Perfect fifth

In music theory, a perfect fifth is an interval that has seven half steps united states of america (semitones united kingdom).

The perfect fifth requires that:

  • The interval must be a perfect fifth interval (five note names between the first and the last).
  • The interval must have seven half steps.

What does a perfect fifth look like?

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

Perfect fifth

How to recognize a perfect fifth?

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♭ / E♭:

Let's take the A flat Major scale to have A♭ as the tonic:

A flat major scale

From the rule stated above, it becomes clear that A♭ / E♭ is a perfect fifth.

Inversion of the perfect fifth

The inversion of the perfect fifth is the perfect fourth.

Here is an example of a perfect fourth:

Perfect fourth

Musical examples of perfect fifth

Prelude to Suite No.1 for cello by J.S. BACH

The Prelude to Suite No. 1 for cello by J.S. BACH begins with a perfect fifth:


Fugue in G minor BWV 578 by J.S. BACH

J.S. BACH's Fugue in G minor BWV 578 begins with a perfect fifth:


Interval identification game

You will find this interval in my Intervals identification game:

Find all my music theory games by clicking this link music theory games
music theory games

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