|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, 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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- "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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- David Dunn, 2000. Harry Partch: an anthology of critical perspectives.