Music theory > Lessons > Pitch of sounds > Intervals > Diminished fourth

Diminished fourth

Diminished fourth

In music theory, a diminished fourth is an interval that has four half steps (semitones). Explanations and excerpts from famous works

In music theory, a diminished fourth is an interval that has four half steps united states of america (semitones united kingdom).

The diminished fourth requires that:

  • The interval must be a fourth interval (four note names between the first and the last).
  • The interval must have four half steps.

What does a diminished fourth look like?

Here is an example of a melodic diminished fourth (two music notes in a melody) and a harmonic diminished fourth (in a chord):

Diminished fourth

How to recognize a diminished fourth?

Rule of music theory: All intervals in a major scale starting with the tonic (degree I) are either major or perfect, and only unison, octave, fourth and fifth are perfect (the others are major).

Example with the interval A / D♭:

Let's take the A major scale to have A as the tonic:

A major scale

From the rule stated above, the interval A / D♮ is a perfect fourth, so the interval A / D♭ is a diminished fourth.

Inversion of the diminished fourth

The inversion of the diminished fourth is the augmented fifth.

Here is an example of a augmented fifth:

Augmented fifth

Musical examples of diminished fourth

No examples yet, but feel free to send me some examples!

Interval identification game

You will find this interval in my Intervals identification game:

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