All About 2nds

TUESDAY, September 24, 2019

All About 2nds…

For this interval and for all others the letters of the interval can be adjusted with flats and sharps. This will change the way an interval sounds but will never change it’s number. Here we are only talking about how intervals look on a page. The way it sounds is a completely different subject and has to be explained in a very different way.

Any interval may be harmonic or melodic. Here we are describing what is on the page – the score. We care about what it looks like on the page, and then we care about what we see, on the piano, and what we feel.

All 2nds are two letters in a row, and those letters are determined by lines and spaces in a clef. If there is a letter in between the two notes, it’s not a 2nd. To figure out the quality of a 2nd you have to count all the keys, not just white keys. You have to become a key-counter. Here are the 2nds we have in music:

  1. The b2 (minor 2nd) skips no keys. You play two keys that are as close together as possible. One can be black, or both can be white, but never two black keys.
  2. The 2 (major 2nd) skips exactly one key. That skipped key can be black or white.
  3. The #2 (augmented 2nd) skips two keys. We see this most often in scales, but at times we see it in chords.
  4. Finally, the diminished 2nd is a special term used to describe the same key with two different names. For instance, to move from C# to Db is a move of a diminished 2nd. What is it really saying? It’s saying that what you play will not change, what you hear will not change, but what you see on the page will change by a letter. This is super important for transposition, which become important later on as you write music and change your mind about how things should look.

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