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Interval information
Ratio 10/9
Monzo [1 -2 1
Size in cents 182.40371
Name(s) small whole tone
Color name y2, yo 2nd
FJS name M25

[sound info]

In 5-limit Just Intonation, 10/9 is a small whole tone of about 182.4¢. It is a superparticular interval, as you can find it in the harmonic series between the 9th and the 10th overtones. It is one of two essential whole tones in the 5-limit; the other one is 9/8 (about 203.9¢), which is 81/80 (about 21.5¢) higher than 10/9. 9/8 is an octave-reduced overtone, and it is closer to 12edo's single whole step of 200¢. Thus, 9/8 is more familiar and less difficult to tune by ear than 10/9.

The first three notes of a JI major scale – 1/1, 9/8, 5/4 – move by a step of 9/8 followed by a step of 10/9 (or alternatively 1/1, 10/9, 5/4 – move by a step of 10/9 followed by a step of 9/8). In systems where 81/80 is tempered out (in 12edo, 19edo, 31edo and other meantone systems) that distinction is lost and this sounds like two equal-sized steps. In strict JI, the difference is tiny and hard to notice at first.

See also