Number of semitones in intervals

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How many semitones are there in intervals?

It depends

Everyone knows that an interval is the difference between two pitches.  Keep in mind that an interval may be described as horizontal, linear, or melodic if it refers to successively sounding tones.  Not too many people know that a semitone is also called a half step or a half tone.  It is the smallest musical interval commonly used in Western tonal music.   Needless to say, any interval can be easily defined in terms of an appropriate number of semitones.  For example, a whole tone or major second is 2 semitones wide, a major third 4 semitones, and a perfect fifth 7 semitones.


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