#1
Ive been playing for about 4 years and i know alot about guitar,but quit lessons after like a year.the only thing i never really understood was the circle of fifths.Could someone help?
My setup:Shecter omen 6,Peavey Vypyr 75,crybaby original
#3
Quote by eli134
Ive been playing for about 4 years and i know alot about guitar,but quit lessons after like a year.the only thing i never really understood was the circle of fifths.Could someone help?


what do you want to know? it has many uses.
#4
idk,just the basics
My setup:Shecter omen 6,Peavey Vypyr 75,crybaby original
#5
Quote by AeolianWolf

:O

I am honored!

And I love the mnemonic device you gave me xD It's hilarious and easy to remember.
#6
well, it is a circle starting on C major. it goes around in fifths. so the fifth scale degree of C is G, so the next note in the circle would be G. its also very helpful in figuring out key signatures as every part of the circle has 1 more sharp or flat... so C has no sharps or flats in its key. G has 1 sharp, D has 2 sharps, etc. if you go backwards F has 1 flat, Bb has 2 flats, etc. the keys on the inner part of the circle (some circle diagrams have this some dont) are minor keys. they are below their relative major. so A is the relative minor of C major as it also has no sharps or flats in its key signature.
#7
ok thanks.i appreciate it.that definitely helps
My setup:Shecter omen 6,Peavey Vypyr 75,crybaby original
#8
Quote by eli134
ok thanks.i appreciate it.that definitely helps


glad to help
#9
There are patterns to everything in music...

If you look at the Major Scale it follows this step pattern:

Whole tone - Whole tone - Half tone - Whole tone - Whole tone - Whole tone - Half tone.

So...
You start on scale degree 1 then move up a whole tone to scale degree 2 then up a whole tone to scale degree 3 etc.


                  W   W  H  W   W   W  H
                1   2   3 4   5   6   7 8
In C this is... C   D   E F   G   A   B C
Of course the step pattern simply repeats itself when we get past the octave.

But now watch what happens when we start a NEW major scale from the fifth degree of the one we already have. **Notice in particular how the step patterns and scale degrees almost line up (with just one exception)...
  W   W  H  W   W   W  H  W   W  H  W   W...etc
1   2   3 4   5   6   7 8   2   3 4   5   6...etc
              1   2   3 4   5   6   7 8
                W   W  H  W   W   W  H
There is only one note difference.

Because of the way the step pattern almost lines up the two keys share almost the same set of notes. The only difference is the 4th scale degree of the old key is raised a half step and becomes the major seventh of the NEW key.

This observation holds true for any major key we choose to start on we can always start a new key from the fifth and sharpen the fourth to get the notes of the new key.

Let's take a look at the key of C major which contains the following notes:
C D E F G A B C.

Then apply what we have just observed - if we build a major scale from the fifth degree we would be building it from G the notes will be the same except the fourth in the C scale (F) will be sharped (to F♯ and become the major seventh in the new key G. So the key of G then is G A B C D E F♯ G.

We could do this again from the key of G - the fifth degree is D the notes of D major then will be the same as G with the exception of the fourth (C) which is sharped to get (C♯ the major seventh in the key of D so the key of D is D E F♯ G A B C♯ D.

And on and on we go each time starting the new key from the fifth degree, each time adding another sharp to our collection, always on the fourth of the old key to become the major seventh of the new key.

Because this relationship is always true the REVERSE is also true.

So what is the reverse.

Well we would start with any key. We would flat the major seventh (to become the fourth of the new key) and our tonic of the NEW key would be a perfect fifth below the tonic of the old key. (A perfect fifth below is the same as a perfect fourth above or the fourth degree of the old key).

So if we start with G we have G A B C D E F♯G
We flat the major seventh (F♯ becomes F) and the tonic is a perfect fifth below (or perfect fourth above so would give us the C major key C D E F G A B C.

We could do the same thing again to the C major key the tonic would be the fourth scale degree (F) and we would flat the major seventh (B) to become (B♭ the fourth of the new key.

Now by recognizing and understanding how this works we can then build a shortcut or cheat sheet that will take us from any key all the way around to the start again.

STarting on C we have no sharps or flats. If we go around in fifths the next would be G with one ♯ then a perfect fifth above that D would have two ♯s a perfect fifth above that A would have 3; E would have 4; B has 5; F♯ has 6; C♯ has 7. (For good practice you should write out of those keys so you know which notes are sharps.)

Now what we face the dilemma of what to do after C♯. We could just keep going to G♯ which would have 8 sharps but of course with only seven notes one of them would have to have two sharps. (G♯ A♯ B♯ C♯ D♯ E♯ F♯♯ Or we could go back to our key of C♯ and rename it by it's enharmonic equivalent which would be the key of D♭

C♯ D♯ E♯ F♯ G♯ A♯ B♯ would then become...
D♭ E♭ F G♭ A♭ B♭ C They are the same pitches (sounds) just different names and we only use five flats rather than seven sharps so the name D♭it is actually preferred.

Then we can carry on the same way from the key of D♭ we go up a perfect fifth to get the key of A♭ we sharp the fourth (G♭ of the old key to get (G) the major seventh of the new key A♭ = A♭ B♭ C D♭ E♭ F G A♭

Up a fifth from there we have E♭ - sharp the fourth (D♭ to get D the major seventh of the new key - we get the key of E♭ = E♭ F G A♭ B♭ C D E♭
etc etc.

With each new key we are losing one more ♭ until eventually we get back to the key of C and have travelled a full circle.

Similarly we can go in the other direction by using the reverse tactic this is the circle of fourths (same circle just opposite directions)

From C we go down a perfect fourth to get F and flat the major seventh of the old key to get F major = F G A B♭ C D E F

From there lower the major seventh and use the the perfect fourth B♭ as the new tonic to get B♭ C D E♭ F G A B♭

Then lower the major seventh (A becomes A♭ and build the key off the fourth E♭ to get the key of E♭ major = E♭ F G A♭ B♭ C D

And on and on it goes all the way around until we get seven flats then we rename them by their enharmonic and continue around till we get back to C major.

This is pretty much how the circle of fifths works from the ground up.

Circle of fifths moves clockwise circle of fourths moves counterclockwise.


Hope that clears it all up for you
Peace out
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at May 27, 2010,
#10
I have been looking on the internet at circle of fifths diagrams, but although they serve their purpose, I really liked the look of this guitar version. It's demonic!! Don't look at it! If you play the notes in order five times around the circle counter-clockwise..