|Just interval||16:9 or 9:5|
|Just intonation||996 or 1018|
In classical music from Western culture, a seventh is a musical interval encompassing seven staff positions (see Interval number for more details), and the minor seventh is one of two commonly occurring sevenths. It is qualified as minor because it is the smaller of the two: the minor seventh spans ten semitones, the major seventh eleven. For example, the interval from A to G is a minor seventh, as the note G lies ten semitones above A, and there are seven staff positions from A to G. Diminished and augmented sevenths span the same number of staff positions, but consist of a different number of semitones (nine and twelve).
Minor seventh intervals are rarely featured in melodies (and especially in their openings) but occur more often than major sevenths. The best-known example, in part due to its frequent use in theory classes, is found between the first two words of the phrase "There's a place for us" in the song "Somewhere" in West Side Story. Another well-known example occurs between the first two notes of the introduction to the main theme music from Star Trek: The Original Series theme.
In other temperaments
In just intonation there is both a 16:9 "small just minor seventh", also called "Pythagorean small minor seventh", ( Play (help·info)) and a 9:5 "large just minor seventh" ( Play (help·info)). An interval close in frequency is the harmonic seventh.
- Haluska (2003), p.xxiv. Pythagorean minor seventh.
- Haluska, Jan (2003). The Mathematical Theory of Tone Systems, p.xxiii. ISBN 0-8247-4714-3. Just minor seventh.
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- Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.53. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
- "On Certain Novel Aspects of Harmony", p.119. Eustace J. Breakspeare. Proceedings of the Musical Association, 13th Sess., (1886 - 1887), pp. 113-131. Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Musical Association.
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- Partch, Harry (1979). Genesis of a Music, p.68. ISBN 0-306-80106-X.
- David Dunn, 2000. Harry Partch: an anthology of critical perspectives.