#1
I've read a lot of things over the internet about what the Circle 5ths is and how to use it. So far, I really don't get anything I've read. Yes, I've used this site and found nothing I understand. Anyone mind helping me out??
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#3
He said he doesn't understand anything of it. I'm in the same boat...

Fuck me and musical theory as well!
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Last edited by NineInchNails_0 at Jun 8, 2006,
#4
I dunno if I could explain any easier than that site guys :P: I'm not saying your stupid, I'm saying read it again...
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#5
If you are using the Circle of fifths to constuct key signatures, then I'll tell you what I believe is important to know.

The circle of fifths help you find out what notes are sharp in a key.

The order of sharps in the circle of fifths are:
F C G D A E B

When you want to find out what notes are sharp in a key, you take your root now, for example G, and go two notes back, in this case F. That means F and anything behind (in this case there isnt) is sharp. So we have the key of G major as:

G A B C D E F#

Lets take A major this time.

Two notes behind A in the circle of fifths is G, and behind G is C and F. So G F and C are sharp in the key of A, so the key of A major is:

A B C# D E F# G#

If you want to find what notes are flat in a key you use the order of flats:
B E A D G C F - if you notice, this is the circle of fifths backwards.

To find out what notes are flat in a key, Example Eb, you take your root note, and go one note AHEAD of your root, in this case that is A, so A and anthing behind in front of it, in this case E and B, are flat in the key of Eb, so the key of Eb goes:

Eb F G Ab Bb C D

Hope this helps. I've explained it the easiest way I can.
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Last edited by CkY freak at Jun 8, 2006,
#6
Basically the circle of 5ths is something you can use to work out what nots are in scales...

If I had a diagram it would be alot easier to explain but I dont so I will attempt anyway...

say you want to find out the Bb Major scale

1. Find where it is on the circle of 5ths which in this case is 3 round to the left. Because it is the 3rd to the left this means it has 3 flats ( flats on the left side and sharps to the right)

2. Then to work out what these 3 flats are you go from the Bb and work yourself downwards. Bb aint actually a good example but basically to work out the sharps and flats of a scale you go from the F/Bb (if you need to find sharps then you go clockwise and if you want to find out the flats then you go anti clockwise from these notes)

3. Then you apply the notes you now have to your scale and there you have it.

The way i've explained it is maybe confusing...if this doesnt help you and no one else can (which I think they will) then I will make another post with diagrams and everything.
#7
Yeah, I don't get it at all. I always understand, most stuff I read about on the Internet, and these 2 begginer theory books I have, after a 2nd read. But with the circle of fiths, I feel like my heads going to explode just thinking about it.
#8
Quote by doggy_hat
Yeah, I don't get it at all. I always understand, most stuff I read about on the Internet, and these 2 begginer theory books I have, after a 2nd read. But with the circle of fiths, I feel like my heads going to explode just thinking about it.

Same happened here, but then I found a clearly written lesson somewhere in the Archives on this site. Then it just clicked with me. I'm not good at explaining so I won't even try, but give me a second and I'll find the lesson for you. Also, don't try to take it in all at once if that doesn't work. Try to process the information a little at a time.

EDIT: Ahh...SD beat me to it.
Last edited by kirbyrocknroll at Jun 8, 2006,
#9
Circle of 5ths

The Circle of 5ths (Co5) is generally used for determining what notes are in what key. Some people find it extremely useful, while others never use it. I think it's a very effective tool in constructing the diatonic major scales.

Now, there are 12 keys, one for each note in the western chromatic scale. In each key there are 7 different notes, A through G. What makes all these keys different, you ask? Well, in each key there are different variations of those 7 notes. Some have sharps (#) while some have flats (b). A sharp (#) indicates that the pitch is raised one semitone, while a flat (b) indicates lowering one semitone. When writing scales you must have one of each letter A through G. In other words, you cannot have A A# C C# E E# G A, or something like that! You must have A B C D E F G A. One of each letter.

Now, on to the actual circle! This is what it looks like:
.......C........
...G.......F....
.D...........Bb.
A.............Eb
.E...........Ab.
...B.......Db...
.....F#/Gb......


The top key is C. It is the simplest key, and has no sharps or flats. As you progress clockwise (flatwise) around the Co5, you add flats, 1 per key you progress. The same is true for sharps - as you progress counterclockwise, you add sharps, 1 per key. Therefore, using this rule, you can figure out how many flats/sharps each key has. Here's a quick list:
C - 0 sharps
G - 1 sharp
D - 2 sharps
A - 3 sharps
E - 4 sharps
B - 5 sharps
F# - 6 sharps
C# - 7 sharps (often written as Db, they are enharmonic)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
C - 0 flats
F - 1 flat
Bb - 2 flats
Eb - 3 flats
Ab - 4 flats
Db - 5 flats
Gb - 6 flats
Cb - 7 flats (often written as B, they are enharmonic)

Now, how do you add these sharps and flats? There is a specific order to do it in! The order for sharps is F# C# G# D# A# E# B#, while the order for flats is roughly the opposite, Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb.

Combining all of this knowledge, you can determine the notes of any key!
C - C D E F G A B C
F - F G A Bb C D E F
Bb - Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
Eb - Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
Ab - Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
Db - Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db
Gb - Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb
Cb - Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
C - C D E F G A B C
G - G A B C D E F# G
D - D E F# G A B C# D
A - A B C# D E F# G# A
E - E F# G# A B C# D# E
B - B C# D# E F# G# A# B
F# - F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#
C# - C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#

Ask questions.

-SD
#10
wow, I dunno even know where to start with questions. Ok, I kinda see on the bottom list how skip every other letter counter-clock wise from let's say C. But I still don't understand how you can say C has no sharps or flats if I still follow that order. You haven't even told me why it has b's or #.

F - F G A Bb C D E F

Why is Bb magically in there? Going by the counter clock-wise thing it looks like F G A B and not Bb.

It's still kinda not making sense. I'm pretty sure I understand the first 2 pargraphs the best so far. Sorry, but maybe theres something I'm supposed to already understand to get the Co5? Any help?
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#11
Quote by GuitarSymphony
I've read a lot of things over the internet about what the Circle 5ths is and how to use it. So far, I really don't get anything I've read. Yes, I've used this site and found nothing I understand. Anyone mind helping me out??
The Circle of Fifths is an important tool for conveying the relationships among keys and their key signatures. You would do well to devote whatever time and effort you require to understand it.

First, take a look at this illustration.

Begin at the top with C. This key and its relative minor, A minor, use neither sharps nor flats in their key signatures.

Moving in a clockwise direction we arrive at a point marked G/e. Note that G is a Perfect Fifth (P5) higher than C, and that e is a P5 higher than a. Also note that we've added one sharp to the key signature. The one sharp we've added is F#.

As we continue in a clockwise direction, each point on the circle is a P5 higher than the keys at the point that preceded it, and at each point we add a new sharp to the key signature until we reach the maximum number of sharps our western system of music supports, seven.

The new sharps appear in this order: F C G D A E B

Starting again at C/a, but this time moving in a counter-clockwise direction, we descend by the interval of a P5.

Our first stop from C/a is F/d, and at this stop we add a flat to the key signature.

Continuing on, at each descending P5 we add another flat to the key signature until, at last, we reach the maximum number of flats, seven.

As noted in an earlier post, the flats appear in the exact opposite order from the sharps: B E A D G C F

As a side note, I find it interesting that the keys C/a, C#/a# and Cb/ab are represented by key signatures containing no sharps or flats, the maximum number of sharps and the maximum number of flats, respectively.

The six signatures at the bottom of the diagram represent enharmonic keys. For example, C# / a# and Db / bb are enharmonic keys, meaning they sound exactly alike but are written differently.

Does this help at all? SD's explanation of the Co5 is right on the money. I only posted because sometimes saying the same thing in a slightly different way will do the trick. In any event, keep asking until the Co5 clicks for you.

All the best,
gpb
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- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
#12
gbp

Why exactly am I supposed to know about this P5? Is it the root of the key? Is it just relative to the C? Does that mean theres a P6 or a P7?

If not,

And I got really confused when you say

Our first stop from C/a is F/d, and at this stop we add a flat to the key signature.


C has not flats or sharps. So how can you add a flat? And how does that string of letters you give me not a have a flat when you said you just added one. It's confusing if not contradictory.
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#14
Maybe we should tell him something about how key signatures are created? Formula etc. Just a quick suggestion before going to bed
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#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It changes the key signature and the key. They are unrealated (sort of).


So then now i have no idea what key i'm in. either F or C. Which one?
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#16
It depends on what the key signature says (and more so the note you play but that has nothing to do with the CoF). If there's nothing in the key sig, you're in C major or A minor. If there's one flat in the key sig, you're in F major or D minor.
#17
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It depends on what the key signature says (and more so the note you play but that has nothing to do with the CoF). If there's nothing in the key sig, you're in C major or A minor. If there's one flat in the key sig, you're in F major or D minor.


So is Bb the same as Gm ?
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#18
^Yes

Just to explain it another way from those above, here's how I learned it: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle = F C G D A E B. So write that out from Cb to C# and you get:


|-------Flats-----|   |-----Sharps----|
Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C#
7  6  5  4  3  2  1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6  7 


So we know C major has no sharps and flats. So as you move to the right, you add a sharp. The order in which you add a sharp is F C G D A E B (<- look familiar?). If you move to the left you add a flat in this order B E A D G C F (<-read backwards, look familiar?)

So you look at the numbers below each key and, for example E major would have 4 sharps - Father Charles Goes Down. So E major has F# C# G# D#

The same can be done with minor scale if you put A in the middle above the 0
Last edited by spoonfulofshred at Jun 8, 2006,
#19
Wow. You guys really make it sound complex. I just like to think of it as a circle made of a table. it's just like algebra: making a table into a graph or an equation into a graph. You have you equation :the half-steps in the whole major scale are between 3-4 and 7-8, so you make that into a list. c maj. scale is c d e f g a b c. then the next note on the co5 is the fifth on that, so g, right? then you do the whole thing over again : place the half steps between 3-4 and 7-8 using sharps. so then you have the g maj. scale :g a b c d e f# g, right? then you do it again, like, what's the fifth in that sequence? You always add one sharp, going down that way. It's easier in a chart, like, to see what i'm doing. Going the other way is just the same, but you use fourths. Example: the fifth of C is G, and the fourth of G is C. Also, the alternate bass note of a chord is always the bass note of its fifth. Does that make sense, or am i just totally nuts?
#20
i think u guys need to read up on wot makes a scale the way it is, before going onto circle of 5ths. i think the guys who dont understand it are going a bit fast for themselves
i need to get a better signature.
#21
Quote by GuitarSymphony
gpb - Why exactly am I supposed to know about this P5?
After the octave, the Perfect Fifth (P5) is the most fundamental interval in all of western music. There is no end to its influence on the music you listen to every single day. In brute force terms, you can build a P5 by starting on any tone (let's use C just for fun) and then moving seven half-steps (semitones), either ascending or descending.

So starting on C, let's ascend by seven half-steps:
C# D D# E F F# G

G lies a P5 above C

When you move in this direction (that is to say, ascending), you add a sharp (#) to the key signature every time you travel the distance of another P5.

Now let's descend a P5 from C:
B Bb A Ab G Gb F

F lies a P5 below C.

When you move in this direction (that is to say, descending), you add a flat (b) to the key signature every time you travel the distance of another P5.

So now let's travel around the Co5 in both directions and see what happens to our key signature...

Starting at C/a with no sharps and no flats, let's ascend by the distance of a P5 to G/e (please refer again to the illustration )

Do you see the new sharp in the key signature? Specifically it's an F#.

Now let's ascend another P5, from G to D. Since this is the second P5 we've ascended from our starting point, C, our key signature should now contain two sharps. And, checking the illustration, we see that indeed the key signature for D/b does contain two sharps.

Continuing around the Co5 in this way eventually brings us to the keys of C#/a#. The key signature for these keys contains the maximum number of sharps allowed in our system, seven. As a refresher, review the order in which sharps appear in the key signature:

F# C# G# D# A# E# B#

On a very practical level, if we ascend five P5s from our starting point, C, our key signature should contain five sharps. Let's test our theory - ascending a P5 from C five times brings us to B. Yes, we see that the key signature for B major contains five sharps : F# C# G# D# and A#.

Descending from our starting point, C by the interval of a P5 works in exactly the same way, except this time we add flats to the key signature at every new stopping point.

I'm a little tired of typing, so I'll condense this into the order of new flats:

Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb

If we descend by the interval of P5 five times from C our key signature should contain five flats. Let's check it out...

C -> F (1) -> Bb (2) -> Eb (3) -> Ab (4) -> Db (5)

Hark! The key signature of Db major does indeed contain five flats!

I'm being a little flip here to keep it light, but I hope this is making some sense. If not, keep asking.

Is it the root of the key?
If I understand your question, the answer is yes.
Is it just relative to the C?
Yes, the key of C is the reference point for the Co5.
Does that mean there's a P6 or a P7?
No. Sixths and sevenths are Group 2 intervals. The quality designations for group 2 intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th), from smallest to largest, are:

* doubly-diminished
* diminished
* minor
* major
* augmented
* doubly-augmented

You'll notice the term perfect doesn't appear in this list.

The P5 is a Group 1 interval. Group 1 includes the unison, fourth, fifth and octave. The quality designations for group 1, from smallest to largest, are...

* doubly-diminished
* diminished
* perfect
* augmented
* doubly-augmented

If not, and I got really confused when you say C has not flats or sharps. So how can you add a flat? And how does that string of letters you give me not a have a flat when you said you just added one. It's confusing if not contradictory.
Hopefully the discussion above answers these questions. If not, just ask again. I never get tired of this (except for the typing part).

gpb
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
#22
Quote by spoonfulofshred
^Yes

Just to explain it another way from those above, here's how I learned it: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle = F C G D A E B. So write that out from Cb to C# and you get:


|-------Flats-----| |-----Sharps----|
Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C#
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


So we know C major has no sharps and flats. So as you move to the right, you add a sharp. The order in which you add a sharp is F C G D A E B (<- look familiar?). If you move to the left you add a flat in this order B E A D G C F (<-read backwards, look familiar?)

So you look at the numbers below each key and, for example E major would have 4 sharps - Father Charles Goes Down. So E major has F# C# G# D#

The same can be done with minor scale if you put A in the middle above the 0


Ok, let me see if I got this so far. Let's say I'm lloking for A major. It has a 3 so that means that it contains F# C# G#? what are the other four letters? the rest of the alphabet?
Run!
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Simply, the world was too small for a man of his ambition.
Quote by ifeastonbums
GuitarSymphony you are my hero!
#25
Quote by spoonfulofshred
Yup, your A major is right. The other four letters would be the rest of the notes in the scale that you would just leave natural.


Thank you!

The chart that was given to me (not the Co5 makes more sense!)
I get how to use it now! hahaha

thanks to anyone else who tried to help me and spent much time typing and explaining stuff
Run!
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Simply, the world was too small for a man of his ambition.
Quote by ifeastonbums
GuitarSymphony you are my hero!