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The Major Tetrachord

Module by: Terry B. Ewell. E-mail the author

Summary: This modules presents and easy way to remember the interval sequence in a major scale.

One easy method of remembering the order of intervals in the major scale is to divide the scale into two tetrachords, that is, two groupings of four notes. Figure 1 provides a major scale starting on C.

Figure 1
Figure 1 (graphics1.png)

The two tetrachords in the major scale are under the green lines, separated by a bar line. Notice that the interaval sequence is the same for the lower and upper tetrachord of the major scale. Each tetrachord has a whole, whole, and half step. Let’s term this sequence of whole and half steps (W,W,H) the “major tetrachord.”

Also notice that the two tetrachords are connected by a whole step. The tetrachords in the major scale as well as those in the minor scales are all connected by a whole step.

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