Tables & Charts
To start with, let's look at some general examples of simple chromatic intervals:
I've chosen to show the above examples inside a variety of key centers because most music is written with key signatures.
But keys only influence why a composer wrote non-diatonic notes a certain way (like Fb instead of E) and have no real bearing on the naming of chromatic intervals.
We still need to be able to name any interval anywhere.
Here is the formula applied to the other chromatic interval examples shown at the top of this page:
This formula may seem complicated and long but if you know your major scales and key signatures it is actually very quick and simple.
The most difficult part is probably step 6 where you have to choose the modifier, but if you remember the 2 groups, even that becomes routine.
Now, let's deal with the situation when the bottom note is not one of the 15 key signature notes but 1 of the remaining 6 note possibilities: D#, E#, G#, A#, B#, Fb.
Thankfully, this is relatively simple:
Any minor interval that has been flattened by another step becomes diminished and not, as you might be tempted, double-diminished or "double-minor".
The middle staff has been included for completeness and to
illustrate the difference between double lowered minor intervals and lowered perfect ones
So far all my examples have shown intervals moving upwards from a lower note to a higher note. Of course the opposite is just as common.
The same principles that we just talked about apply in both situations.
Inverting an interval simply means raising the bottom note or lowering the top note by 1 octave.
The result of this in terms of simple steps on the staff means:
When we add the modifiers, we get:
Any distance between notes greater than an octave is called a compound interval.
It is rare that the span between notes goes beyond 2 octaves, and naming these leaps is, compared to everything else, quite simple.
Here is how to deal with compound intervals:
Perfect are 1, 4, 5 and 8,
+1 step they're Aug and -1 Dim;
2, 3, 6, 7 are Major and +1 Augmented,
but -1 they're Minor and Minus 2 Dim.
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