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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Compound Intervals

Intervals bigger than an octave are called compound intervals. This is because they represent a simple interval plus one or more octaves. Thus, an eleventh is also called a compound fourth.

The logic of this is that the same relationship—for example, C to F—is being duplicated on a higher octave (see Figure 6.6).

Figure 6.6. Eleventh as a compound fourth.

To work this out mentally, it is a matter of subtracting seven from the total number, which represents the compound interval. Therefore, a twelfth is a compound fifth because 12–7=5. For larger compound intervals, keep subtracting sevens until you get down to a number below ...

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