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Lesson 131: Composition Using an Interval

Example 1: Dexter by Rolfe Kent

The melody of Dexter by Rolfe Kent is based on the interval of a perfect fifth upwards. It starts with e - b, it is then sequenced becoming f - c and g - d.

Example 2: From Shifting Gears by Lalo Shifrin

The ultimate "suspense chord" from Shifting Gears by Lalo Shifrin is based on the interval of a minor sixth upwards. It starts with a minor sixth d - bb, then separated by a minor third it continues with another minor sixth c# - a.

Note that the intervals d - c# and bb - a are major sevenths. If we analyze the result as a Gm chord, the chord degrees are 5 - 3 - #11 - 9, so we could call it a Gmadd9#11.

Some More Examples of Tunes Based on an Interval

Listen to the following tunes:

  • E.S.P. by Wayne Shorter ( perfect fourths)
  • The Flintstones by Hoyt Curtin ( a perfect fifth downwards)
  • Misterioso by Thelonious Monk ( a sixth upwards)
  • Sanctuary by Wayne Shorter ( a perfect fourth downwards)
  • Suspone by Mike Stern ( a major sixth downwards)
  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven ( a third downwards)

Untitled, Too - a Composition by Me

A composition of mine based on perfect fourths downwards is called Untitled, Too. You can check out the lead sheet here. In the A section the perfect fourths downwards a - e - b are sequenced becoming g - d - a, f - c - g, d - a - e and finally c - g - d. The very last chord is a triad bb - f - d, which offers some kind of rest or resolution.

2014 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.