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  1. #1

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    Hi there,

    I want to do a YouTube lesson on musical intervals, I understand everything in order to do a great lesson (I think). But there is something that I don't understand the point of.

    I understand that when you sharpen or flatten certain intervals, you get augmented or diminished intervals. But if you chose to flatten or sharpen an interval, why do these new labels exist? Whatever you changed the interval too, why not just call it what it is?

    To understand what I mean here is something I wrote as a YouTube comment on an intervals lesson.

    Can anybody answer me this? What is the point in the whole augmented and diminished intervals existing from sharpening and flattening? If you want to play say a Major seventh and then decide of wait no I want to write it as an augmented sixth?

    Why not just view it as a minor seventh? I mean if you are writing it on notation it would even look like a minor seventh? So why even have this extra augmented and diminished aspect to the interval system at all?

    Any insight would help, thanks a lot!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    An augmented sixth resolves differently (expands by a half step to an octave) than a minor 7th (upper note resolves down by half step to a M6) in CP harmony and they have different tonal functions.. Using the established nomenclature makes these functions clear to the player. If you are writing serial music then there is no reason at all to write something like an augmented 6th, there only the raw interval matters

  4. #3

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    You seem to be conflating the enharmonic notation of chords and notes with the concept of musical intervals, if I understand your question. The quickest way to get a grip on all of this would be to buy or borrow from a library a basic music theory book.

    Or spend some time on this website: Writing Intervals

    As you read, keep in mind that music theory isn't dictated by laws of nature or mathematics (like chemistry or physics), it's just a set of agreed-upon conventions that musicians share. Some things are pretty arbitrary, and there's no deep logic to them.

  5. #4

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    They are not just theoretical artefacts. They actually sound different.

    Play the notes:
    C E C B C F# G

    C to F# is the sound of augmented 4.

    Now play:

    Db Ab Db Bb C Gb F

    C to Gb is the sound of Dim 5th.

    Note in both cases the intervals were C to enharmonic F# or Gb. The notes then resolved to their targets. Aug 4 sounds more bold and aggressive. Diminished 5th sounds warmer and more minor.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2020 at 08:11 PM.

  6. #5

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    The simplest explanation I've heard and passed on over the years is: It's easier to read if each note letter name is used only once. In isolation, you'd write F-Ab and call it a minor 3rd, but in the context of an A minor tonality, you'd write A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A and call it an augmented second.

    PK

  7. #6

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    What Is The Point Of Augmented And Diminished Intervals?


    They sound nice and add colour and variation. That's the point of all elevated triads, it makes the music more interesting.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    They are not just theoretical artefacts. They actually sound different.

    Play the notes:
    C E C B C F# G

    C to F# is the sound of augmented 4.

    Now play:

    Db Ab Db Bb C Gb F

    C to Gb is the sound of Dim 5th.

    Note in both cases the intervals were C to enharmonic F# or Gb. The notes then resolved to their targets. Aug 4 sounds more bold and aggressive. Diminished 5th sounds warm and more minor.
    this goes into the "overtone series" and the effect it has on being heard in relation to notes before and after they are played...(then it goes into science fiction)...but yes there is a difference in how we hear things..

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackxoxo
    Hi there,
    I want to do a YouTube lesson on musical intervals, I understand everything in order to do a great lesson (I think). But there is something that I don't understand the point of.
    I want to write an awesome book about chords, but I'm not really sure what a triad is.

  10. #9

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    What Is The Point Of Augmented And Diminished Intervals?-18681181_304xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-jpg

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackxoxo
    Why not just view it as a minor seventh? I mean if you are writing it on notation it would even look like a minor seventh? So why even have this extra augmented and diminished aspect to the interval system at all?

    This is where you"re mistaken. Intervals always coincide with the letter names of the notes. From C, a 7th is always going to be some form of B. The minor 7th would be Bb. A 6th will always be some form of A. An augmented 6th is A#. A# and Bb do not look the same in standard notation.They occupy a different line and space.

    The point of augmented and diminished intervals is trying to account for 12 pitches in an octave with only 7 letter names to work with.

    Within the C major scale, The distance between B and F is larger than a 4th and smaller than a 5th. We have to call it something. Since B to F is always some form of 5th, we call is a small (diminished) 5th.

    .

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackxoxo
    Hi there,

    I want to do a YouTube lesson on musical intervals, I understand everything in order to do a great lesson (I think). But there is something that I don't understand the point of.

    I understand that when you sharpen or flatten certain intervals, you get augmented or diminished intervals. But if you chose to flatten or sharpen an interval, why do these new labels exist? Whatever you changed the interval too, why not just call it what it is?

    To understand what I mean here is something I wrote as a YouTube comment on an intervals lesson.

    Can anybody answer me this? What is the point in the whole augmented and diminished intervals existing from sharpening and flattening? If you want to play say a Major seventh and then decide of wait no I want to write it as an augmented sixth?

    Why not just view it as a minor seventh? I mean if you are writing it on notation it would even look like a minor seventh? So why even have this extra augmented and diminished aspect to the interval system at all?

    Any insight would help, thanks a lot!
    Short answer: Notation.

    Long answer: Aug 6 originates from harmonising degree VI of the descending minor scale with a 6 3 chord and then augmenting the 6 by a semitone to get a more propulsive sound when we move to the major 5 3 chord on degree V. The #6 interval will expand satisfyingly to an octave. This chord then became popular in major modalities due to the practice of parallel major/minor modal interchange.

    6 3 gives Italian 6th, a 6 5 3 chord with an augmented 6 would give the German sixth, but be extra careful of consecutives in the voice leading; it maybe better in this case to move to a cadential 6 4.

    Most jazz musicians wouldn’t think of it that way even though this progression comes up literally all the time. It would be written Ab7 G7 Cm for instance.

    Most jazzers are pretty lackadaisical in the area of enharmony generally haha. The altered scale relies on bad enharmony, for instance.

    So, decide what type of theory you are teaching. If you don’t understand the above, probably best not to get into the woods. If you can understand it decide whether or not you want to talk about classical theory.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-28-2020 at 11:17 AM.

  13. #12

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    Another way of putting it is, different spellings of enharmonic intervals bring the context into the picture. In general augmented intervals want to move up in their context, diminished intervals want to move down.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2020 at 08:12 PM.

  14. #13

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    I think all of that is fairly irrelevant to jazz tbh.

  15. #14

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    In classical harmony, the rules (when still in school) are super strict. Sometimes they made good sense, sometimes the teach clearly said "traditionally"... Can't even remember. But every little accidental has been figured out and "put in place".

    In jazz, it got weird for me also. The thinking is different. I still don't get it often

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackxoxo
    ... and then decide of wait no I want to write it as an augmented sixth?

    Why not just view it as a minor seventh? I mean if you are writing it on notation it would even look like a minor seventh? So why even have this extra augmented and diminished aspect to the interval system at all?

    Any insight would help, thanks a lot!

    For jazz chords it is important to understand the difference between some of these interval names that may seem to be redundant. But the chords are actually NOT the same.

    A Dominant 7th sharp 4 chord is NOT the same as a Dominant seventh flat 5 chord. They notation is telling you the harmony and the notes of the scale that underlies the harmony do NOT contain the same notes.

    The Dominant 7th sharp 4 chord contains a perfect 5th. A Dominant seventh flat 5 chord does NOT contain a perfect fifth.

    The scales that these two chords are derived from are not the same, so the harmony is different.

    In jazz, the Dominant 7th sharp 4 chord (usually written as sharp 11) often comes from the 4th mode of the melodic minor scale. That scale contains both the sharp 4 and perfect 5th of your chord.

    But the Dominant 7th flat 5 chord could be a whole tone harmony, or altered scale (7th mode of melodic minor). It does not contain a perfect fifth. The notation is telling you to flat the 5th, NOT to sharp the 4th. They are not the same thing. The note that has been removed from the harmony is different in each case.