Circle Of Fifths Cheats

How I used my guitar to "cheat" in my Music Theory I class Part I.

8
Before we begin this lesson you need some rudimentary music theory. See the Music Theory FAQ on this website. You can stop at the section on the modes of the major scale as they won't be discussed here. However, it is absolutely essential that you understand how to build major scales and have some basic fretboard knowledge. In my college music theory class I had a heck of a time memorizing the circle of fifths. I have to be honest and admit that sitting around memorizing this stuff was not the most enjoyable thing. Being somewhat lazy I was always looking for an angle short of cheating to get me through some of these classes. Shortly before the final for my Music Theory I class I discovered a really easy way to nail the circle of fifths cold. The cool thing was that this allowed me to be able to nail key signatures perfectly every time. No more flash cards! Plus I discovered some cool fretboard idiosyncrasies that helped with improvisation, mastering scales, and chords. All from this quirky little discovery. The Circle of Fifths is merely a diagram that shows the relationship of all of the keys in western music. To see what it looks like check out the one on Wikipedia. With the exception of the tuning from the third to the second string (G to B) the guitar is tuned in five step intervals. For example, when tuning by ear you play the fifth fret on the sixth string (Low E) to get the same pitch as the open 5th string (A). In music theory this is called a Unison. What is cool about the guitar is that this interval is the same no matter where you are playing on the neck. For example the eighth fret on the Low E is C. So is the third fret on the A string. Unisons are always five frets apart. What this demonstrates for us guitar players is that the shape of any interval remains the same regardless of the notes or position across most of the guitar. So once we can play intervals that are a fifth apart (seven steps) the circle of fifths should be easy. Take a look at that Circle of fifths diagram again. I recommend printing it out for this lesson. Notice that the next key after C going clockwise around the circle is G. So the diagram is telling you that G is a fifth above C. You could memorize this along with memorizing what a fifth is above G and a fifth above D and so on or you could memorize the shape of that interval on your guitar. If you memorize the shape, you don't need to memorize the whole circle of fifths. I don't know about you but I'm better at memorizing one thing rather than a bunch. If you have no idea about what the notes are on your guitar this may be a little more challenging. Begin by placing your index finger on the third fret of the fifth string. You are now playing a C note. Again, a fifth above C is G. We know this from looking at Circle of Fifths. So now we need to find the where G is. There are actually two G's within reach from here. Take a look at the diagram below.
e|--|--|--|--|--| B|--|--|--|--|--| G|--|--|--|--|--| D|--|--|--|--|G-| A|--|--|C-|--|--| E|--|--|G-|--|--|
I've taken the liberty of writing out the note names on the frets to make it obvious for you. Remember how I said the shapes of intervals do not change except for when you jump from the G string to the B string. We'll do that in another lesson. Notice how the fifth sits right underneath the C and also within reach of the ring finger. So if I asked you to find the fifth of G without having to look at the circle of fifths, could you? The shape is almost the same. Take a look.
e|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--| B|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--| G|--|--|--|--|--|--|D-|--| D|--|--|--|--|G-|--|--|--| A|--|--|--|--|D-|--|--|--| E|--|--|G-|--|--|--|--|--|
This diagram shows a six string guitar so there is no fifth below G on the sixth string. But the ring finger still lands on D on the fifth string. By now something in your head should be clicking about power chords. That's because power chords are simply the root and the fifth played together. See if you can figure out the fifth of D without looking at the diagram below.
e|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--| B|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--| G|--|--|--|--|--|--|D-|--| D|--|--|--|--|--|--|A-|--| A|--|--|--|--|D-|--|--|--| E|--|--|--|--|A-|--|--|--|
I left the D on the G string in there so it looks a little different than the first diagram but the concept is the same. To find the fifth of D just create a simple D power chord on the fifth string. Check out the circle of fifths diagram again. You can see that the circle goes from C to G to D to A. You just did that on your guitar. If I asked you what is a fifth above A you might just say E without even having to think too much about it because you can see the chord and notes in your head. How about a fifth above E? It's B right? I told you it was easy. If you can play power chords and know the names of the notes on top three strings you can easily build the circle of fifths. What if you want to go in reverse? That's easier than you think. C is the fifth of what note? You probably didn't have to think too hard to come up with F. F is the fifth of what note. Again, check it against the Circle of Fifths but just place your ring finger on F of either the fourth or fifth string and play a chord and you'll see what I mean. Your index finger lands on Bb. Remember from the Music Theory FAQ that Going counterclockwise results in flats. Clockwise results in sharps. Regardless there are those power chord shapes again. What makes this approach so easy is that most of us know the notes on the Low E, A, and D string really well from playing power chords. To cut to the chase, if you play this little lick you have made your way around the circle of fifths note by note. It's based on what you just learned and the pattern is so ridiculously simple that if you have to memorize it you missed the point. See how you just keep moving up two frets?
E|--------------------------------------------| B|--------------------------------------------| G|--------------------------------------------| D|--------------------------------------------| A|--3---5---7---9---11----13----15------------| E|----3---5---7---9----11----13---------------|
Remember how I told you that from this exercise I was able to nail key signatures? Each time you move clockwise around the Circle of Fifths you add a sharp to the previous key. Each time you move counter-clockwise you add a flat to the previous key. For example the key of C contains no sharps or flats. The key of G contains one sharp. That sharp happens to be F#. Without getting too obvious let me ask you a question that will probably open your eyes. How far is F# to G? A half step right? So if you see a key signature with one sharp you simply need to start at C using the previous example and go to G the next key. That one "jump", if you will, around the Circle of fifths represents one sharp. Conversely, if you saw just the F# you also know that the music is in the key of G because all you had to do what raise that F# a half step and you know the key is G. To further illustrate this the next key on the Circle of Fifths after G is D right? You knew that from just making a G power chord. D contains two sharps. You could do the whole flashcard thing and memorize that two sharps means the key of D. Tedious. The two sharps in the key of D are F# and C#. What is a half step above C#? D right? Again, the very next accidental is always a half step below the new key signature. See how easy my approach is? Now what if you wanted to know what the accidentals are in a given key? To make this obvious to you lets look at the key of A. It contains three sharps. F#, C#, and G#. Now look at the pattern of those accidentals on the fretboard. Does it look familar? Its the same pattern as the circle of fifths only you start a fifth lower. The accidentals literally follow the circle two frets behind. So let me ask you another question. What do you guess the next accidental will be for the Key of E? You probably don't even need to look at your guitar. If you guessed D# then you've got it. Let's talk about going in reverse. F major contains one flat. It happens to be Bb. Remember we are moving from C major to F major around that Circle of Fifths What is a half step below C? B right. What if we drop that another half step. We get Bb right? It the same thinking as going clockwise we just need to reverse things a little because if we were going from the key of F to the key of C we would have to raise the seventh tone of the next key a half step right? Since C is the next key we would have needed to raise that Bb to B. So what do imagine is the next key below F? This is even easier than going forward. If used your guitar to figure this out and asked yourself "F is the fifth of what" and played a Bb you should have had and "AHA!" moment. The accidentals preceed the next key around the circle of fifths. Pretty cool huh? So what do you imagine is the next key after Bb? Let's talk this through. What are the two accidentals in Bb? Okay Bb is a dead give away. The other one is Eb right? Remember how we just needed to go two half steps or a whole step below the previous key? The previous key was F right? Eb is a whole step below F. So the key of Bb contains a Bb and an Eb. What is the next key? Eb. Let's do it again. Eb contains three accidentals. Since the key before Eb was Bb we only need to look at what note is a whole step below Bb to find our next key. A whole step below Bb is Ab. So now we now that the key of Eb contains a Bb, an Eb, and an Ab. So what is the next key? Ab. Only two more keys to go. See if you can do it on your own. Take a look at the circle of fifths again. Notice how the circles kind of overlap so that Db and C# contain the same exact pitches. The same is true for the keys of F# and Gb. Those are the enharmonic keys listed in the Music Theory FAQ. Run through this exercise a few times and you'll see how easy this really is. The more you do this the more this starts to make sense. It starts to flow and you'll realize you don't need to memorize the Cirlce of Fifths. In the future when someone names a key try using this fretboard approach. See if you can figure out what the accidentals are. Let's be honest. You are going to use this stuff when you have your guitar in your hands so why not use it to "cheat".

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    Imago Dei
    Andraysexy wrote: Thats a very valid point, and i'd just like to correct my mistake my my 100% agreeing with BassistGal. Perhaps I over-looked that one comment. I may have been a tad bit biased, what with being fed-up with all the talentless rockstars out there that brainwash our generation into thinking that if u can do a 3-string d minor arpegggio sweep, or at least the shape, your amazing. I once played a song i've been writting that incorporated alot of sweeps behind my back, and my friend thought I was the best thing to happen to guitar. Clearly i'm not. In my own opinion, and this is just my own opinion, so no hating on me, but Michael Romeo seems to have mastered the instrument to perfection. *ducks and covers from DragonForce fans throwing their BC Rich's and death metal pedals* Mind you, you make a very stong argument about bridging this gap between the familiar and unfamiliar. I'm interperating it almost as a cheat sheet? In the long run, two people with the exact same peronality and musical style, the 1 who knows their theory will always come out on top, and I know many people will agree with me On a side note, my favourite band is Tool, and to my knowledge Adam Jones is not the master of his fret board. A little hypocritical of me eh
    That depends on what you mean by "talentless". Would you say that John Lennon was a talented guitarist, musician, or songwriter? Personally I would have to say he was a decent (not talented) rhythm guitar player. I'm speaking technically here. As a musician (often translated as knowledge of theory) again I would have to say he was maybe barely ok. Not great. Why? In the songwriting catagory Lennon was a modern virtuoso. Of that there can be no denial. But even Lennon acknowledged that he didn't know the theory behind what he was creating. So he gets a total score of "ok" because of his creativity would have to be "amazing" and a "bad" for the lack of theory. So when we say "amazing", on what basis do we make that determination. If its on theory, then the perhaps the most influential songwriter in the last fifty years and acknowledged viruoso in that department becomes just "ok" when the yardstick of theory and technique are applied. When you say "mastered" it implies technically. So is that the yardstick? Because to be honest with you while progressive metal is my favorite style, I would rather listen to either Tool or the Beatles. I base this on my Itunes records, and yes I have the Beatles, Symphony X, and Tool CD's. Why? Are have Tool and the Beatles "mastered" somthing Symphony X hasn't? So no I don't think you are a hypocrite. You can master theory without ever picking up an instrument. It is a science, like math, not an art, like writing a book. But music ultimately is an art. Its like food. You can create a nutritionally perfect protein shake, but ultimately we are all going to crave a juicy steak. Fortunately we get the whole package. If you had to choose a second guitar player for your band and you had Lennon, Romeo, and Jones to pick from, who would you pick? My nod would have to go to Lennon. Sorry. Which just goes to show that in the end songwriting wins.
    huevos
    Imago Dei wrote: So no I don't think you are a hypocrite. You can master theory without ever picking up an instrument. It is a science, like math, not an art, like writing a book. But music ultimately is an art. Its like food. You can create a nutritionally perfect protein shake, but ultimately we are all going to crave a juicy steak.
    that right there^, is where its at. im starting to notice that the elitists are starting to shine through. by elitists, im refering to obnoxious music theory freaks. if your studying music theory, but are neither obnoxious nor a freak, this doesn't apply. i honestly can't stand this over-analyzing of music. doing so kills its soul. you bastards are killing its soul! not the million pop-rock/punk/etc bands (well, you can blame most of them). my thoughts on theory are that i wanna learn only enough for practical usage (not just on a specific instrument). i feel the extent of this is having a feel for the basic groundwork. no more. and although mathcore/prog bands sound like calculated piles of pure, steaming shit, the good ones have this unexplainable essence that contrasts their fecal origins. oddly enough, two of my favorite bands come from this genre (The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Number 12). its great cuz most people absolutely abhor them. i just think that the casual listener will not get into this type of music because its exhausting stuff. you really need some patience and an appriciation for nonsense and the unknown. speaking of ****ed up and weird shit, you should check it some avant-garde by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Madulin of the Well/Kayo Dot, Carnival in Coal, Kekal, and most anything by Mike Patton. although its far left-field stuff, i feel that they don't portray any elitism that the avant-garde label implies. aside from the fact that their just freaks.
    Imago Dei
    deathcoreking12 wrote: well may i ask is a good place or book to learn musical theary i know a little but i want to brush up and further my knowledge.
    Try "Practical Theory For Guitar" by Don Latarski.
    SikkiNixx
    Argh, people saying "im experienced, blah blah" why are you ****ing on a lesson about circle of fifths then? Fuck off moaning! Who cares about your negative input? No one!!
    metalcore123
    it's not about mastering the fretboard. its about having fun, making music that sounds good, and writing what you want. people will learn whatever way they end up learning.
    deathcoreking12
    well may i ask is a good place or book to learn musical theary i know a little but i want to brush up and further my knowledge.
    t3l3caster
    I don't care what other people have said, it never used to make sense until now. Thankyou so much.
    ShiftyNermal
    Good lesson. We just did the circle of fifths in my university theory class. Easy stuff, I have like a 95 average in the class. Great for a beginner though (especially the key signature stuff, I find key signature to be such an annoyance)
    synpet713192
    congratulations. you just posted what us guitarists call "common knowledge". but, awesome for beginners
    Neebster
    awsome lesson i never quite understood what it was but i can play all the notes in order and recite them aswell thanx to that poem ( "saying" that every one said was so stupid but it actualy rocked)
    x_vaguetheory_x
    Since, Freedom of Speech is Blatantly Obvious. I Will Say. Impressive. I've Been Playing 6 Months Is It. But,I'm Focusing more on Understanding the Pitches , Notes , Scales, Stepping Patterns Involved within The Process. I DOn't care Much For Tablature. It's Helpful Though. There's Nothing wrong with D Tuning. Most guitarists focus On finger actions. Sure You can play a power chord in drop D by Barre with the Index finger. Instead of Standard Tuning of the root note, a 5th and An 8th which is also the root. As For Arpeggios. I'm Understood they're just, Independently Played Notes of a chord. Be it, minor, a maj7th . diminished. augmented. But. Since I don't know Many chords. I use the theory of half steps to Invent my Own chords. As with Criticizing The Radio Bands. I Don't Say They Suck. But Generally. They Are, Song Writers. Not Full Fledged Musicians. There's a Balance. They do It To Be heard. Not A Jam Session or displaying their live talents. THey manifest in that category. Writing a song takes thought, heart and soul. I Know, I'm Off Topic Here. Or about to be. But, It's the truth. Song Writers don't brag about how many blues licks they can shred on a Les Paul. It's about emotion and song craft. Song Writers Know. Chords. Progressions. Sometimes More. Even So, Writing Lyrics before the melody. SO, THey'll Take a I Chord, Go to the IV, Usually Back to the I. Or On To the V Which Would Be A Dominant 7th Chord. Rest Assured. People Are Going To Hate Me For This Message. I Just Know Chords, And Like 4 Scales. Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor (ascending ,Descending) That Pentatonic Blues Scale. Which I Love By The Way. But, I Prefer The sound of the Minor Pentatonic. Though, It Requires Good Stretching of Fingers. Mine Are Long. So, Doesn't Bother Me. I Learn To Memorize My 5ths. By That middle Note of A Power Chord. I Don't Mind The "D" Tuning. Look At System Of A Down. Everyone Loves Them. I'm More Into The Symphony Metal Like, Within Temptation,Delain,After Forever, Tristania.Blessed Vibeke Stene. She'll Be Missed Greatly. But On Forward. They're Song Writers, Not Full Time Musicians. Hmm. there's An Idea. Editorialists. Write An Article. On Phrasing, And The Art Of Song Craft. I've Just Made This Account By Stumbling Across This Forum Topic. Seriously. When There's A Subject On Songcraft message Me. There Probably Already Is, But It's 4:36 A.M. And I'm Wasting My Precious Time Commenting This. Please. Stop Badgering The Song Writers. Without Them. You Wouldn't Have No Inspirations. Not Everybody Wants to Hear A Joe Satriani Or Steve Vai Instrumental Album, Not To mention . Yngwie Malmsteen. Since They Want To Talk Of Arpeggiations. Chromatic Scales, Whole Tones. modes blah blah. All Based On The Aeolian & Ionian. Just Different Half Stepping Patterns. Anyways. Most Of The Audience Is, Listeners. Not Musicians. I Agree. The Media has Went To Garbage. But Hey. There's a Few Artists Out There. Like , Tool As Which Was Portrayed Above Me. Stone Sour. Even Pantera Had a Good Lead With Vulgar Display O Power. Rest In Peace Dimebag. Eric Clapton Was A Song Writer. But Man. Was He A Guitar Virtuoso. Can't Forget Stevie Ray Vaughan. Sorry For Being Lengthy. This'll Be repetitive To Conclude The Predicate. Power Chords Help me To Memorize The 5ths. As I Have Memorized The Fretboard. Not An Easy Task. I'd Rather Play Piano, If I'm Doing That Again. I Bid Y'all Good Day. I Probably Won't Read This Again. B*T*W* It's Listed the strings, E,A,D,G,B,E For A Reason. So , You Know where The notes are when Reading sheet music, and Have A Picture Of where Each Note belongs. As The Open low E is way below that Treble clef on the ledger line. Much Different To An E On The D String. As With Conjunct and Disjunct Melodies. I don't Like Guitarists who Jump Intensive Intervals. By Intensive I mean Octaves On a Guitar. Makes It Near Impossible For The Vocalists. And Mostly They Don't Rest Their Phrases, Allowing The singer To Breath. I Could, Go On Forever. But,No. I'm Sleepy. And Fatigued. -Raul-
    simonzwaan
    The_Reaper6 wrote: "... May i point out that i am only 15 years old, and am doing year 10 level Music..." your a little cocky piece of shit I call it the Cycle of Fifths. Major Key|Number of Sharps| Name Of Sharps| 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# The same works For Minor..But only difference is the keys are replaced by Their Relative minor, and you have to make a column for The Leading Note. If you would like me to send more Theory regarding The cycle of Fifths, and Fourths, Just Email me.. Bat_country66@hotmail.com
    Andraysexy
    i don't know why it says "mistake my my 100%". I can't remember what I was meaning, but I assume you all get it lol
    Andraysexy
    Thats a very valid point, and i'd just like to correct my mistake my my 100% agreeing with BassistGal. Perhaps I over-looked that one comment. I may have been a tad bit biased, what with being fed-up with all the talentless rockstars out there that brainwash our generation into thinking that if u can do a 3-string d minor arpegggio sweep, or at least the shape, your amazing. I once played a song i've been writting that incorporated alot of sweeps behind my back, and my friend thought I was the best thing to happen to guitar. Clearly i'm not. In my own opinion, and this is just my own opinion, so no hating on me, but Michael Romeo seems to have mastered the instrument to perfection. *ducks and covers from DragonForce fans throwing their BC Rich's and death metal pedals* Mind you, you make a very stong argument about bridging this gap between the familiar and unfamiliar. I'm interperating it almost as a cheat sheet? In the long run, two people with the exact same peronality and musical style, the 1 who knows their theory will always come out on top, and I know many people will agree with me On a side note, my favourite band is Tool, and to my knowledge Adam Jones is not the master of his fret board. A little hypocritical of me eh
    Imago Dei
    Andraysexy wrote: I 100% agree with BassistGal. All this article does in increase the amount of terrible guitarists in terrible bands. Not saying this is the whole reason for it, but people who encourage shapes and tabs are just massing the amount of BC Rich gain wh_res. If you're willing to spend money on music, take the time to properly understand it... or make a terrible band tuned to drop-A with lots of breakdowns.
    Help me understand something. You "totally agree with BassistGal"? Does that include the comment, "What do I do? help my friends who wants to learn, do a little tabbing , but what I'm doing is not what we're arguing about here." (emphasis mine) The reality is that the guitar is a uniquely tuned instrument. Due to the complexity of the its tuning, a great deal of emphasis has been on shapes. I agree with you that individuals should take the time to properly understand music. This article was an attempt to bridge the gap between the familiar (shapes) and the unfamiliar (The Circle of Fifths). By doing so we go a long way towards breaking guitarists out the CAGED shapes and three note per string scales and into understanding music. When teaching students to read sheet music or learn the fretboard we all use a variation of tabbing. For example, third string seventh fret is a D note... We have to have some starting point don't we? I agree it has been a crutch for far too many guitarists and goes a long way to explain why few guitarists have decent rhythm. Furthermore, what the article did not say but what I have found is that the results are exactly same as teaching the Circle of Fifths traditionally. The Circle of Fifths gets memorized. The means to accomplish this are a bit lengthy and unorthodox. Agreed. But it gets the job done when for the umpteenth time a student has struggled to memorize what seems like random letters and symbols. Which leads me to my next point. Read my article entitled Musical Snobbery. And Go Red Sox!
    Andraysexy
    I 100% agree with BassistGal. All this article does in increase the amount of terrible guitarists in terrible bands. Not saying this is the whole reason for it, but people who encourage shapes and tabs are just massing the amount of BC Rich gain wh_res. If you're willing to spend money on music, take the time to properly understand it... or make a terrible band tuned to drop-A with lots of breakdowns.
    rokstar666
    the lesson wuz a tad confusing, yea, but its always interesting to see how other people relate theory to their instrument. 4 ppl stil learning the circle...this lesson could be helpful
    Imago Dei
    pookieismydog wrote: Circle of Fifths (or Fourths) refers to the root movement of any chord or scale. It is obvious that many of the people here do not understand its significance to the guitar. Standard guitar tunning EADG & BE is based on Cycle of Fourths. Imago Dei said I was trying to present was a different way of connecting the Circle of Fifths to the guitar I agree with Imago in that learning the Cycle of Fourths will acually help you learn the fret board. Or, if you know the fret board you can use it towards the cycles. Anyone who plays guitar should at least know the Circle of Fourths and how it applies. Good job Imago!
    Thanks pookie. You said it better than me.
    pookieismydog
    Before I get blasted from some fool that thinks I am confusing Fourth & Fifth Cycles. If you go EB & GDAE you are now using the Circle of Fifths.
    pookieismydog
    Circle of Fifths (or Fourths) refers to the root movement of any chord or scale. It is obvious that many of the people here do not understand its significance to the guitar. Standard guitar tunning EADG & BE is based on Cycle of Fourths. Imago Dei said
    I was trying to present was a different way of connecting the Circle of Fifths to the guitar
    I agree with Imago in that learning the Cycle of Fourths will acually help you learn the fret board. Or, if you know the fret board you can use it towards the cycles. Anyone who plays guitar should at least know the Circle of Fourths and how it applies. Good job Imago!
    Imago Dei
    huevos wrote: Imago Dei wrote: So no I don't think you are a hypocrite. You can master theory without ever picking up an instrument. It is a science, like math, not an art, like writing a book. But music ultimately is an art. Its like food. You can create a nutritionally perfect protein shake, but ultimately we are all going to crave a juicy steak. that right there^, is where its at. im starting to notice that the elitists are starting to shine through. by elitists, im refering to obnoxious music theory freaks. if your studying music theory, but are neither obnoxious nor a freak, this doesn't apply. i honestly can't stand this over-analyzing of music. doing so kills its soul. you bastards are killing its soul! not the million pop-rock/punk/etc bands (well, you can blame most of them). my thoughts on theory are that i wanna learn only enough for practical usage (not just on a specific instrument). i feel the extent of this is having a feel for the basic groundwork. no more. and although mathcore/prog bands sound like calculated piles of pure, steaming shit, the good ones have this unexplainable essence that contrasts their fecal origins. oddly enough, two of my favorite bands come from this genre (The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Number 12). its great cuz most people absolutely abhor them. i just think that the casual listener will not get into this type of music because its exhausting stuff. you really need some patience and an appriciation for nonsense and the unknown. speaking of ****ed up and weird shit, you should check it some avant-garde by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Madulin of the Well/Kayo Dot, Carnival in Coal, Kekal, and most anything by Mike Patton. although its far left-field stuff, i feel that they don't portray any elitism that the avant-garde label implies. aside from the fact that their just freaks.
    Elitism comes in many forms. Right now I see two camps in music and both are guilty as charged. There is the "Our music is more technically and theoretically complex and is therefore better". The other camp is "Our music is more melodic and from the heart and therefore better". Frankly both of them are talking a bunch of nonsense. Music is like food. Some people love a juicy steak and others are vegans. Live and let live. I have had students and good friends that love music that I hate. I always ask them, "tell me what you love/hate about it". Because ultimately its about passion. I love seeing someones eyes light up when they talk about music. Sometimes I'll give a band a second listen just because of that passion. You can't tell me that Bach lacked passion. The guy used theory to create complex and beautiful music that had never been made before and has been listened to for centuries. Theory is a tool. If it helps to create wonderful music, great. If its a crutch and an excuse for why your music is better, you got it all wrong. On the flip side, how do you know how much theory is enough to get the job done? When you have too much does it stifle creativity? I think not. Again, its a tool. Creative people use tools to entertain us. Whether its their ears, their fingers, or their knowledge of music.
    SL!!!
    BassistGal wrote: Horrible lesson. If you plan on learning music theory just learn it, don't memorize guitar tricks, with no offense, its quite moronic. Its not that hard to go to any note's fifth, or any other interval for that matter.
    That was maybe a bit harsh, but i'd have to agree. This guy did not explain the circle of fifths well at all and the presentation was kind of muddy and jumped about a bit. I would just recommend getting a book and learning it from that. It is very simple when you see it written as a circle and you have some background information. The article did not seem like it was written in the easiest way to teach this. I know circle of fifths and all of that stuff already but this even confused me a bit when i read it. Haha. Maybe just different ways of thinking about it.
    Nikkorico_03
    This is a great lesson. It's much more fun than flashcards, and who the hell uses flashcards anyway? They're useless if you ask me. This is a great method dude, it hella helped me out!
    Imago Dei
    The letters before, bVII refer to what are called inversions. To make up a simple chord, you need three notes. NOOOOO! Please refrain from speaking about something you are not sure that you are accurate on. Let me clarify. The b is shorthand musical writing for the word "flat". Meaning that you flatten that chord. So to clarify the example a bI (bVIII would be more accurate but I degress) would be a C flat chord or bC-bE-bG. An inversion is simply how you voice the chord. so the first inversion of C would be E-G-C. You will see it written as C/E in chord charts. It means play a C chord with an E as the lowest note. Clearly these are two different things. An inversion is not a flattened chord and a flattened chord is not an inversion.
    lumpy890
    BassistGal wrote: Crush the future generation of guitar teachers? please. This is a completly wrong way to look at music theory, and if thats how you plan on learning it, you'd be better off just memorizing the scale patterns like the rest of the people that aren't willing to actually learn do. And any teacher that will teach like that, should not be a teacher. What do I do? help my friends who wants to learn, do a little tabbing, but what I'm doing is not what we're arguing about here. To be honest, my entire music class mamanged to learn the circle of fifths with absolutly no problem in one lesson of music theory, and thats with only 3 prior lessons that dealt with different things, so why can't you learn it like a musician?
    There is no right or wrong way to learn music theory. Everyone looks at it from a different point of view, some people say that playing guitar on one string is a stupid idea, and yet Hendrix changed the whole musical perspective. The point I'm trying to get across is that, music like everything else in life, is taken different ways by everyone. Just because you deem this way of learning it wrong, doesnt mean it is, just makes you a jackass.
    lumpy890
    [quote]The_Reaper6 wrote: May i point out that i am only 15 years old, and am doing year 10 level Music... Well, Reaper, I think I speak for everyone (if not feel free to correct me) in saying that no body gives a crap how awesome you are or how old you are, if you wanna help teach fine, but please have the good manner to jerk you ego on your own time, thank you.
    SkAsupafly
    The_Reaper6 wrote: The circle of fifths is easy. You only have memorize 7 simple key signatures. May i point out that i am only 15 years old, and am doing year 10 level Music... Here's another practical way to write out the Circle of Fifths, but rather in a table Fashion. This is also an easier way to remember the cycle of fifths, and it works for the fourths too, Major and Minor. I call it the Cycle of Fifths. Major Key|Number of Sharps| Name Of Sharps| 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# The same works For Minor..But only difference is the keys are replaced by Their Relative minor, and you have to make a column for The Leading Note. If you would like me to send more Theory regarding The cycle of Fifths, and Fourths, Just Email me.. Bat_country66@hotmail.com
    Soooo..... a minor second up from the last sharp or flat listed is the key!?!?!?
    laureldj
    Thanks for posting this. These lessons are obviously here for the more inexperienced guitarist so I don't know why there are so called "experts" here saying "this is so easy," "this is common knowledge." Maybe to them, but not to the beginning guitarists. We don't all learn the same way. I'm dyslexic and I learned this material much the same way as the author, using both my guitar and a keyboard to visualize the relationships. Those who say "it's so easy, just do it this way" are idiots. Do it whatever way works the best for you.
    Heatnix666
    I want to add that I actually read this, applied it, and passed my guitar class. Muchas Gracias!
    doinstuffman
    NorseGodofRock wrote: Sharps: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle Flats: Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father
    Hell yeah!!! I come from Rhode Island, and a kid in my theory class came up with this, and it's quite effective. Sharps: Fat Children Get Doughnuts And Evacuate Bristol Flats: Bristol Evacuates And Doughnuts Get Children Fat
    theArchitect
    Right, those roman numerals refer to degrees with in a scale... I is the root(tonic) note. So In the scale of C, the note C is the tonic note. II is goin to be D, III = E IV = F V= G, VI = A VII= B and then VIII is not normally taken down but its C again, for it's the octave. It should be noted, the root note, I, is the lowest note. The letters before, b VII refer to what are called inversions. To make up a simple chord, you need three notes. Root (I) Third (III) Fifth (V) so in the scale of C that gives us C-G-E . If it said b I though, it changes. When you play the chord you're not going to be using C as your root anymore , the chord is going to change around, C is going to go to the end of the line, an your root note , the lowest note, is going to become E. so the chord will be structure as E-G-C hm on tab. E|-----| B|-----| G|--0-----| D|--2-----| A|--3--- --| E|-----| there you have C-G-E represented as 3-2-0 on the fret board. on the inversion though you're going to get this E|-----| B|--1-----| G|--0-----| D|--2-----| A|- ----| E|-----| E-G-C 2-0-1 That is chord Ib / bI in the scale of C. I think you're better of consulting a thread on inversions, something probably more well written then my comment. I'm probably skippin' ahead a lot cause I'm assuming you've have a good base of music knowledge. To play those chords you first of all need to know the key of the piece. if it was ,say, G Major, then G A B C D E F# G is the scale. and Chords bVI , bII, bVII would be first inversions. So take VI (6) of the scale, which is E. Construct the Chord, E-G-B , and then move E to the end, an then you're left with G-B-E, which is the chord bVI. Do the rest that for the other 2 chords,and it's done. Sorry about the length of this . Any errors , feel free to correct, or explain better.
    skylark04
    I'm going to ask a question and if I get trashed, I'll live. Tillikens has a site where he analyzed the first 56 or so beatles progressions. He came up with a chart that I don't understand.icce.rug.nl~soundscapesVOLUME01 It has 3 horizontal lines 6 chords and 6 verticle with 1-5 chords something like this: vii II #iv VI #i E ii IV vi I iii V iv bVI i bIII v bVII It's hard to make the diagonals line up. My question is about the bottom three bVI bIII bVII Can someone explain hyow one would use these chords?
    Cpl_Metal_Head
    Just 1 question... whats this website called? ultimatetrumpet.com? thought not. So, it doesnt really need to be applicable newhere else...
    +1
    restless_thrash
    TheUnholy wrote: +1 on BassistGal. Seems to me, that this "method" actually took far longer to explain than the straightforward Cycle of Fifths does - and besides any other flaws, it has the disadvantage of only being applicable to one instrument.
    Just 1 question... whats this website called? ultimatetrumpet.com? thought not. So, it doesnt really need to be applicable newhere else...
    SEALSniper1152
    BEADGCF, the magic order for all music theory. Look at the circle of fifths again, BEADGCF is on it twice. That's how i got through music theory.
    sixstrngsprman
    YES!!!! I have been trying to explain that way of figuring out key signatures for sooo Fing long and know one ever understands me! You did it perfectly, Bravo! on another note I know its not as cool a but my theory teacher told us this and it stuck for me. Flats: BEAD (say the word bead) Greatest Common Factor Then just remember ^That^ backwards for sharps.
    Qasur
    This has been a very good article and the eye-openor of it was actually the posts. You get to see how people respond to how they learn. Obviously, you realized that some just memorized what they needed, while others found it simply by playing, and now can use it to greatly enhance their playing. Music Theory goes a long way. Imago Dei pointed a very good point in that some Music Theorists don't even play music. This is a very crucial point, considering that music really is an art. My older guitar teacher has been playing for ~17 years, and is an amazing Classical guitar player who just jumped into Flamenco a few years ago. Although he's amazing, he prides Music Theory over cool riffs and modern music. He thinks shredders are the death to music because they lack TRUE music theory... is he wrong? Then again, is he right? Musical interpretation is in the Ear of the Beholder. That's a sign of art. As for Beethoven, that guy had a lot coming since he went against the Classical design of music. He said "no" to the standards, and created his own variation. With it, he opened up passion into different ways to play. Being unique is very important too. Music Theory can drive a person mad who is looking for the easy way to play well. Instead, just do what you want to do (even if it's the "cheat sheet" way) and get what YOU want from it. If you want an example of "Theory" vs. "Soul" within the same band, take a look at Metallica. ...And Justice for All was a Musical Theory album. They orchestrated every part of every song presicely. Timing was key, as well as signatures and the solos... when they finished touring from that album, even though they enjoyed writing it, everyone said "Let's never do an album like that again!" and then they go off an write the Black Album, which is probably their best known album of all time. That album dropped theory for creativity and passion... what did they achieve? High claims of success. As a musician myself, I enjoy listening to ...And Justice For All. I think it was a good album, and not as a Metallica fan, but as a musician. Then again, I also like the Black Album. They approached both from completely different angles, but for the same goal: making music... I think that's the best example I can give.
    ilovemyepi
    or you can just use Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Burritos (and then it repeats itself for sharps) you can remember FBEADG for order of flats. Its not that hard to do.
    SL!!!
    BassistGal wrote: Crush the future generation of guitar teachers? please. This is a completly wrong way to look at music theory, and if thats how you plan on learning it, you'd be better off just memorizing the scale patterns like the rest of the people that aren't willing to actually learn do.
    to actually learn do... what? Scale patterns are a good way of learning scales...duh. You can just start on a note and play the major or minor scale of it. Of course it is definitely to your advantage to learn the modes and the variations of and all of that other stuff but still..
    lefthandman9876
    my guitar teacher showed me somthing similar that he got from the supertramp guitarist, he's really good mates with him, it helped