Song Examples Of The Harmonic Use of 2nd Intervals

Song Examples Of The Harmonic Use of 2nd Intervals

I was inspired to write this blog after encountering the occasional student who objects to practicing 2nd intervals. 🙂

I know: they sound dissonant, but all tension is important in art, because it creates spice, motion and resolution.

Writing this blog had been on my to do list since a really long time, but here it finally is: a list of songs that use 2nd intervals harmonically. (Meaning: “both notes in the interval played as a harmony”, as opposed to “one after another”.)

  1. Not of This Earth (Satriani)

    The sus2 chords in the intro with the unmistakable major 2nd dissonance in the chords.

  2. Erotomania (Dream Theater)

    The sus2 chords in the intro. (Similar to “Not of This Earth”.)

  3. Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)

    Tons of harmonic 2nds in this song. Here’s some examples:

    1. 2nd bar, 3rd beat. (notes C and D ringing together)
    2. 3rd bar, 3rd beat (notes D and E ringing together)
    3. 4th bar, 3rd beat (notes G and A ringing together)
    4. 4th bar, 4th beat (notes G and A ringing together)
    5. 5th bar, 3rd beat (notes A and B ringing together)
    6. 6th bar, 2nd beat (notes B and C ringing together)

  4. Helter Skelter (The Beatles)

    The first 2 bars of the song: the notes D and E

  5. Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)

    The first beat of the intro: the notes D and E

  6. The Snake (Joe Satriani, “Not Of This Earth” album)

    The chords at 2:06 which have the E F minor 2nd as top 2 notes in the chord.

  7. Memories (Joe Satriani, “Not Of This Earth” album)

    This is THE song that showcases great use of harmonical 2nds as a soloing tool.
    At 00:56 into the song: there are 2 consecutive harmonically played 2nd intervals C-D followed by B-C

  8. Dreaming #11 (Joe Satriani, “Time Machine” album)

    There are a ton of 2nd intervals in the intro to this song.
    The intro is a series of consecutive 2nd intervals resolving into 3rds. This is a technique you can use in your guitar solos.

I know there are a lot of Joe Satriani examples, but that is only because:

  1. I quickly wrote the songs down that I remembered having 2nd intervals, many of which happened to be Satriani songs because I play a lot of his music.
  2. I opened a book with Satriani songs and looked through the music notation.

If I had looked through Jimi Hendrix song charts or Steve Vai song charts, there would have been more Jimi and Steve examples in the above list. 🙂
Jimi and Steve, as well as any top guitarist, use 2nd intervals very regularly.

So to all the students who are apprehensive of practicing 2nds harmonically: hopefully the above examples show their value and will inspire you to want to practice them as much as you practice the consonant intervals.


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