Learning to “spell” intervals is essential if you want to actually use them. Download this free cheat sheet packed with tips and tricks and shortcut the slow process of memorising the spellings.

We normally focus on the listening skills here at EasyEarTraining.com, but with all our resources for interval ear training we decided it was time to also provide the corresponding theory, which helps you to apply your interval skills with real music.

By learning to “spell” intervals you can use them to play by ear, improvise, transcribe, and write your own songs. Learning the spellings can be a slow and tedious process though, which is why we recently published a guide to Learning to Spell Intervals Fast.

Now we’re taking it a step further by boiling all those tips and tricks down into a single handy “cheat sheet” which you can download to help you learn interval spellings quickly:

Download-Interval-Spelling-Cheat-Sheet

Right-click here and choose “Save As” to save the PDF

Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 2
Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 3
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Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 6
Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 7
Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 8
Interval Spelling Cheat Sheet 9

This cheat sheet is provided free for your personal use. You are encouraged to share it with musical friends! Just send them the link to this page.

Note: Music educators are very welcome to use this cheat sheet in their teaching.

Contents

The download actually contains seven different printable cheat sheets, covering:

  1. Interval Sizes
  2. Number of Semitones in each Interval
  3. Table of Interval Spellings: Major Scale
  4. Table of Interval Spellings: All
  5. Shortcut: Interval Inversion Rules
  6. Shortcut: Rules of Thumb for Accidentals
  7. Extra Tips

Here are a few examples of what’s inside.

Table of Interval Spellings: Major Scale

Interval
Perfect Octave D♭ A♭ E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B F♯
Major Seventh C G D A E B F♯ C♯ G♯ D♯ A♯ E♯
Major Sixth B♭ F C G D A E B F♯ C♯ G♯ D♯
Perfect Fifth A♭ E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B F♯ C♯
Perfect Fourth G♭ D♭ A♭ E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B
Major Third F C G D A E B F♯ C♯ G♯ D♯ A♯
Major Second E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B F♯ C♯ G♯
Root: D♭ A♭ E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B F♯

Shortcut: Interval Inversion Rules

Each interval type pairs up with a corresponding inversion, meaning that going up by one interval brings you to the same note as going down by the other (just in a different octave). For example, perfect fourths and perfect fifths are inversion pairs, so going up a perfect fourth from a C takes you to a G, just like going down by a perfect fifth from a C takes you to a G.

Learn the inversion pairs and you can immediately transform any descending interval task into a corresponding ascending one.

The size of interval changes like this:

  • Unison ←→ Octave
  • 2nd ←→ 7th
  • 3rd ←→ 6th
  • 4th ←→ 5th
  • 5th ←→ 4th
  • 6th ←→ 3rd
  • 7th ←→ 2nd

and the quality of the interval in an inversion pair changes like this:

  • Perfect ←→ Perfect
  • Major ←→ Minor
  • Augmented ←→ Diminished

Shortcut: Rules of Thumb for Accidentals

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Accidental of top note: Except for root…
Minor Second: lowered one E/B: matches
Major Second: matches E/B: raised one
Minor Third: matches F/C/G: lowered one
Major Third: raised one F/C/G: matches
Perfect Fourth: matches F: lowered one
Perfect Fifth: matches B: raised one