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Major third

From Academic Kids

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The musical interval of a Major third is the relationship between the first note (the root or tonic) and the third note in a major scale. It is the inversion of the minor sixth. It is abbreviated as M3.

It can be produced by starting on a high note and playing the third below or by starting on a low note and playing the third above.

A Major third in just intonation most often corresponds to a pitch ratio of 5:4 or 1:1.25, or various other ratios, while in an equal tempered tuning, a Major third is equal to four semitones, a ratio of 1:24/12 (approximately 1.259), or 400 cents, 13.686 cents larger. The older concept of a ditone (two major seconds=major third) is the pythagorean ratio 81:64 (1.2656= 1.1252, two major seconds).

In the common practice period thirds are considered the most interesting and dynamic consonance along with its inverse the sixths, but in previous times it was considered an unusable dissonance. The Major third of a Major chord is what gives it its description as "happy", as opposed to the "sad" minor third of a minor chord. The Major third is considered the most consonant after the octave, perfect fifth, and the perfect fourth.

See also:

Major third
# semitones Interval class # cents in equal temperament Most common diatonic name Comparable just interval # cents in just interval Just interval vs. equal-tempered interval
4 4 400 major third 5:4 386 14 cents smaller

Template:Diatonic intervals

External links

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