First Way to Calculate Intervals

Calculating Intervals can be done in a few different ways.  It is recommended that you use the “First Way to Calculate Intervals” method found below if you are just getting started learning music.  You will only have to learn six intervals in 12 keys to complete this course.  This course will help you learn those six intervals in 12 keys by giving you quizzes to test your knowledge.  Your first step is to memorize the half step distance between the following intervals:

Major 2nd = 2 half steps

Major 3rd = 4 half steps

Perfect 4th = 5 half steps

Perfect 5th = 7 half steps

Major 6th = 9 half steps

Major 7th = 11 half steps

In order to answer any questions a beginning might have about learning intervals the “First Way to Calculate Intervals” discussion below is highly recommended source for understanding the nuts and bolts of interval construction.  Working through the Music Theory Level 1 Course will also help you to understand some of the basics of Music Theory.


Many students need to write out the chromatic scale to help them calculate the intervals as they work through the exercises in this course.  This is a good idea and is recommend if you need this extra assistance.

If you already know the notes containing in all the major scales then using the “2nd Way to Calculate Intervals” which is the 2nd lesson in this course will be a quicker method.  Using this second method of course requires a working knowledge of all the major scales in every key. Using the number of 1/2 steps in an interval or using the knowledge of major scales can be used to complete this course. Having the ability to do either method is of course the final goal.