Created by
Max Maxwell

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<<=PREV  DO NOT begin step two until you have mastered step one!  NEXT=>>

Step Two: Memorize the intervals between adjacent pairs
of notes in the Cycle of Thirds

Between each pair of adjacent notes in the Cycle of Thirds is a pitch difference of either a minor 3rd or a Major 3rd. All intervals are made up of different numbers of half-steps. A half-step is the smallest unit of measure of pitch difference in our musical system. On the piano keyboard a half-step is the pitch difference between two adjacent keys on the piano keyboard. When counting half-steps above a particular key, you always start on the next key. For example, a half-step above "A" on the far left of the illustration below is the adjacent black key. A Major 3rd has four half-steps. A minor 3rd has three half-steps. In the illustration below, you can see that each pair of adjacent notes in the Cycle of Thirds are either three or four half steps apart. Remember, three half-steps is a minor 3rd, four half-steps is a Major 3rd. In the illustration below, the larger numbers on the grey keys represent the total number of half steps from the previous grey key. Moving right on the keyboard (and the cycle) moves toward higher pitches.
Moving left moves toward lower pitches.

The Cycle of Thirds
A C E G B D F A

Memorize the intervals between adjacent notes!

 A to C minor 3rd C to E Major 3rd E to G minor 3rd G to B Major 3rd B to D minor 3rd D to F minor 3rd F to A Major 3rd

M = Major   m = minor
A
m3 C M3 E m3 G M3 B m3 D m3 F M3 A

IMPORTANT!

If you need help memorizing the third types for
each adjacent pair of notes in the cycle of thirds,

Memory Aid for Third Types

DO NOT MOVE ON BEFORE MASTERING THE FIRST TWO STEPS!!!

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