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Topic: fifth interval question
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AuthorTopic:   fifth interval question
Registered User

York, PA

posted: 5/7/2004 at 10:11:50 PM ET
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I'm trying to study some music theory on my own. I have a book that says that on the C major scale, the fourth (C-F), fifth (C-G), and octive (C-C) intervals are perfect intervals because they can not be flatted. If says that sharping or flatting those intervals is called augmenting or diminishing respectively.

I think I understand why the fourth and octive intervals cannot be flatted, there are no black keys on the keyboard with which to flatten the F or the C. But I don't understand why the fifth interval is said to not be able to be flatted. There is the black key one half step left with which to flat it (G flat or F sharp).

So why is the fifth considered a perfect interval?

Registered User

posted: 6/16/2004 at 1:33:57 PM ET
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Perfect intervals are called perfect becuase they are notes which blend together so perfectly that when played they almost sound like one note giving no hint of being major or minor. They give no tonality. The book was refering to the fact that we do not use the terms major or minor with these intervals. In other words: C-G = per 5, C-G#=Aug 5, Cb-G = Dim 5. Do not make the assumption that flats and sharps always indicate black keys. All notes on the keyboard have enharmonic spellings for example: c natural=B#=D Double flat. These notes have different spells , but on the keyboard they refer to the same note. Also the word interval refers to the distance between two notes. The bottom and top notes can be any notes. You seem to relate things to C major but make sure that you realize the bottom note is not always C.

Anonymous Poster

From Internet Network:

posted: 6/16/2004 at 1:36:42 PM ET
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please tell me how nuch strings and pedals a harp has


Registered User

Tacoma, WA

posted: 6/21/2004 at 1:45:40 PM ET
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"Perfect" may have originally referred to the fact that when tuned to archaic temperaments like Pythagorean, the ratios of the frequencies are integral values, like 2:3 and 1:3.

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