notice that the sound is quite pleasant with no sign of tension . You may try playing the same interval type on different keys. Even when pitch changes, the sound texture will feel the same, and it should still feel pleasant or un-disturbing. Now, let’s experiment with the Minor Third Intervals. Go ahead and play an E Minor Third
Interval, for example:
Even though you’ll notice a change in the sound texture, quite a bit more sad or melancholic, you’ll still feel that the sound is pleasant and not disturbing. Again, that will be the same, in any key you play it no matter what. So for now, we could say that the Perfect Fifth, Major Third , and Minor Third Intervals are intervals that do not cause tension and that usually sound pleasant and not disturbing. Now if I told you that the Major and Minor Triad Chords are actually made up of a combination of these three intervals, would you be able to guess if the Major and Minor Triad Chords will produce tension or not? I know you already know the answer, but keep reading and we will go into that as soon as I show you how to create the Major and Minor Triad Chords in any key.
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