The Study Of Musical Intervals Part 8: The Octave

The Octave.

This is a continuation of past 7 blogs on intervals.
You can check those blogs here:

The Study of Musical Intervals Part 1
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 2: The 2nd Interval
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 3: The 3rd Interval
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 4: The 4th Interval
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 5: The 5th Interval
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 6: The 6th Interval
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 7: The 7th Interval

This week we’ll discuss the octave.
This will be the last installment in this interval series.

The octave interval is a half step larger than the major 7th.
The word “octave” is derived from the Greek word “octo”, which means “EIGHT”.
This interval is called an octave because there are 8 letter names involved from the lower to the higher note.

The interval distance between the notes is 6 whole steps, which adds up to 12 frets from note to note. As always: this intervallic distance corresponds to the same number of keys on a piano.
Considering that there are only 12 steps/notes in our music system, this concludes all the intervals in music. From here on the guitar neck (and the piano keyboard) start over again.
The 8th note is the same as the first note, starting the scale over again in a higher register.

oct staff

A major scale has SEVEN octaves:

This interval occurs on every note in the scale.


The following example shows how you play an octave.
This is the fingering used on the 2 sets of non-adjacent bass strings.

oct all

Following guitar, neck shows the fingering for major 7th intervals on the 2 sets of non-adjacent treble strings.

oct gb


Within the structure of a major scale;
The above fingerings are played on the following scale degrees on the lower of the 2 strings:

On every scale note.

Here’s How You Practice This.

Solo over C major songs with 7th intervals, 1 string set at a time.
If your lowest note of the 2 notes you’re playing is C or F (the root and the 4th note in the scale), you will use a major 7th fingering on that note.
If the note you’re on is one of the other 5 notes (D, E, G, A, B) in a C major scale, you will use the minor 7th fingering.

Practice 3 minutes soloing on every string set.
This adds up to a 15-minute daily drill.

If you’re still unsure how to practice this: check the video in a past blog on intervals to see a description of how to practice intervals.
The Study of Musical Intervals Part 2: The 2nd Interval

A Quick Recap Of All The Intervals.

We covered a huge amount of information in this blog series on intervals.
Here’s in a nutshell again a quick recap of what all the intervals are and where they appear at, in a scale.

All intervals in a C major scale.

Perfect Unisons: C-C, D-D, E-E, F-F, etc… (Same note in unison)
Minor 2nds: E-F, B-C
Major 2nds: C-D, D-E, F-G, G-A, A-B
Minor 3rds: D-F, E-G, A-C, B-D
Major 3rds: C-E, F-A, G-B
Perfect 4ths: C-F, D-G, E-A, G-C, A-D, B-E
Augmented 4th: F-B (Tritone)
Diminished 5th: B–F (Tritone)
Perfect 5ths: C-G, D-A, E-B, F-C, G-D, A-E
Minor 6ths: E-C, A-F, B-G
Major 6ths: F-D, G-E, C-A, D-B
Minor 7ths: D-C, E-D, G-F, A-G, B-A
Major 7ths: F-E, C-B
Octaves: C-C, D-D, E-E, F-F, etc… (Same note in octaves)

Mastery of all this info will probably take you a couple of months.
Keep patiently working at it.
Don’t forget to have fun with it all. 🙂

Start practicing the intervals in other keys once you feel comfortable in the key of C.
Go up the circle of 5ths. Practice the key of G next, then in D, and so on.


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