Interval recognition

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Interval recognition, the ability to name and reproduce musical intervals, is an important part of ear training, music transcription, musical intonation and sight-reading.

Reference songs[edit]

Some music teachers teach their students relative pitch by having them associate each possible interval with the first interval of a popular song.[1][not in citation given] Such songs are known as "reference songs."[2] However, others have shown that such familiar-melody associations are quite limited in scope, applicable only to the specific scale-degrees found in each melody.[3]

Here are some examples for each interval:

interval ascending descending
unison[dubious ] God Save the Queen/My Country, 'Tis of Thee
La Marseillaise[citation needed]
Hava Nagila[4]
Jingle Bells[5]
America the Beautiful (on oh beautiful)'[6] Twinkle Twinkle
minor second Theme from Jaws[7][8]
Nice Work If You Can Get It[7]
Isn't She Lovely[7][8]
As Time Goes By[citation needed]
Ode to Joy (2nd and 3rd notes)[8]
Stella by Starlight[7]
Joy to the World[7][9]
Für Elise[7][8][10]
Theme from Jurassic Park[7][8]
The Sailor's Hornpipe[citation needed]
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)[8]
major second Frère Jacques[7][11]
Silent Night[7][12]
Never Gonna Give You Up[13]
Strangers in the Night[7]
Mary Had a Little Lamb[8]
Three Blind Mice'[7][8][14]
Satin Doll[7]
The First Noel[7][15]
So What[citation needed]
minor third Axel F (the Beverly Hills Cop theme song)[7]
Cowboys From Hell[citation needed]
Smoke on the Water[7]
O Canada[7][17]
The Impossible Dream[7]
So Long, Farewell[8]
Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone[7]
Iron Man by Black Sabbath[8]
Theme from Rocky[citation needed]
Brahms's Lullaby[7][18]

Hey Jude[7][8]
The Star-Spangled Banner[7][8][19]
Frosty the Snowman[7]
Theme to Hook[citation needed]
This Old Man[7] v[20] or I Love You, You Love Me from Barney & Friends[21]}
Ring a Ring o' Roses[citation needed]
Theme song from Bob the Builder
major third When the Saints Go Marching In[7]
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks[citation needed]
Spring from Vivaldi's Four Seasons[7][22]
I Could Have Danced All Night[citation needed]
And did those feet in ancient time
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot[7][23]
Westminster Quarters[citation needed]
Goodnight, Ladies[7]
Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 (first movement)[7][24]

Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow's Route 1 Theme[citation needed]

perfect fourth Taps[citation needed]
Auld Lang Syne[7]
O Tannenbaum/Oh Christmas Tree[7]
Apache[citation needed]
Here Comes the Bride[7]
Amazing Grace[7]
Constant Motion by Dream Theater[citation needed]
Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata[citation needed]
Eine kleine Nachtmusik[7]
Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)[7]
Theme From Dynasty[7]
Theme From A-Team[citation needed]
tritone Maria (West Side Story)[7]
The Saint[citation needed]
The Simpsons Theme[7]
listen,learn,read on (chorus)[citation needed]
Turn Back Oh Man[citation needed]
Black Sabbath[7]
perfect fifth Twinkle Twinkle Little Star[7]
My Favorite Things[7]
Scarborough Fair[7]
Also sprach Zarathustra[7]
Theme from Star Wars[7]
Can't Help Falling in Love (on Wise Men)[7]
Seven Steps to Heaven[7]
What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor?[7]
The Flintstones Theme[7]
Back to the Future Theme[7]
Copacabana[citation needed]
minor sixth Bashana Haba'ah[citation needed]
Bei Mir Bistu Shein[citation needed]
Black Orpheus[citation needed]
Conquest of Paradise, Vangelis, Theme of 1492[7]
Pity and Fear (Death Cab for Cutie Song)[citation needed]
saxophone hook from Baker Street[citation needed]
A Change of Seasons I. The Crimson Sunrise - Dream Theater (second and fourth notes)
The Entertainer (big interval after pick-up)[7]
Because (The Beatles song)[citation needed]
Close Every Door [7][8]
You're Everything[7]
Where Do I Begin? (Theme from the movie Love Story)[7]

Across the Stars, Anakin and Padme love theme from Star Wars II.

major sixth My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean[7]
NBC Theme Song[7]
Leia's Theme (from Star Wars)[7]
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear[7]
Jingle Bells (on "dashing" through the snow)[7]
America the Beautiful (on "America," America)[citation needed]
My Way[7]
volta la carta (verse)[citation needed]
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow[7][8]
All Blues[citation needed]
A Weaver of Dreams[7]
Take the A-Train[citation needed]
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen[7]
The Music of the Night[7]
Over There[7]
Man in the Mirror (chorus)[7][8]
Crazy (popularized by Patsy Cline)[citation needed]
minor seventh Theme from Star Trek[7]
Somewhere (West Side Story)[7]
Embers Fire (Paradise Lost)[citation needed]
Nothing Compares 2 U[7][8]
The Winner Takes It All[7][8]
The Take Over, The Breaks Over (Fall Out Boy)[citation needed]
Watermelon Man[7]
An American in Paris[7]
Lady Jane(refrain)[7]
major seventh Take On Me[7]
Pure Imagination[citation needed]
Theme from Fantasy Island[7]
What's New Pussycat?
I Love You[7]

Superman Theme

octave Over the Rainbow[7]
Blue Bossa[7]
The Christmas Song[7]
Sweet Child O' Mine[citation needed]
Let It Snow[7]
Purple Haze intro[citation needed]
How Many More Times[citation needed]
My Sharona[citation needed]
When You Wish Upon a Star
No Surprises
Willow Weep For Me[7]
Doogie Howser, M.D. Theme[citation needed]
To Zanarkand, Final Fantasy X[citation needed]
Bulls on Parade intro[citation needed]

In addition, there are various solmization systems (including solfeggio, sargam, and numerical sight-singing) that assign specific syllables to different notes of the scale. Among other things, this makes it easier to hear how intervals sound in different contexts, such as starting on different notes of the same scale.


  1. ^ Mayfield, Connie E. (2002). Theory Essentials, Volume I: An Integrated Approach to Harmony, Ear Training, and Keyboard Skills. New York: Schirmer. ISBN 0-534-57231-6.
  2. ^ Sutton, Christopher. "The Ultimate Guide to Interval Ear Training". Easy Ear Training. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  3. ^ Rogers, Michael (1983): "Beyond Intervals: The Teaching of Tonal Hearing," Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, (6):18-34
  4. ^ Traditional. "Hava Nagila". The Jews of Cuba.
  5. ^ James Lord Pierpont. "Jingle Bells". Cantorion.
  6. ^ Samuel Augustus Ward. "America the Beautiful". Cantorion.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci "Songs to learn musical intervals". EarMaster. EarMaster ApS. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Use Songs You Know to Learn Your Musical Intervals". Musical scales and chords. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  9. ^ Lowell Mason. "Joy to the World". IMSLP.
  10. ^ Ludwig van Beethoven. "Für Elise". IMSLP.
  11. ^ Traditional. "Frère Jacques".
  12. ^ Franz Xaver Gruber. "Silent Night". Wikifonia.
  13. ^ Rick Astley. "Never Gonna Give You Up". YouTube.
  14. ^ John W. Ivimey. "Complete Version of ye Three Blind Mice". Project Gutenberg.
  15. ^ "The First Nowell". The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.
  16. ^ "Greensleeves".
  17. ^ "National Anthem: O Canada". Government of Canada.
  18. ^ Johannes Brahms. "5 Lieder, Op.49". IMSLP. 4. Wiegenlied (Berceuse).
  19. ^ John Stafford Smith. "The Star-Spangled Banner". IMSLP. Arrangements and transcriptions.
  20. ^ "Free Sheet Music: 'This Old Man' (Primer Level)". Piano Pronto.
  21. ^ Scatarella, Christy. "A Big Hug Over Barney's Song". The Seattle Times.
  22. ^ Antonio Vivaldi. "Violin Concerto in E major, RV 269". IMSLP.
  23. ^ Harry Burleigh. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". IMSLP.
  24. ^ Ludwig van Beethoven. "Symphony No. 5, Op. 67". IMSLP.