• Kacey Link

The Minor Third: The Introspective Interval

Continuing in our study of intervals, here are a variety of examples of the minor third. Just to remember, an interval is the distance between two notes, and we measure it in half steps. So, a minor third is 3 half steps, for example, C–Eb. This interval is found everywhere in all types of music and is especially noticeable at the opening of songs. I find that the interval has a quality of nostalgia and sadness. I find that composers often use it for introspection. If you have any other favorite minor thirds, put them in the comments!

Ascending Minor Thirds

"Riders on the Storm" by The Doors — "Rid-ers on the storm..." E–E–G–G (:45)

"Greensleeves" 16th-century English tune — "A-las my love..." E–G (:22)

"Wiegenlied", Op. 49, No. 4 by Johannes Brahms ("Lullaby") — Opening notes of melody ("Lull-aby") G–G–Bb (:13)

Descending Minor Thirds

"Hey Jude" by The Beatles — "Hey Jude" C–A (:52)

"The Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim — "Tall and tan..." Eb–C (:13)

Ascending and Descending Minor Thirds

"bad guy" by Billie Eilish — bass line motive G–G–Bb–G (:14)

#eartraining #musictheory #intervals #minorthird