The notes of the major third C-E (C4 or middle C to E4) have these frequencies:

Note | Frequency |
---|---|

C4 (middle C) | 260 Hertz |

E4 | 325 Hertz |

Frequency measures the number of times a sound oscillates per second. Hertz is the unit of measurement.

We might think that the difference in frequencies determines the size of the interval:

325 - 260 = 65

This is not correct. The same notes an octave lower will give a different result, even though the interval is the same:

Note | Frequency |
---|---|

C3 | 130 Hertz |

E3 | 162.5 Hertz |

162.5 - 130 = 32.5

Therefore, to measure musical intervals correctly, we need to use another mathematical operation.

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