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Introduction to Intervals (Guitar Lesson)

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Matt Brown

Introduction to Intervals

Matt Brown offers up a lesson on how intervals are notated and their spacial relationships on the neck of the guitar.

Taught by Matt Brown in Ear Training with Matt Brown seriesLength: 48:58Difficulty: 1.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

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tze_sirtze_sir replied

Hey Matt, good stuff here! I only have one question, which could be based on me overthinking things... I'm just a little confused about the minors and majors. Could a major second also be a minor third? Or a minor fifth a major fourth, and so on?

Bradley.ConwayBradley.Conway replied

Hello tze_sir! That is close but not quite correct. To turn a Major scale into a minor scale, you would need to flat the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes of the Major scale. The 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th notes of the scale stay the same. For example, in the key of C Major you would have these notes - C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. For a C minor scale you would have these notes - C, D, Eb (flat 3rd), F, G, Ab (flat 6th), Bb (flat 7th), C. I hope that helps!

tze_sirtze_sir replied

Found everything I need in the supplemental material :) Thanks again Bradley.Conway

tze_sirtze_sir replied

I can see that I'm getting the different types of intervals confused as well. I'm not sure that the minor and major labeling works the same way as the diminished and augmented.

tze_sirtze_sir replied

That is also good information! But my question pertains strictly to intervals isolated from any other notes of a scale. Say that on a single string there is a 3 fret gap in between 5(A) and 9(C#), could that be a major third interval, and also a minor fourth interval?

aguitar777aguitar777 replied

Hi Matt, Thank you for the great lessons... I would like to see a written/picture map of the guitar strings and frets that shows where the various intervals are (especially on different strings)... Do you know where I could find such a pdf/visual aid?

BradleyABradleyA replied

Found a good one here:

bowchampbowchamp replied

really helpful lesson, already starting to be able to guess the right intervals. thanks matt

crowcrow replied

ive been struggling with intervals ever sense ive started playing, it was so frustrating... but this lesson finally helped me undersand. thanks!!!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Sweet!!! Glad this was helpful! If you ever have questions about anything, don't hesitate to ask. :)

maxjubermaxjuber replied

hey matt, I wish I'd found this series a long time ago. i'm only through lesson one but it has already helped me immensely to get away from tab sheets. Sweetness! Thanks!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Thank you!! I think you'll find that these lessons will make you a better guitarist / musician in general...Learning to read sheet music is just part of the deal...Let me know if you ever have questions, comments, concerns, etc.!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Also, since this series is rather short at the moment, let me know if you need suggestions on what to work on next in terms of ear training. :)

yatta 428yatta 428 replied

I would like to know what to work on in terms of ear training. I was wondering i have heard from some people that they have used some kind of game to help with training. Do you know anything about that?

mattbrownmattbrown replied

I'm personally a big fan of macgamut. It's a basic program for mac/pc that features all of the subject areas that fall under the big umbrella of the ear training topic. I used that program extensively in the past. These days, I transcribe a lot of music for a living, so that's how I get my practice...Learning from records is a lot more fun than working with software, but I should caution that it is definitely not going to develop your skills as quickly as software.

maxjubermaxjuber replied

hey matt, I wish I'd found this series a long time ago. i'm only through lesson one but it has already helped me immensely to get away from tab sheets. Sweetness! Thanks!

jhenriksenjhenriksen replied

Matt, I've been taking lessons now for over a year and still consider myself a novice so thse questions may sound stupid. HOW DO I USE THE INFORMATION YOU ARE TEACHING REGARDING INTERVALS? OTHER THEN AS AN ACADEMAIC EXERCISE, WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THE NAMES OF INTERMALS?

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Well, intervals are the building blocks of melodies and solos. Whenever you play one note to the next or two notes at the same time, you are playing intervals. When it comes to ear training, being able to identify the sound of all the intervals is the most important skill to develop. Developing this skill will help you figure out melodies, solos, and chord progressions by ear. In order to identify the intervals you are hearing, you have to know their names. Otherwise, you cannot communicate what you are hearing. Right now, all of this information probably doesn't seem that important to you since you haven't been playing very long. Trust me though, this stuff becomes very important down the line.

loganwvaloganwva replied

Very good stuff

lisalrplisalrp replied

Enjoying the lessons. It would be helpful when you refer to particular strings, you name them as I could not tell which strings you were refering to at time by looking on the video. Look forward to the lesson materials.

mattbrownmattbrown replied

The quizzes and the answers to them are now posted. Sorry for the delay!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Hey guys! just thought I would clarify the end of Scene 3, E to Ab sounds exactly the same as E to G#. G# and Ab are "enharmonic" notes. Here's the difference: E to G# is called a major third interval. E to Ab is called a diminished fourth since these notes are four notes away in the musical alphabet. Check out the reference table in supplemental content for more info.

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Again, in scene 7 at 01:26, D to A# is an example of an augmented fifth. It's not a minor sixth like I say in the video. ref

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

Matt should be posting the supplemental content including the intervals quiz shortly!

Ear Training with Matt Brown

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Matt Brown provides instruction and exercise to facilitate ear training.

Chord Qualities Lesson 1

Chord Qualities

Matt Brown introduces his new series on ear training. He covers basic chord qualities for the first training session.

Length: 39:01 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Introduction to IntervalsLesson 2

Introduction to Intervals

Matt Brown offers up a lesson on how intervals are notated and their spacial relationships on the neck of the guitar.

Length: 48:58 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Hearing IntervalsLesson 3

Hearing Intervals

In lesson three of his ear training series, Matt Brown explains how to identify melodic intervals by ear.

Length: 52:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Harmonic IntervalsLesson 4

Harmonic Intervals

In lesson four, Matt Brown demonstrates listening techniques for identifying harmonically stacked intervals.

Length: 33:46 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
ProgressionsLesson 5


Matt Brown discusses and demonstrates how to identify common chord progressions by ear.

Length: 30:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Matt Brown

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

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