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#1
"5.1 - The Circle Of Fifths.
The CoF (or Co5) is your tool to find what notes are in what key. This is very useful to me and many other people, but if you don’t want to use it, and can remember all the major scales another way, that’s fine. As long as you know the info it’s all good. As you move clockwise from C, you go up a fifth. This is the Circle of Fifths:

*pic*

Notice how G is a perfect fifth from C, B is from E, etc... You don’t really have to memorize this but it does help. If you can picture a fifth interval in your head (think power chords) then this isn’t hard to memorize at all.

Starting at the top, at C there are no sharps or flats. As you turn clockwise (To G) you add 1 sharp to the key signature, until you get to F#. Same with going to F. You add one flat to the key signature. How do you know what sharp or flat to add? Well, here is the order:"


I understand that, and I even printed out the picture because it's useful, what don't understand is the part I put in bold. What does it mean add a sharp?
#2
add one sharp to the next note
I play a guitar strung with Yngwie's chest hair
#3
if you go to the right the key signature is made of sharps or flats meanin the key of g has 1 sharp witch is f# and the next key witch is d has f# and c# and so on
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#4
How am I supposed to read this? I don't get it. And I know it's simple.
#5
I'm not sure I quite understand what you're asking, but...

For every step clockwise you add one flat. The order in which flats are to be added are as follows:

B E A D G C F

Thus, C has no flats, the key of F has 1 flat: Bb, and the key of Bb has 2 flats: Bb, Eb.

The same applies to finding keys with sharps in them. For every step counter clockwise, one sharp is added. The order in which SHARPS are to be added are:

FCGDAEBF

Thus, C has no sharps, the key of G has 1 sharp: F#, the key of D has 2 sharps: F#, C#.

I hope this helps...
Last edited by Paquijón at Jul 22, 2008,
#6
For the sharp keys (going clockwise)

Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle

I'll assume you realise the CoF has derived it's name due to the fact that the bold letters are each a perfect 5th above its predesessor.

The way to find out what sharp to add is to take the major seventh interval of each major scale.:

F# is the 7th in G major
C# is the 7th in D major....and so on

For the flat keys you go anti clockwise. You would then regard this diagram as the Circle of Fourths.

From C major:

1. Count up a perfect 4th. You'll land at F.

2. Look at the perfect 4th interval in Fmajor - it's Bb.

3. Count up a perfect 4th from Bb, you'll land at Eb

4. Look at the perfect 4th interval in Eb major - it's Ab.

Just keep going.....
Last edited by mdc at Jul 23, 2008,
#7
Firstly, all of these scales are diatonic, meaning that they each have seven notes and each letter of the musical alphabet is used. So, since C major has no sharps or flats, it has the notes C D E F G A B. When you go up a fifth to G, then you add one sharp, F#. So the notes of G major are G A B C D E F#. Go up another fifth to D, and you get two sharps. So, the notes would be D E F# G A B C#. It just continues in a cycle, until you return back to C major.
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#9
This was the TS's main question

Quote by fob12
How do you know what sharp or flat to add?


It's highlighted in red in my 1st post.

TS btw - Thank you for the heads up on Corwinoid's wizardry.

Edit: Another thing to note is that adjacent keys in the circle are the most closely related (they have common notes). So if you're writing a song and you want to change key, it'll most likely fit a lot easier if you pick an adjacent key from the Co5's or 4's!!
Last edited by mdc at Jul 22, 2008,
#10
Quote by fob12
I understand that, and I even printed out the picture because it's useful, what don't understand is the part I put in bold. What does it mean add a sharp?

That is his question. He didn't know what 'add a sharp' meant. In the article he quoted, it gives you the order that the sharps appear anyways.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
American Strat w/ Texas Specials
Ibanez JS1000
Vox Wah (true bypass & LED mod)
Dr. Z Maz 18 JR NR
#11
I was looking at this quote

Quote by fob12
How do you know what sharp or flat to add?


There's some confusion here. He's got some info all the same.
#12
Quote by Iron_Dude
Firstly, all of these scales are diatonic, meaning that they each have seven notes and each letter of the musical alphabet is used. So, since C major has no sharps or flats, it has the notes C D E F G A B. When you go up a fifth to G, then you add one sharp, F#. So the notes of G major are G A B C D E F#. Go up another fifth to D, and you get two sharps. So, the notes would be D E F# G A B C#. It just continues in a cycle, until you return back to C major.

I think I just got the lightbulb over my head.


Okay, so I start on my note, I'll say A, and the A Major scale has A, E, B, F#, Db, and Ab? The notes in that particular major scale are 5 steps clockwise away from the starting point?
#13
3 steps clockwise. You have "sharp keys" and "flat keys". You can't label notes with sharps and flats in a diatonic scale.
#14
Quote by fob12
Okay, so I start on my note, I'll say A, and the A Major scale has A, E, B, F#, Db, and Ab?
Why would you write those notes with flats? They're C# and G# as the CoF says.

And what do you mean by "The notes in that particular major scale are 5 steps clockwise away from the starting point?"

Quote by mdc
You can't label notes with sharps and flats in a diatonic scale.
You can and must for some harmonic and melodic minor scales, but for the major scale and its *modes, you use either sharps or flats, but not both. TS, if this confuses you, just assume that you can only use either sharps or flats but not both until you progress further in your learning.


*I will turn into an unbelievable bitch if anyone brings up modes.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Jul 22, 2008,
#15
I understand modes and stuff for the most part and I'm getting theory relatively fast, but there's just some gaps I'm having a little trouble understanding like the Co5.


Well the chart says Eb and Db and such, so I just went with it since I should learn both of the names for the note right? Anyway.


The Co5 is a way to determine the notes in a major scale right? If it is, what's the process for doing that? Let's say I start on A, what would I need to do from there to determine the notes in the scale?
#16
Quote by fob12


The Co5 is a way to determine the notes in a major scale right? If it is, what's the process for doing that? Let's say I start on A, what would I need to do from there to determine the notes in the scale?


You need to understand the formula of the major scale.

Tone Tone Semitone Tone Tone Tone Semitone.

I don't want to have to say this but I don't think you understand modes if you don't know this formula.

Quote by bangoodcharlote
*I will turn into an unbelievable bitch if anyone brings up modes.


#17
Quote by fob12
Well the chart says Eb and Db and such
I personally edited that lesson, so it better note.

In fact, it doesn't say that. The lesson clearly states that the three sharps in A are F#, C#, and G#.

Quote by fob12
The Co5 is a way to determine the notes in a major scale right? If it is, what's the process for doing that? Let's say I start on A, what would I need to do from there to determine the notes in the scale?


"Starting at the top, at C there are no sharps or flats. As you turn clockwise (To G) you add 1 sharp to the key signature, until you get to F#. Same with going to F. You add one flat to the key signature. How do you know what sharp or flat to add? Well, here is the order:

Sharps: F C G D A E B
Flats: B E A D G C F

Sharps to the left, and flats to the right. So if we know D has two sharps, then we look at the line here. F# and C# are the sharps in the key of D. Now take Eb. We know from the Co5 that it has 3 flats, and the line tells us the first 3 flats are B, E and A. So we know Eb had Bb, Eb, and Ab in it. This is what helps you will the major scales. Since we know D has F# and C#, we then know D major scale is D E F# G A B C# D. In Eb, we know it would be Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb. You can do this for every key. Take any note off there, find how many flats or sharps it has, then look at the line to see what flats or sharps it has. That way you can find the major scale of any key."
#18
Well, as I previously said, all diatonic scales must use each letter of the musical alphabet once and only once. So, for A major, you will have the same notes as a D major scale, but with one added sharp (since it's one step up in the circle). Really, the easiest way is to memorize the order that they appear. In order, they are F# C# G# D# A# E# B#. You can use little saying to remember them, such as Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle, but I'd suggest just learning them cold.

So, for A major, you would have three sharps. The scale would thus be A B C# D E F# G#.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
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#19
Quote by fob12
Well the chart says Eb and Db and such, so I just went with it since I should learn both of the names for the note right? Anyway.


That's chart shows keys, not the notes used in the keys. I'm guessing that's where you're getting mixed up. BGC's above explanation is very good.
#20
Quote by Iron_Dude


So, for A major, you would have three sharps. The scale would thus be A B C# D E F# G#.


fob12, you see the notes here? Use the formula I mentioned above and see how it fits together.

This runs true for all the major scales.
#22
Quote by mdc
fob12, you see the notes here? Use the formula I mentioned above and see how it fits together.

This runs true for all the major scales.

I know the forumla for the Major scale, and all that. I just don't know the notes for the major scale in every key yet, and from what I understand the Co5 is supposed to help me with that and make it easier right?


So if that chart, or the picture, is just keys, then how does it help me?
#23
Quote by fob12
So if that chart, or the picture, is just keys, then how does it help me?
Read my post 10 times or until you get it, whichever comes first. Don't post in here until you've done that.
#24
Quote by fob12
I know the forumla for the Major scale, and all that. I just don't know the notes for the major scale in every key yet, and from what I understand the Co5 is supposed to help me with that and make it easier right?


So if that chart, or the picture, is just keys, then how does it help me?


Head in a book option is good, to a point, but

Apply it on the guitar too and work out the notes that way, and have a good read of this whole thread again.....and again....
#25
and again
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
American Strat w/ Texas Specials
Ibanez JS1000
Vox Wah (true bypass & LED mod)
Dr. Z Maz 18 JR NR
#26
When it says add a sharp, does that mean go up the Co5, like "G, D, A, E, B, F#" and then I know that the G Major scale has F#? The E Major scale would have "E, F#, C#, G#, D#" and the rest natural?
#28
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Paquijón, that chart is backwards. G should be the right of C, not F.

That's why I edited the lesson in my sig.



It's been so long since I've actually referred to an image of the CoF (I usually just remember the order in which sharps/flat fall) that I didn't even catch that. Thanks for the heads up, Sue!
#29
I was going to post a lesson about this kind of stuff, but have some problems linking images and such...
Maybe I will do today...

I posted it in the UG contribution forum, maybe it will be easier for you to understanc (it is my first lesson, I can't be sure of that)...
#30
I would've responded to this sooner but my internet crapped out for like 2 hours.


Okay. So if I start on E, then the E Major scale would include E, B, F#, C#, G#, and D# and A?


If that's right, then how do I determine F? Since I know if has a A#, but if I go by this "rule", I would bypass A# and it would make it seem like a natural scale? Am I supposed to use some rule with flats?
#32
Quote by bangoodcharlote
The rules with flats is included in that lesson. Please read it.

The F scale does not contain an A# note, either.

The F Major scale? I'm pretty sure it does...
#34
The Music Theory FAQ says this:

Natural Key
C major: C D E F G A B

Sharp Keys
G major: G A B C D E F# G
D major: D E F# G A B C#
A major: A B C# D E F# G#
E major: E F# G# A B C# D#

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

Flat Keys
Ab major: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Eb major: Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Bb major: Bb C D Eb F G A
F major: F G A Bb C D E
It says the F Major has a Bb/A#
#36
I thought Bb is the same as A#, just diatonically it's called Bb because there's an A in there.


When I try to figure out the Major scale here, do I do the Major scale formula on the page? F (W) G (W) A (H) Bb (W) C (W) D (W) E (H) Eb?


So let me get this straight, I use this picture, and use the major scale formula and then I find out what the notes are in that particular Major scale?
#37
Using the CoF is instead of using the WWHWWWH method. You should understand both, but you'll end up using one.

But if you follow the instructions in that lesson, you can find the notes in any key.

And you're correct about why Bb is used, but I'm wondering why you said A#.
#38
Okay well I tried to make a picture for this to illustrate it better, but my internet doesn't feel like loading hosting pages.


Would another way to look at it be like this?


Look at F, then draw a line from F to B, and you would have the notes in C Maj, and look at C and draw a line from C to F#, and you'd have G Maj, and look at D and draw a line from D to C# and you'd have D Maj.


Is that acceptable? Or am I still missing the initial process.
#39
Quote by fob12
Is that acceptable? Or am I still missing the initial process.
That does work, but you are missing the initial process. Where your plan fails is that, in order to figure out the scale you need to know the root, 4th, and 7th, so you're already figuring out the notes with the WWHWWWH method.

Read the following a bunch of times. It explains everything:

Starting at the top, at C there are no sharps or flats. As you turn clockwise (To G) you add 1 sharp to the key signature, until you get to F#. Same with going to F. You add one flat to the key signature. How do you know what sharp or flat to add? Well, here is the order:


Sharps: F C G D A E B
Flats: B E A D G C F


Sharps to the left, and flats to the right. So if we know D has two sharps, then we look at the line here. F# and C# are the sharps in the key of D. Now take Eb. We know from the Co5 that it has 3 flats, and the line tells us the first 3 flats are B, E and A. So we know Eb had Bb, Eb, and Ab in it. This is what helps you will the major scales. Since we know D has F# and C#, we then know D major scale is D E F# G A B C# D. In Eb, we know it would be Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb. You can do this for every key. Take any note off there, find how many flats or sharps it has, then look at the line to see what flats or sharps it has. That way you can find the major scale of any key.
#40
Quote by bangoodcharlote



Starting at the top, at C there are no sharps or flats. As you turn clockwise (To G) you add 1 sharp to the key signature, until you get to F#. Same with going to F. You add one flat to the key signature. How do you know what sharp or flat to add? Well, here is the order:


Sharps: F C G D A E B
Flats: B E A D G C F


Sharps to the left, and flats to the right. So if we know D has two sharps, then we look at the line here. F# and C# are the sharps in the key of D. Now take Eb. We know from the Co5 that it has 3 flats, and the line tells us the first 3 flats are B, E and A. So we know Eb had Bb, Eb, and Ab in it. This is what helps you will the major scales. Since we know D has F# and C#, we then know D major scale is D E F# G A B C# D. In Eb, we know it would be Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb. You can do this for every key. Take any note off there, find how many flats or sharps it has, then look at the line to see what flats or sharps it has. That way you can find the major scale of any key.

Is that something I'm supposed to know before hand, (I do) or am I supposed to know that based on this Co5 picture?


What is the Key Signature? Where does it start and end? If it's G, would the signature be C and D?
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