Perfect fifth

As a fifth ( rare: " bottom ", from Latin quinta " the Fifth ", ancient Greek Diapente διά (dia) πέντε ( pente ), " every fifth or every five " ) is known in the music an interval of a fifth degree diatonic, heptatonic scale spans (e.g. C → G). In a narrower sense is meant by the fifth also the fifth note of a scale. The fifth comprises seven in pure form, in its variants, six or eight semitones. The fifth is the complementary interval to the fourth.


E5 -8 v5 -6 -7 r5

Note Example: Quint intervals

The fifth can occur in three variants:

  • The perfect fifth ( a) that the frequency ratio 3:2 has in the pure atmosphere and thus represents the konsonanteste interval after the octave is most common. It takes place in all kinds of music very frequent use, eg as drone or Mixturton, and is a constituent interval in both the musical mood as well as in music theory (see the circle of fifths ). The falling fifth is also the most important element of the cadence;
  • The diminished fifth ( b ) is similar to its reversal interval, the augmented fourth or tritone, a dissonant interval. Since the Baroque music, the diminished fifth is the characteristic interval of the dominant seventh.
  • The augmented fifth ( c ) can be confused with an enharmonic minor sixth.
  • The fifth also forms the frame interval of the major- ( d) and minor triad.

In connection with the series of partials, eg organ stops are the 3rd, but also referred to the sixth partial tone as Quint, the latter alternative as super fifth. This fifth ( third partial tone ) has the next lower octave frequency ratio of 3:2.

Note: The term " perfect fifth " is used differently depending on the context. Here it is used to distinguish between "pure ", " reduced " and " excessive " intervals. In addition, is with " perfect fifth ", the fifth in just intonation with the frequency ratio 3:2 refers to the distinction between " pure" and " tempered " ( tune ) Quinten (see following section).


The exact frequency ratio of the perfect fifth ( in the sense explained above: 7 semitones ) decides with the respective musical tuning system.

See also: mood, Cent, wolf fifth


  • Fifth upwards C -G? / I
  • Quinte down C -F? / I