Perfect fourth interval
The perfect fourth interval consists of two notes with five steps distance. For example, C to F note will result in this musical interval. The perfect fourth include one more semi-step compared to the major third (M3) and two semi-steps less compared to the perfect fifth (P5).
The reason for the name “perfect” goes back to the Medieval. The unison, fourth, fifth and octave were considered most consonant and therefore were given the name perfect. The perfect fourth interval is abbreviated P4 (an alternate spelling is augmented third).
A perfect fourth with C to F on the keyboard.
Listen to perfect fourth interval (C-F):
This interval is rare in chords, but can be found in the suspended 4th chord. For example, Csus4 is built by the notes C, F, G. If inversions are considered, they are much more common. For example, the second inversion of F major which is spelled C, F, A includes a perfect fourth.
To being able to distinguish this interval by ear, a good idea is to think about familiar songs which first notes match. P4 examples are "House of the Rising Sun" (B-E) and "Moonlight Sonata" (G#-C#), in both cases ascending.
Ascending perfect fourth intervals
A list with ascending perfect fourth intervals:
- C – F
- C#/Db – F#/Gb
- D – G
- D#/Eb – G#/Ab
- E – A
- F – A#/Bb
- F#/Gb – B
- G – C
- G#/Ab – C#/Db
- A – D
- A#/Bb – D#/Eb
- B – E
Inversions of these intervals will result in perfect fifths intervals.
Descending perfect fourth intervals
A list with descending perfect fourth intervals:
- C#/Db – G#/Ab
- D – A
- D#/Eb – A#/Bb
- E – B
- F – C
- F#/Gb – C#/Db
- G – D
- G#/Ab – D#/Eb
- A – E
- A#/Bb – F
- B – F#/Gb
- C – G
Enharmonic notes such as Cb and Fb are leaved out.
A related interval is the augmented fourth, or tritone (abbreviated TT). It includes one additional semi-step compared to the perfect fourth interval. For example, C to F#.
Listen to perfect fourth interval (C-F#):
An augmented fourth C to F# on the keyboard.
Notice that the augmented fourth is identical with the diminshed fifth.