Specific interval

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The major scale is maximally even. For example, for every generic interval of a second there are only two possible specific intervals: 1 semitone (a minor second) or 2 semitones (a major second).

In diatonic set theory a specific interval is the clockwise distance between pitch classes on the chromatic circle (interval class), in other words the number of half steps between notes. The largest specific interval is one less than the number of "chromatic" pitches. In twelve tone equal temperament the largest specific interval is 11. (Johnson 2003, p. 26)

Myhill's property is the quality of musical scales or collections with exactly two specific intervals for every generic interval. In other words, each generic interval can be made from one of two possible different specific intervals.


  • Johnson, Timothy (2003). Foundations of Diatonic Theory: A Mathematically Based Approach to Music Fundamentals. Key College Publishing. ISBN 1-930190-80-8.