The Music Theory Advantage TM
Rapid Skill Development with the Cycle of Thirds

Created by
Max Maxwell
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to Practicing Intervals

This is an important point in the course. You have learned how to find intervals from the Perfect Prime through the Perfect eighth above or below any note. The ideal in raising your skill level at doing this basic work with intervals is to be able to construct any interval above or below any note very quickly and easily. When you achieve this, working with intervals and intervals structures becomes much easier.

Here is the best method for developing your skill in constructing intervals.

1. Pick an interval and a random note. (Such as Major 6th and F)

2. Decide if you want to go above or below the note.

3. Recite a series of ascending or descending intervals of your chosen type. For example, if you picked a Major 6th above  F then name the Major 6th above F, which  is D. Then the Major 6th above D is B. The Major 6th above B is G#, then E#, C##, A##, etc. When you hit a triple sharp or flat, start again with a new root or new interval and root.

4. Recite one series of ascending or descending intervals for each type of interval (m2, M2, m3, M3, P4, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7) at least once per practice session. No need to practice P1 and P8. Keep practicing until you are quick at this with all intervals types. You should practice the minor 2nd, but it quickly runs into triple sharps and flats, so for the m2 just keep picking random roots instead of doing a series.

5. Use the Appendix charts on intervals if you need to check your answers.

The more you are able to develop your skill at counting with intervals; the better off you will be in your musical studies. This is a basic skill that is needed throughout the study of music. Once you are fast at reciting a series of ascending of descending intervals, your practice times on this become minimal. Once you hit your practice stride, you should be able to recite one series for each of the ten intervals listed in number four in about five minutes or less. If you do this at least once a week for a minimum of a few months, it will benefit you tremendously.

Younger students should do the follow up of daily and weekly practice for at least a year. I also recommend that students of any age, who are just beginning in music, make the daily practice of reciting the Cycle of Thirds and the weekly practice with spelling intervals, chords and scales a long term habit.

Now that you have learned to construct intervals above or below any note, you will want to read the Chord Spelling section in the appendix. There, you will learn how to spell any chords on the basis of the standard chord interval structure notation that is used in the music world. I recommend using structures of 3rds to continue to spell the chords you already learned. This will help keep your Cycle of Thirds calculator working smoothly. However, there are many other chord types out there. You will want to learn how to read standard notation for chord interval structures so you can easily spell new chord types for any root.

WolframAlpha Practice Widget

I created an interval spelling practice widget using the computational knowledge engine at WolframAlpha. Just pick an interval type you want to practice and type your root and the note above in the appropriate boxes. You must type the notes with capital letters or it sometimes does not work.



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Copyright 2008-2011 Kenneth J. Maxwell Jr.