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ok so someone had this theory li nk in their sig and i read it but they weren't real clear on how to use the circle of fifths and some posters also metioned that it was backwardsd
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this will save your life in composing
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I realize that going one direction is 4th, and the other is 5ths, but how does one memorize this?
how do you use it to find what key a chord progression is in to compose a solo
Quote by malichi
how do you use it to find what key a chord progression is in to compose a solo

Say at the begining of the song before the time signature there is 1b symbol. Then you would look at the circle of fifths and find the key with only 1b is F major, and there you have your key for your solo
Quote by theguitarplayin

What does the IV next to F and the I next to C and so on mean?
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then backwards
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Last edited by EZLN libertad at Feb 14, 2008,
Quote by Ringtone
What does the IV next to F and the I next to C and so on mean?

well it means what type of chord and where it would be in relation to the Key, you have to stack thirds.

SO...

If your in the key of C major, and you write out the scale. you then add a geniric third to each degree(note) in the scale, and then you do it again.
so since C is the first degree its I (1) and its a capital roman nurmearal becuase the generic thirds you stacked before make up a Major triad. and the ones with small case roman numerals are minor chords and the one with the circle is dimished. another example is the third degree(note) E in the C major scale is a iii (3) and its lower case so its minor.

i could explain more but go look it up at musictheory .net
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Quote by noscottno711
I realize that going one direction is 4th, and the other is 5ths...
This is a common misconception. The Circle actually moves in 5ths in both directions:

This tool clearly displays the relationships between keys based on the second-most fundamental interval in music, the Perfect Fifth (the Octave is the most fundamental interval). This is why we call it the Circle of Fifths and not the circle of fourths.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Quote by gpb0216
This is a common misconception. The Circle actually moves in 5ths in both directions:

This tool clearly displays the relationships between keys based on the second-most fundamental interval in music, the Perfect Fifth (the Octave is the most fundamental interval). This is why we call it the Circle of Fifths and not the circle of fourths.

Couldn't you also call it the circle of fourths with the exact opposite explanation? That is...

P.S. Just being the devil's advocate here
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Quote by seedmole
Couldn't you also call it the circle of fourths with the exact opposite explanation? That is...

P.S. Just being the devil's advocate here
To refer to a so-called circle of fourths as a Circle of Fifths in reverse displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the tool...
Quote by gpb0216
This tool clearly displays the relationships between keys based on the second-most fundamental interval in music, the Perfect Fifth (the Octave is the most fundamental interval). This is why we call it the Circle of Fifths and not the circle of fourths.
The Perfect Fifth is a foundational harmonic interval, and has been recognized as such since antiquity.

The Perfect Fourth, on the other hand, is a red-headed stepchild harmonically, with theorists going back and forth (so to speak) as to whether or not this interval was even a consonance, let alone worthy of the "Perfect" qualifier.

My advice to you and everyone else is to forget about the mis-named "circle of fourths". It has no real theoretical basis and serves only to confuse the issue. I hope this helped.

gpb
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Last edited by gpb0216 at Feb 15, 2008,
Quote by gpb0216
To refer to a so-called circle of fourths as a Circle of Fifths in reverse displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the tool...The Perfect Fifth is a foundational harmonic interval, and has been recognized as such since antiquity.

The Perfect Fourth, on the other hand, is a red-headed stepchild harmonically, with theorists going back and forth (so to speak) as to whether or not this interval was even a consonance, let alone worthy of the "Perfect" qualifier.

My advice to you and everyone else is to forget about the mis-named "circle of fourths". It has no real theoretical basis and serves only to confuse the issue. I hope this helped.

gpb

You're actually completely wrong, again. The Circle of Fifths and Fourths are the same thing EXACTLY. Guitarists and Pianists are often taught the Circle of Fifths while Band Kids (not orchestra kids) and Jazz Musicians are often taught the Circle of Fourths (because Jazz progressions are based around fourths usually). And you also don't know what you're talking about when it comes to the qualifier Perfect being disputed as describing a fourth. Perfect is a mathematic term being applied to music. Its describing the amount of vibration being produced by their interval. You've somehow convinced the people on these forums you're musically educated. You've tricked them.
Quote by MrBlues
well it means what type of chord and where it would be in relation to the Key, you have to stack thirds.

SO...

If your in the key of C major, and you write out the scale. you then add a geniric third to each degree(note) in the scale, and then you do it again.
so since C is the first degree its I (1) and its a capital roman nurmearal becuase the generic thirds you stacked before make up a Major triad. and the ones with small case roman numerals are minor chords and the one with the circle is dimished. another example is the third degree(note) E in the C major scale is a iii (3) and its lower case so its minor.

i could explain more but go look it up at musictheory .net

You have no idea what you're talking about. I think you're trying to explain chord construction or something. The circle of fifths chart you're describing is ****ty and so it put the chord symbols for the key of C. Upper case=major, Lower case=minor, lower case with a circle=diminished. Get it? Basically it's a bad chart so for no reason it says "In the key of C the chords are CMajor, Dminor, Eminor, FMAjor, GMajor, Aminor and Bdiminshed.
Quote by theguitarplayin

But that's just a diagram of a circle of fifths Cmaj progression.

To TS: beside what some people have said, CLOCKWISE: Fifths COUNTERCLOCKWISE: Fourths

If you ever want to join into some archaic argument about theory behind the circle of 4ths, you have plenty of time to do it after you learn it this way.

EDIT: Several important things about the circle you can learn straight away
Clockwise: Order of Sharps
Counter: Order of Flats
Also memorize the corresponding minor to each major(faster then counting back a minor3rd)
Congratulations, you know now all your key signatures and have memorized one of the most important intervals in modern music. The Perfect Fifth!
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Last edited by KryptNet at Mar 14, 2008,
You're actually completely wrong, again. The Circle of Fifths and Fourths are the same thing EXACTLY.

I don't think he's completely wrong actually. Yes, the term "Circle of 4ths" is a
common term for the circle. The 5th really IS the dominant interval to be thinking
about -- it's actually called "dominant" for pretty much this reason. The 4th is
closely related to the 5th because it's basically a 5th, inverted. Fundamentally,
the strongest chord motion is a 5th -- either ascending or descending.

Some music is oriented more towards ascending 5ths and other music descending
5ths. I don't think it has anything to do with the intrument. In jazz, counter-
clockwise motion is really important. The protypical progression in jazz, ii-V-I,
if you look at the root motion, it's descending 5ths. You *could* call it ascending
4ths, but that doesn't convey the motion of the chords very well.
You're actually completely wrong, again. The Circle of Fifths and Fourths are the same thing EXACTLY. Guitarists and Pianists are often taught the Circle of Fifths while Band Kids (not orchestra kids) and Jazz Musicians are often taught the Circle of Fourths (because Jazz progressions are based around fourths usually). And you also don't know what you're talking about when it comes to the qualifier Perfect being disputed as describing a fourth. Perfect is a mathematic term being applied to music. Its describing the amount of vibration being produced by their interval. You've somehow convinced the people on these forums you're musically educated. You've tricked them.
I don't know who rattled your cage or what kind of personal issues you're dealing with right now, friend, but you're mistaken on every point. Just for your information and hopefully to set your mind at ease:

In other words, I know a little bit about both theory and the physics of sound generation, particularly how the term "Perfect" relates to the overtone series.

I don't appreciate your implication that I've somehow "tricked" the good folks who frequent this forum, the vast majority of whom have no doubt forgotten more theory than you're ever likely to learn. But still, I bear you no ill will and wish you good luck with your theory studies.
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.
^^gbp0216: isn't it useful to think of fourths because of the common usage in progressions? I've just never confused intervals or circle of 5th progressions from learning about "the circle of fourths". Though your theory is sound(coincidently I was defending you in the Who To Listen thread ) isn't it apples and oranges for someone asking how to memorize the circle of 5ths?
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A 4th is an inverted 5th. It makes more sense to think of it that way from the
standpoint of chord movement. For example a ii-V-I. You could say

It's an ascending 4th followed by a descending 5th or a series of two descending
5ths. I think the latter is more meaningful.
flat out this ****s confusing...
Quote by gpb0216
I don't know who rattled your cage or what kind of personal issues you're dealing with right now, friend, but you're mistaken on every point. Just for your information and hopefully to set your mind at ease:

In other words, I know a little bit about both theory and the physics of sound generation, particularly how the term "Perfect" relates to the overtone series.

I don't appreciate your implication that I've somehow "tricked" the good folks who frequent this forum, the vast majority of whom have no doubt forgotten more theory than you're ever likely to learn. But still, I bear you no ill will and wish you good luck with your theory studies.

How come instead of aknowledging that you were wrong you started listing your credentials? I'm 18 and I am self-taught. Who the **** cares?
How come instead of aknowledging that you were wrong you started listing your credentials? I'm 18 and I am self-taught. Who the **** cares?
I care - a lot. You have stated in a public forum that:

I've been posting on this site for several years now. I've worked very hard to establish my credibility among the guitarists who come to this forum seeking real, useful information. Now you, imnobedhead, appear out of nowhere and accuse me of being an ignorant deceiver. Indeed, I care a lot.

By your own admission you're self-taught. The fact that you're spewing this nonsense and calling it "music theory" tells me you need to find a better teacher, and sooner rather than later. There are several very sharp theorists in this forum. You are not yet one of them.

Most if not all of us are willing to discuss, at any time and in a rational manner, any point of theoretical disagreement that appears in this forum. If you can't be civil with those with whom you disagree, I'd encourage you to go find some naive guitarists somewhere else and "enlighten" them.

gpb

P.S. The correct spelling is "acknowledging".
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.
Last edited by gpb0216 at Mar 15, 2008,
How come instead of aknowledging that you were wrong you started listing your credentials? I'm 18 and I am self-taught. Who the **** cares?

I shall prove that he is correct.

The overtone series works by multiplying the fundamental frequency by all positive integers. A perfect fifth is tuned to 3:2. A perfect fourth is tuned to 4:3. Assume A440 as our fundamental.
NOTE: "d" refers to half flat, "db" refers to flat and a half.

Harmonic 1 = 440 (2) = 880 = Perfect 8ve (1)
Harmonic 2 = 440 (3) = 1320 = Perfect 12th (5)
Harmonic 3 = 440 (4) = 1760 = Perfect 15th (1)
Harmonic 4 = 440 (5) = 2200 = Major 17th (3)
Harmonic 5 = 440 (6) = 2640 = Perfect 19th (5)
Harmonic 6 = 440 (7) = 3080 = Quarter tone flat of Minor 20th (db 7)
Harmonic 7 = 440 (8) = 3520 = Perfect 22nd (1)
Harmonic 8 = 440 (9) = 3960 = Major 23rd (2)
Harmonic 9 = 440 (10) = 4400 = Major 24th (3)
Harmonic 10 = 440 (11) = 4840 = Quarter tone flat of Diminished 26th (db 5)
Harmonic 11 = 440 (12) = 5280 = Perfect 26th (5)
Harmonic 12 = 440 (13) = 5720 = Quarter tone flat of Major 27th (d 6)
Harmonic 13 = 440 (14) = 6160 = Quarter tone flat of Minor 28th (db 7)
Harmonic 14 = 440 (15) = 6600 = Major 28th (7)
Harmonic 15 = 440 (16) = 7040 = Perfect 29th (1)
Harmonic 16 = 440 (17) = 7480 = Quarter tone flat of Major 30th (d 2)
Harmonic 17 = 440 (18) = 7920 = Major 30th (2)
Harmonic 18 = 440 (19) = 8360 = Minor 31st = (b3)
Harmonic 19 = 440 (20) = 8800 = Major 31st = (3)
Harmonic 20 = 440 (21) = 9240 = Quarter tone flat of Perfect 32nd (d 4)
Harmonic 21 = 440 (22) = 9680 = Quarter tone flat of Diminished 33rd (db 5)
Harmonic 22 = 440 (23) = 10120 = Diminished 33rd (b 5)
Harmonic 23 = 440 (24) = 10560 = Perfect 33rd (5)
Harmonic 24 = 440 (25) = 11000 = Quarter tone flat of Minor 34th (db 6)
Harmonic 25 = 440 (26) = 11440 = Quarter tone flat of Major 34th (d 6)
Harmonic 26 = 440 (27) = 11880 = Major 34th (6)
Harmonic 27 = 440 (28) = 12320 = Quarter tone flat of Minor 35th (db 7)
Harmonic 28 = 440 (29) = 12760 = Minor 35th (b 7)
Harmonic 29 = 440 (30) = 13200 = Major 35th (7)
Harmonic 30 = 440 (31) = 13640 = Quarter tone flat of Perfect 36th (d 8)
Harmonic 31 = 440 (32) = 14080 = Perfect 36th (1)

Well after 31 harmonics, there are none that correspond to a perfect fourth. Some of these may be off by +-25 cents, as I rounded them to the nearest quarter tone. My estimate of when the perfect fourth would actually appear would be the 42nd harmonic. However, I feel I have proven that the perfect fourth doesn't fit well in the harmonic series, as it has not appeared after the 32nd harmonic, which would not be audible if produced by any acoustic instrument, and is a full five octaves higher than the fundamental. Thus I will not calculate the next 11 harmonics to show when a perfect fourth will appear.

Who do you think is wrong now?
^^same here. That was cool.
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Quote by Galvanise69
Who do I trust? Who are these theorists?
Just read the threads carefully and slowly. Before long you'll begin recognizing the differences between the theorists and the posers.
Quote by Galvanise69
If he's spewing nonsense, there's absolutely no hope for me then.
That's simply not true. The fundamentals of music theory are straightforward and easy to learn. You must, however, do your own homework.

Most of the theory threads that appear in this forum are variations on these themes and examples:

These three motives appear over and over and over. Once you've done your own reading and understand the theoretical fundamentals, you won't be confused by the almost infinite variety on these themes you see in the forum.

If you'll do this, then there is absolutely hope for you. Happy hunting.

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.
Quote by Galvanise69

Key Signatures - "The key of A Double-Sharp is absolutely, positively theoretically possible, and I can prove it!" - Ive always thought double sharps are perfectly plausible, how else do you get G# maj scale??

He meant there are no ## *keys*, not that ## can't be used.
Quote by Galvanise69
Why not?

That seems a bit illogical, would you just use Ab instead?

Our system of notation isn't really set up to deal with double sharps or more than seven sharps.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by gpb0216

Quote by Galvanise69
Right, those questions you said, are you agreeing with them or disagreeing with them?
I am so incredibly disagreeing with them. All three of these statements, or ones very much like them, appear in the forum on a regular basis. They are all incorrect.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Quote by Galvanise69
Couldent you?
You could, but you could also throw a pen in the air, have it land on its tip, go to work, experience an earthquake (your house and office), come home, and find the pen still on its tip.
Quote by Galvanise69
What do you mean isnt?

Sure powertab and guitar pro have their limitations, but in notation, im sure you could put in a key signature with double sharps?

Couldent you?

No you couldn't. The only time double sharps come up is in like, classical notation. They come up in my music theory class when we have to use, say A double sharp as opposed to B natural.
Quote by Galvanise69
Ive heard you use that one before... I want my money back!!

So what your saying is that, yeah you could, but there really isnt any need to.

It's not done, and if you did do it, the people who had to play your composition would likely either kill you or walk out.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Galvanise69
Ive heard you use that one before... I want my money back!!

So what your saying is that, yeah you could, but there really isnt any need to.
Change pen to capo.

When you write music, you do what you think will make it easiest for the person reading the score. That means that if you start in G major a modulate up a half step, you should probably write it in Ab. Even though G# would technically correct, since you're going up in pitch, the performer would either walk out or kill you.
Quote by Galvanise69
Fair enough, although that would be kind of funny, it would probably be hazourdous to my health, getting killed.

So we just use?

# Keys C G D A E B F# C#
b Keys F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb/B Fb/E

right?

Looks good to me.
Quote by Galvanise69
Fair enough, although that would be kind of funny, it would probably be hazourdous to my health, getting killed.

So we just use?

# Keys C G D A E B F# C#
b Keys F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb/B Fb/E

right?
The signatures containing flats end with Cb (seven flats). Fb, requiring eight flats, is not supported in our system of notation.
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.
Quote by Galvanise69
Fair enough, although that would be kind of funny, it would probably be hazourdous to my health, getting killed.

So we just use?

# Keys C G D A E B F# C#
b Keys F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb/B Fb/E

right?

+1 to Gbp's post.

Also Cmaj is considered a to have a natural key signature rather than a sharp key signature. This is probably what confused you, as you probably assumed that if there were 7 sharp keys, that there should also be 7 flat keys.
Quote by Galvanise69
So the only ones we use are

# C G D A E B F# C#
b C Fb Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb

Like that eh?

Pretty much we dont go over 7 flats

G# minor?

What would you play instead of that?
Ive seen a few songs in G# minor
G# A# B C# D# E F# G#

What other minor key signature would you use

You could use Bmajor, but thats not a minor key

Minor

Natural: A
Sharps: E, B, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#
Flats: D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab,
Quote by Galvanise69
So the only ones we use are

# C G D A E B F# C#
b C Fb Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb

Like that eh?

Pretty much we dont go over 7 flats

G# minor?

What would you play instead of that?
Ive seen a few songs in G# minor
G# A# B C# D# E F# G#

What other minor key signature would you use

You could use Bmajor, but thats not a minor key

G# minor and B major are relative keys, meaning they share the same key signature - five sharps.
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.
Theoretically there are no parallel majors for a#, d#, g# minor. Just as Db Gb Cb have no parallel minors. So it's just something that wouldn't be done in traditional music. No reason you can't tho.
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