I get that no two major scales will have the same number of sharps or flats, and that if you build a major scale from the 5th note of another major scale, the new scale will have one more sharp than the scale you started with. But how the heck is this helpful? For example if I start with C and move on to G, I'll know that the key of G major has one sharp note in it. But how do I know which note is sharp?
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Quote by Sol9989
the note before G is F
to have G major you need F#

so the note that has to get the sharp is the note just below the note of the key you've just shifted up a fifth into (or a fourth up from whatever you started from)
if you know the modes, the fifth mode is mixolydian, which has a minor seventh in it
so to turn it into ionian you need to put a sharp that note up to a major seventh
Last edited by seljer at Oct 20, 2007,
C | - | -
G | 1 |f#
D | 2 |f# C#
A | 3 |f# C# G#
E | 4 |f# C# G# D#
B | 5 |f# C# G# D# A#
F#| 6 |f# C# G# D# A# E#
C#| 7 |f# C# G# D# A# E# B#
Fat Cats Go Down Allys Eating Birds

Use that for all Major Scales

B E A D Greatest Common Factor

And use that for all Minor Scales.

So lets say your in the Key of G major. That key has 1 sharp. So, look to your guide and you'll see the sharp is F.

Now lets say were in the key of D major which has 2 sharps. Easy! The key of D major has the sharps F and C.
yeah, just memorize the order of sharps. The order of flats is the order of sharps backwards.
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Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
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I learned it, but don't really use it. I memorized it all, it's pretty much that important.
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While we're here, how is I-V a fifth but V-I a fourth?
Quote by CloserToTheSun
While we're here, how is I-V a fifth but V-I a fourth?

I think it has to do with an accidental cadence. Other then that, I've never heard of it before.
Quote by jasonmetal love
I think it has to do with an accidental cadence. Other then that, I've never heard of it before.

The Circle of Fifths backwards is the Circle of Fourths
Quote by CloserToTheSun
While we're here, how is I-V a fifth but V-I a fourth?

It depends on whether you are going up or down.
G going UP to C is a fourth because it is a distance of four notes G A B C
G going DOWN to C is a fifth because it is a distance of five notes G F E D C

At least thats how I think of it. Read the intervals section of the link in my sig for a better explanation.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
No, I believe it's

Fried
Chicken
Goes
Down
Awful
Easy,
Brother

And Jasonmetallove, BEADGCF is the order of flats, no relation to major/minor.
Oh, and I think it would be helpful to know that the number of sharps can easily figured out if you use the leading tone of your tonic to indicate your (sharp) key signature. For instance, the G-major can be understood by taking it's leading tone, F# (as this is one half-step from your tonic), and using that letter name (F) as being a sharp in your signature.

If we know that our sequence of sharps is: FCGDAEB, then the leading tone (F) is the first and only sharp in the signature, because F is the first sharp in the sequence.
Quote by 5/4
No, I believe it's

Fried
Chicken
Goes
Down
Awful
Easy,
Brother

And Jasonmetallove, BEADGCF is the order of flats, no relation to major/minor.

I prefer to think of it as For Cool Gadgets Don't Aggravate Every Beaver

And yes the Co5 is very helpful, and there are lots of different ways you can use it. Besides, eventually you'll just be like 'Oh G major yeah that's got an F#' and for every other key as well.
i always learned
Father
Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle
<Raven> I got so baked last night
<Raven> that I WOKE UP high o_o
<Raven> Do you have any idea how euphoric that is?
<Raven> I felt like I was being born.
What's the circle of fourths? The circle of fifths tells you the keys, what does the circle of fourths do?
HEY
Do you like anime/manga?
Quote by FoolOnThePlanet
What's the circle of fourths? The circle of fifths tells you the keys, what does the circle of fourths do?
Nothing. The so-called circle of fourths is simply what happens when you travel around the circle of fifths in the opposite direction.

As we travel around the Co5 in the direction of increasing the number of sharps, we are ascending by the interval of a Perfect Fifth (P5). Starting at C (no sharps or flats), the stopping points would be G, D, A, E, B, F# and C# (seven sharps).

If we choose to travel in the opposite direction, we will add a flat to the key signature at every stop: C (no sharps or flats), F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb and Cb (seven flats). In this direction, we are descending by the interval of a P5 every time we add a flat.

I suggest you forget about the so-called circle of fourths. Theory is built, to a large degree, on the foundational interval of the P5. That's why we call it the Circle of Fifths. The only difference between adding sharps and flats to the key signature is the direction in which we're moving by the interval of a P5. If we're ascending by the P5, we're adding sharps. If we're descending by the P5, we're adding flats. It's really very straightforward.

If this doesn't clear it up for you, keep asking.

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Quote by 5/4
No, I believe it's

Fried
Chicken
Goes
Down
Awful
Easy,
Brother

And Jasonmetallove, BEADGCF is the order of flats, no relation to major/minor.

For minor scales you use BEADGCF correct?
Quote by jasonmetal love
For minor scales you use BEADGCF correct?

You would use BEADGCF for both major and minor.

F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb are all major and use the same sequence of flats (BEADGCF).

D-G-C-F-Bb-EB-Ab are all minor and use the same sequence of flats.
Quote by 5/4
You would use BEADGCF for both major and minor.

F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb are all major and use the same sequence of flats (BEADGCF).

D-G-C-F-Bb-EB-Ab are all minor and use the same sequence of flats.

Yeah, they're just the same thing backwards. I made a nice way to remember them for myself though because I have trouble spelling backwards
my music teacher taught it as

Fat Cat Garfield Danced All Evening Badly

but I don't really use the circle of 5ths any more, it's better to just know the scales.