Music Theory Rules!

Welcome to Music Theory Third Floor Page Two of this site!

If you’ve reached this page by accident and you are new to music theory then you may want to back track a bit through this site. Have a look at the scheme of work video and some earlier pages on Music/Guitar Theory.

If you are here to get some clarification, understanding and practical working knowledge about what are often referred to as the

"qualities" of musical intervals then carry on here.

Where Do We Start?

The major scale is the centre of the universe.

(…spoken with a loud echoing voice coming from someone who sounds like they have a robe and big white beard!)

 That’s where we start.

 You have to be pretty familiar with the major scale for what is coming to make sense. Being familiar in terms of theory as well as aural perception would be best. If you are not sure if your ear has caught up to your head go to the major scale interval trainer now. (make a cuppa first though)

Compare Everything to the Major Scale

There are two worlds that we need to consider. The world of sound, is obviously what we hear things as, our aural perception. The world of vision or “music literacy” is how we may write music on paper in standard notation. For now we will put these ideas on the back burner and focus on our immediate rules. We will come back to these ideas later.  

Right then, don’t worry too much about the why’s and what for’s, just memorise these rules and you will be a happier person….well maybe.

  To recap the major scale intervals are (M for major and P for perfect) written as follows:  

PUnison M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 M7 P8  

Spoken as:  
perfect unison, major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth, major seven, perfect octave. 

So Here is Today's Music Theory Mnemonic


 > =is Greater than (by 1/2 step)  < =is Lesser than (by 1/2 step)


A = augmented           M = major         m = minor 

d = diminished            P  = perfect               


Now Scrap the Numbers

Before you need to go lie down in a darkened room hear me out!

We now need to forget about the numbers. In other words it doesn't matter if we are talking about for example, a major second or a major third or even major sixth or seventh. What matters is that we are talking about an interval with the quality of being major. That's it. 

Furthermore if you look at my little music theory rules formula you will see that any major interval is less than augmented and greater than minor. 

What Does It All Mean?


This means that any major interval raised by half step becomes augmented. Likewise any augmented interval lowered from a raised major returns to major. It also means that any major interval lowered by half step becomes minor. Reciprocally any minor interval raised by half step becomes major. You see where I'm going here? The qualities of music theory in a nutshell!

Lets Do Some More!


Pick a quality.... any quality ..."but don't show me it"... sorry just kidding...

Lets say minor. What happens to minor when you lower it by a 1/2 step? 

Is your answer that it becomes diminished? Great you win a prize! ( feel happier right)

What does a perfect interval become when you raise it by 1/2 step?

Did you say augmented ?? Awesome!!

What happens to a perfect interval lowered by 1/2 step?

Yes, it becomes diminished.

What about any minor interval raised by 1/2 step?

Please tell me you said it becomes major... yes ? Great!!! 

You just follow the flow of the chart!

Now go to a shop and get a little note book or pad and a pencil with a rubber on it. 

Walk around for a couple of days scribbling your new found secret music theory code into your book analysing it to death as you go. While the eggs are cooking or the cereal is getting to the right sogginess or the kettle is heating up, at the bus stop, traffic jam, before the micro wave pings.... you get it?

If you don't quite get it yet ...don't worry you can always use the "contact me directly" box below to ask me questions. I will happily answer them no strings (or sales pitches) attached. 

Happy Playing

Home>Top>Today's mnemonic>Back to Music Theory Third Floor>Go to Music Theory Fourth Floor

If you are local to the United Kingdom West Midlands Coventry Kenilworth Leamington Warwick Rugby Stoneleigh  CV8 Post Code area and are interested in tuition feel free to arrange a “First session Free” Guitar or Theory Lesson. Perhaps you just want to *chat over a cuppa about the options for your children’s music education.

*N.B. Until further notice all interaction will be virtual or in full observation of distancing practices.

Playable Guitar 

Rural Innovation Centre Unit 32 Avenue H 

Stonleigh Park CV8 2LG   +44 2476 998 500

International? Please contact me about Skype lessons. Se habla español – pues bueno un pocito! 

Buy Me a Coffee!   

click here to see other ways to support this site

Contact me directly 

Got suggestions or questions?

Want to try a free Skype or Zoom lesson?

Got a testimonial? click here

Click the link to the contact form above or write to me at the address shown and I will get back to you as quick as I can !

Happy playing!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.