Music-Theory Resources

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Hybrid research involving concepts from both standard music curricula and audio engineering may employ hierarchies of values explained by different terms of reference. Conversely, similar terms of reference as employed by different communities may presuppose divergent contexts and uses. We emphasize tools and terminology that can support collaborators across a spectrum of specialties.


Musical intervals refer to the distance between two pitches.

  • If the pitches are consecutive, the interval is melodic.
  • If the pitches are simultaneous, the interval is harmonic.

Sequences of melodic intervals define individual melodies. Sequences of harmonic intervals define harmonic progressions. Among all attributes of pitch, these are the fundamental ones in music analysis.

Intervallic units in sound

Intervallic units in notation

In the context of tonal music, the same vocabulary of intervallic names is used, but the grammar of intervallic combinations is based on speficic notational conventions (constituting Common Music Notation) from roughly 1690 to 1911 or later.

Intervallic sizes are stable, but their relationship to a governing key varies with the identity of the key.