So i understand the circle of fifths almost..FCGDAEB to the right which is major keys and BEADG anti clockwise for the major flat keys. When you apply the amount of sharps/flats, its 2 back so FCGDAEB..G has one sharp which is F, D has 2 sharps which are F and C etc and for flat keys it starts on F so the key of F has one sharp of Bb (BEADG). And for minor keys you start on A and work round the bottom of the circle the same way

I dont understand how to apply this, or what practical application it has. I dont know how to instantly remember all this as well without having to draw out the circle etc.I also heard jazz musicians use the circle of fourths and classical the circle of fifths and i would like to understand why because i play a bit of both.
Last edited by DegaMeth at Jan 19, 2009,

Memorise which sharps and flat occur in every key. Play said keys on guitar. It really couldn't be more simple....
Quote by DegaMeth
So i understand the circle of fifths almost..FCGDAEB to the right which is major keys and BEADG anti clockwise for the major flat keys. When you apply the amount of sharps/flats, its 2 back so FCGDAEB..G has one sharp which is F, D has 2 sharps which are F and C etc and for flat keys it starts on F so the key of F has one sharp of Bb (BEADG). And for minor keys you start on A and work round the bottom of the circle the same way

I dont understand how to apply this, or what practical application it has. I dont know how to instantly remember all this as well without having to draw out the circle etc.I also heard jazz musicians use the circle of fourths and classical the circle of fifths and i would like to understand why because i play a bit of both.

It just so you know which key signature applies to which key.

As for memorizing, I learned a little thing when I was in school:
Father
Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle
...for sharps

Battle
Ends
And
Down
Goes
Charles'
Father
...for flats
Last edited by pwrmax at Jan 19, 2009,
Ok, the first thing to understand about the circle of fifths is that everything on the chart is related to something else. It is a representation of the keys of music and the ones that can be used together. For example, C majors relative minor is A, or if you wanted to play an Amaj chord it would have A, C sharp and E because there is a C sharp in A major. By knowing these things, you can apply this theory to your music. I hope that sort of makes sense.
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Quote by jimi_vai
Ok, the first thing to understand about the circle of fifths is that everything on the chart is related to something else. It is a representation of the keys of music and the ones that can be used together. For example, C majors relative minor is A, or if you wanted to play an Amaj chord it would have A, C sharp and E because there is a C sharp in A major. By knowing these things, you can apply this theory to your music. I hope that sort of makes sense.

Thanks i understand all this i thought it just had some other application. I still dont understand the circle of fourths vs circle of fifths question. Is it simply that classical music modulates in fifths and jazz in fourths?
Easiest thing is : Learn every note on the guitar. Memorise the circle (pain in the arse, but worth it). Then you can apply it on your guitar whilst staying in key - happy days.

For the other question i don't know, wikipedia it?
Quote by Ikonoklast
Easiest thing is : Learn every note on the guitar. Memorise the circle (pain in the arse, but worth it). Then you can apply it on your guitar whilst staying in key - happy days.

For the other question i don't know, wikipedia it?

yeah but you rarely play lead in major or non pentatonic minor unless you are playing classical or some jazz.
Quote by DegaMeth
yeah but you rarely play lead in major or non pentatonic minor unless you are playing classical or some jazz.

Says who? I happen to like soloing in C major all the time, and i never use Pentatonic, i like the extra choice with soloing with the full scale.
Sorry, the only answer that i can offer for the 5th's vs 4th's is that its simply the way classical music sounded, and thus the circle of fifths created to accommodate for the majority of composing. Jazz's chord structure and scale structure therefore, is based on different ideas and a different circle.
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If you learn the circle of fifths you will also know the circle of fourths. Just move counter-clockwise.
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Quote by AllUrBase
If you learn the circle of fifths you will also know the circle of fourths. Just move counter-clockwise.

Give this man a medal. Also the circle of fourths is just the major keys that have flats.
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Quote by Ikonoklast
Easiest thing is : Learn every note on the guitar. Memorise the circle (pain in the arse, but worth it). Then you can apply it on your guitar whilst staying in key - happy days.

For the other question i don't know, wikipedia it?

off topic...when i memorise the fretboard i can identify a note up the neck eventually but i cant instantly spot Bb on fret 18 or w/e. Ive tried the CAGED, octaves, horizontal and vertical..any other tips?
Quote by DegaMeth
off topic...when i memorise the fretboard i can identify a note up the neck eventually but i cant instantly spot Bb on fret 18 or w/e. Ive tried the CAGED, octaves, horizontal and vertical..any other tips?

Unfortunately up until now i've winged it with my playing by learning scale shapes and stuff. There's tonnes of things you can do to memorise.

One is take the A note on every string, look at the key written down, and then play the scale on one string. Repeat for all other keys.

Another is to learn the notes at the marker dots and fill in the gaps.

Another is the CAGED system.

Another is to play 2 octave scales starting on every fret of the low E, saying the notes as you play them. Whichever way you think will help you best.
ok, i have an understanding of theory, i understand how keys function, when to play a major, and when to play a minor scale. but something has been troubling me... In a Major chord, u use the I-III-V, now, in a Cmaj chord u wound count that as C d E f G meaning that I-III-V would be C-E-G, but in an Amaj chord when u count A b C d E, you get A-C-E as the I-III-V but an Amaj chord has a C#. Now, i kno that there is no half step inbetween b and c, and e and f, but the math here just isant adding up, any insight would be appricated.
if u sent your answer to TheoriginalMack@ymail.com it would have a better chance of reaching me. thx
^..would i be right in saying it depends on the key signature because there are three sharps in the key of Amajor which includes the note of csharp therefore the chord of Csharp is also used?
Quote by pwrmax
It just so you know which key signature applies to which key.

As for memorizing, I learned a little thing when I was in school:
Father
Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle
...for sharps

Battle
Ends
And
Down
Goes
Charles'
Father
...for flats

That's golden
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
That's golden

C has no sharps or flats...
Quote by Ikonoklast
C has no sharps or flats...

F 1b
C
G 1#
D 2#
A 3#
E 4#
B 5#
But then i don't see why you'd use it within mnemonic phrase which defines flats or sharps!?
Quote by 420weedman
F 1b
C
G 1#
D 2#
A 3#
E 4#
B 5#

Sorry, reading your post back there seems like you're explaining it. I know my circle, i just think the mnemonic sayings would confuse a beginner, because i can't see the logic in it!
It's for the order you add the sharps and flats. If a key has four sharps, then they are F#, C#, G# and D#. Similarly four flats gives you Bb, Eb, Ab, Db.
Ah well i think it's just easier to learn the flats and sharps and in which key. Just me though!
It's the same order used for writing key signatures on scores though. If you wrote out an A major signature with the sharps ascending C#, F#, G#, then anybody used to the conventions would find it a bit weird to look at.
there is a method to the madness...there's a reason its called the circle of 5ths. If you can remember this until you get it memorized its soooo easy. Whenever your counting intervals count the Letter you start on as 1, and the letter you end on as well. For example: The first key on the circle of 5ths is C. It's at 12 o'clock and has no sharps or flats. So to start counting, C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5. G is a fifth away from C so its the next one on the circle. The sharp in G major is F#. This is something you HAVE to remember or you cant figure the rest of them out using the counting method.

This next part might sound confusing but i assure you its not. Ok to find the next key after G just count like you did before with C. G=1, A=2, B=3, C=4, D=5. The key of D major is a fifth away from G, so its the key with 2 sharps. Now, every key has all the accidentals(sharps or flats) of the previous key on the circle, plus one of its own. To find out the new sharp in D major, just count a fifth up from the last sharp in the previous key signature. Since we were working with G major, there was only one. It's easy. F=1,G=2, A=3, B=4, C=5. The second sharp in the key of D is C#. So the notes in D major are D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#. This pattern works all the way around the sharp side (until what would be 7 o'clock). Working around the flat side...is just counting in 4ths instead of 5ths. The first flat you find is B and its in the key of F. But the pattern works just the same. The little catch phrase i always used to remember the sharp side was " Good Dogs Always Eat Big Fat Cats" I know its lame...but it worked for me. The F and C are both sharp keys. So just remember that too. If this doesnt make any sense...i'm sorry...i'm not a teacher...just trying to help.
I have a question on this also when you at 6 oclock of the circle of fifths where it is either F# or Gb, you want to use F# only for anything from 12 oclock - 6 oclock? and Gb for 6 oclock to 12 oclock? This question isn't really based on the knowledge of the circle of fifths to find keys, I mainly want to clear up the idea of each note going clockwise being 5 notes apart and counterclockwise 4 notes. When going counter
Last edited by rebel624 at Jan 20, 2009,
Quote by rebel624
I have a question on this also when you at 6 oclock of the circle of fifths where it is either F# or Gb, you want to use F# only for anything from 12 oclock - 6 oclock? and Gb for 6 oclock to 12 oclock? This question isn't really based on the knowledge of the circle of fifths to find keys, I mainly want to clear up the idea of each note going clockwise being 5 notes apart and counterclockwise 4 notes. When going counter

you go anti clockwise for Bb and clockwise for Fsharp i think, and for minor keys you just start everything at 3 oclock at A and go the same ways.

could be wrong tho!
technicall it doesnt matter...they are the same note...just "spelled" differently according to what scale your in (a scale needs to consist of EITHER sharps or flats...never both). but the keys moving clockwise(keys contain sharps and move in 5ths) starting at 12 o'clock are C,G,D,A,E,B,F#,C#....moving counter clockwise (keys contain flats and move in 4ths) are C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb...i'm going to attach a picture of the way i write it out so its easier to understand. some books have a very poor description of the circle and its incredibly(spelling?) useful...

sorry for the huge picture....its just easier to read this way...hope this helps. oh..this is just major keys...