Rapid Skill Development with the Cycle of Thirds

Created by
Max Maxwell

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Below the summary of interval rules is a test for finding all the intervals you have learned. You would do well to continue practicing finding intervals above and below any note. After this test, you can continue to drill. Just name a random note to start and pick an interval (above or below) to find. There is a chart of all interval answers for intervals above and below every note in the appendix at the back of the book. Use it to check your answers (if needed) when you are drilling verbally. Before taking this test, review the methods for finding the various intervals above and below a note.

Summary of Interval Rules and Interval Test

Note Naming Rule: The note name of your interval spelling answer will always correspond to the number of letters from the given note. For example, a Major 3rd above A is C# and not Db, because C is three notes from A counting A as one.

Perfect Prime - A Perfect Prime is always the exact same note as the given note (zero half steps)

2nds - Count one half step for minor 2nds and two half steps for Major 2nds. For half steps above, you will be counting in ascending alphabetic order (moving right on a piano keyboard). For half steps below, count in descending alphabetic order (moving left on a piano keyboard).

3rds - Just count one step forward (for above) or backward (for below) in the Cycle of Thirds. Determine what type of 3rd you have counted to (Major 3rd- with 4 half steps or a minor 3rd - with 3 half steps). If it matches the 3rd type you want then you are done. If it does not match the desired 3rd type, convert the 3rd to the type you want by adding one half step to convert from a minor to a Major 3rd, or subtracting one half step to convert from a Major to a minor 3rd. For example, if you want a Major 3rd below D, count backwards one step. However, when you count backwards one step in the Cycle of Thirds, we find that D to B down is a minor 3rd (lesson 2). So you must add a half step down to make a Major 3rd and that gives us Bb. (Review Lesson 2 if this is unclear)

5ths - A Perfect 5th (seven half steps) above a note is found by counting two steps forward in the Cycle of Thirds. A Perfect 5th below a note is found by counting two steps backward in the Cycle of Thirds. Remember to adjust for BF and FB by one half step.

4ths- To find a Perfect 4th (five half steps) above or below a note, count in the opposite direction as you would to find a Perfect 5th. Focus on learning 5ths well. When you master finding 5ths then just reverse the direction for 4ths. (4ths above = count two steps backwards, 4ths below = count two steps forwards). Adjust for BF and FB.

6ths - Convert each Major 6th (nine half steps) or minor 6th (eight half steps) above or below to its inverted 3rd form and find the note name for that 3rd. For example, the note that is a Major 6th above C has the same letter name as the note that is a minor 3rd below C. To find the inverted third below, just count backwards one step from C. That note is A. When inverting, follow the rules for determining if the 3rd you land on needs to have a half step added or subtracted in order to make it a Major or minor 3rd.

7ths - Convert each Major 7th (eleven half steps) or minor 7th (ten half steps) above or below to its inverted 2nd form and find the note name of that 2nd. For example, a minor 7th below C has the same letter name as the note that is a Major 2nd above C. That note is D.

8ths - A Perfect 8th ( twelve half steps) above or below is always the same letter name as the starting note. A Perfect 8th above E# is E# one octave higher.

Intervals Test 1:

Fill in the blanks with the note that is the named interval above the given note. Use the interval charts on the answer charts page to check your answers.

For the purpose of abbreviation the modifier will be represented by one letter (M, m, P) and the number part of the interval name will just list the number without the superscript ending (nd, rd, th).      M = Major     m = minor     P = Perfect      Example: m3 = minor 3rd

 1.  M2 above G                 _______ 10.  M6 above Ab              _______ 2.  m3 above D                 _______ 11.  m7 above E                _______ 3.  P5 above A#                 _______ 12.  P8 above F#               _______ 4.  M7 above Eb                _______ 13.  M6 above D               _______ 5.  m2 above F                  _______ 14.  m3 above C               _______ 6.  m6 above B#                _______ 15.  P5 above Gb              _______ 7.  P4 above Cb                 _______ 16.  M7 above Db              _______ 8.  M3 above G#                _______ 17.  P4 above A                _______ 9.  m2 above D#                _______ 18.  M2 above F                _______

Intervals Test 2:

Fill in the blanks with the note that is the named interval below the given note. Use the interval charts on the answer charts page to check your answers.

For the purpose of abbreviation the modifier will be represented by one letter (M, m, P) and the number part of the interval name will just list the number without the superscript ending (nd, rd, th).   M = Major     m = minor     P = Perfect  Example: P5 = Perfect Fifth

 1.  M2 below G                 _______ 10.  M6 below Ab               _______ 2.  m3 below D                  _______ 11.  m7 below E                _______ 3.  P5 below A#                 _______ 12.  P8 below F#                _______ 4.  M7 below Eb                 _______ 13.  M6 below D                _______ 5.  m2 below F                  _______ 14.  m3 below C                _______ 6.  m6 below B#                 _______ 15.  P5 below Gb               _______ 7.  P4 below Cb                 _______ 16.  M7 below Db               _______ 8.  M3 below G#                _______ 17.  P4 below A                 _______ 9.  m2 below D#                _______ 18.  M2 below F                _______

Copyright � 2008-2011 Kenneth J. Maxwell Jr.