All about 4ths

FRIDAY, September 27, 2019

All About 4ths…

Any 4 (4th) skips two letters. For example, C to F is a 4th. Either note can be sharped, or flatted, or both. One can be sharp and the other flat. Anything is theoretically possible. Regardless how strange it looks or feels in your hands, or how weird it sounds, it’s a 4th. Some possibilities are so weird or impractical that you will probably never see them or write them. But they are theoretically possible. Now, here are the ones that are used frequently:

  •  4 (perfect 4th) can be both black, or both white, or both colors. Only two, F Bb and F# B, are both colors. If you know a tritone, it’s a half step smaller. Or if you know 5 (perfect 5th), it’s a whole tone smaller.
  • #4 is a tritone and one of two ways to write this interval. The word “tritone” means three whole steps. This is the same as b5 and is exactly 1/2 of an octave. The tritone is an incredibly important interval.
  • b4 (diminished 4th) is another way to write 3 (major 3rd.) You often see it in augmented chords.

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