A major third is an interval that consists of four half-steps or two whole-steps. In music theory, intervals are the distances between two notes. The major third interval is one of the most commonly used intervals in Western music, and it has a distinct sound that can be easily recognized.
What Is an Interval?
An interval is a distance between two notes. It is the foundation upon which all music theory is built. Intervals are measured by counting the number of half-steps between two notes.
Half-Steps and Whole-Steps
A half-step is the smallest distance between two notes in Western music. It is equivalent to moving from one key on a piano to the very next key, whether black or white. A whole-step, on the other hand, consists of two half-steps.
The Major Scale
The major scale is a seven-note scale that has a specific pattern of intervals. The pattern for creating a major scale is whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step, and half-step.
The Major Third Interval
The major third interval can be found by playing any note on a piano and then playing the note that is four half-steps above it. For example, if you play the note C on a piano and then play the note E (which is four half-steps above C), you have played a major third interval.
Chords with Major Third Intervals
Chords are created by combining three or more notes together. One of the most common chords in Western music is the major chord. A major chord consists of three notes: the root note (the first note), the major third (the second note), and the perfect fifth (the third note).
- The Root Note: This is the first note of the chord and gives the chord its name.
- The Major Third: This is the second note of the chord and gives the chord its major quality.
- The Perfect Fifth: This is the third note of the chord and gives the chord its stability.
The major third interval is an essential component of Western music. It is a foundational interval that helps create chords, melodies, and harmonies. By understanding what a major third interval is and how it functions in music theory, you can begin to develop a deeper appreciation for the complexity and beauty of music.