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Overview of the Circle of 5ths – Lesson 37

Jim Kleman

One Stringer
Nov 11, 2019
1
4
Great lesson. The only thing I can think of to aid in memorization of the order of sharps and flats is the “Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle,” and “Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles’s Father” mnemonics. The order of sharps is the first letter of each word in “Father Charles..” and the flats are the first letter of “Battle Ends...”. It’s just a memorization technique, however. Without a great explanation, like you laid out, it ain’t worth much.
 
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idssdi

Sold-out Crowd Surfer
Nov 11, 2019
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I've always struggled with the immediate application of theory, without it I'll usually forget the concept. Besides being able to construct basic chords in their relative key has anyone else found good uses for the circle of 5th's?
circle-of-fifths--1523016231.jpg

If you take both rings the inner ring are the relative minors of the major chords in the outer ring(C#m is the vi chord in the key of E for example). If you take either ring going counter clockwise is always V-I and clockwise is always IV - I so you can also deduct the IV chord and the V chord from the circle of fifths.

If you take A for example D is the IV chord, E is the V chord and F#m is the realtor minor.
 

Brian Haner Sr.

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Nov 11, 2019
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View attachment 791
If you take both rings the inner ring are the relative minors of the major chords in the outer ring(C#m is the vi chord in the key of E for example). If you take either ring going counter clockwise is always V-I and clockwise is always IV - I so you can also deduct the IV chord and the V chord from the circle of fifths.

If you take A for example D is the IV chord, E is the V chord and F#m is the realtor minor.
Exactly! A great way to learn the blues (I-IV-V) in all 12 keys! Move counterclockwise and it's the IV, move clockwise and it's the V.
 
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Pyrokinetics

Music Theory Bragger
Jun 27, 2020
8
17
19
Belarus
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I've always been scared of the circle of fifths, especially after learning about it in band class, it was even more confusing, but I took piano lessons from when I was 5 and learned the order of flats and sharps (FCGDAEB and BEADGCF) and when he showed that it was on the circle starting with C - CGDAEB, my mind was blown and it made it 100% easier for me to memorize and understand it, I'm so glad I came back to this course and reviewed it to see if I'd get it if I watched it again lol
 

Zesty Rage

Campfire Attention Holder
  • Sep 27, 2020
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    View attachment 791
    If you take both rings the inner ring are the relative minors of the major chords in the outer ring(C#m is the vi chord in the key of E for example). If you take either ring going counter clockwise is always V-I and clockwise is always IV - I so you can also deduct the IV chord and the V chord from the circle of fifths.

    If you take A for example D is the IV chord, E is the V chord and F#m is the realtor minor.
    I've also looked at the circle in this way but more in the sense of looking at it like a piece of pie (just easier for me that way) I'll have to try the I-IV-V out but how I was taught to look at it is to look at it like a slice of pie. For example if you're playing in the key of C the chords you could use would be C F G and the relative minors Am Dm Em. Although I gotta say thinking just thinking about the I IV V does actually help make a lot of sense to what my mentor has been trying to tell me over the years. Still practicing on doing key changes using the circle of Fifths but I think that I can do it now thanks to your helpful information. :rock-hand:
     
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    minuit

    Garage band Groupie
    Jun 20, 2021
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    Sweden
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    I’ve been a huge fan of the circle of fifths since I was 15 and used it to make a working harmony to the songs I wrote back then although I didn’t understand why it worked. I just knew that the three chords next to each other sounded “good” together and had funny names (tonic, subdominant and dominant). I went to (what I believe would be the equivalent of ) high school where one of my teachers printed a Co5 for me to have as a key chain and I used that bad boy for all school related song writing although it still made very little sense. It wasn’t until I decided to study harmonic analysis and music theory at uni that I actually memorized the shit and understood how the hell it all came together (and that all keys can be related in one way or another which is cool as hell).

    To memorize it I had two funny sentences for the major keys in Swedish. One for sharps (giv den allsmäktige elva heta fiskar) and one for flats (frosten bestal Esters astrar dess gestalt) (varsågod Sverige) and I would draw the circle and fill in the keys on EVERY loose piece of paper I came across. It was in my calendar, on receipts, envelopes, my arm. I’d start with the major keys with my funny sentences and then I’d add the minor keys by going down a minor third (3 half steps/frets) until I just knew the minor parallel of Eb is Cm or the major parallel to Hm is D.
    For the sharps and flats I used good ol’ Father Charles…/Battle Ends… and physically wrote them on the staff in both treble and bass clef until I had the order down.
    Bottom line: write the shit and do it often, it’ll stick soon enough. Now I could be woken up in the middle of the night and draw you a circle of fifths and give you a very annoying lecture about T-S-D and other cadences (fuck scale degrees, I die of this hill)
     
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    William B.

    Hot Topic Tourer
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Yes it is very complicated. Don’t stress over it too much though. The circle of fifths is meant to be a tool for finding out how many sharp or flat notes go into a key not some concept that is in a huge need of mastering. If you need some help with it I could help out. 🤘
    It's okay for now, thanks.
    The first time around I rushed through this lesson cause I could play the notes, but didn't know what I was doing. Was trying to make sense of the chart through the comments and tab last night. I noticed the 5 chord is a double stop and depending on the direction, start either on the A string to the E or the reverse.
     
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    Syxguns

    One Stringer
  • Feb 8, 2023
    27
    35
    Houston, Texas
    35
    Hello crew,
    First, let me say that I do not read music, and I do not know anything about music theory. I just love to write, play, and sing.

    The circle of 5ths is so much more than the video speaks about. I will share a little information that may help some out with a few tips.

    1) Memorize the order of sharps and the order of flats.

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

    They are reversed so if you remember, "bead is the greatest common factor" you have your order of flats. Reverse BEADGCF to FCGDAEB for the order of sharps.

    2) Now with the use of the order of sharps and flats you can know all of the scales. A perfect example of this is the key of C. There are no sharps or flats in the key of C, so the scale is C D E F G A B

    Now let's take the key of A. There are 3 sharps in A. The first three sharp in the order of sharps is F C G. So the scale is:

    A B C# D E F# G#

    Now let's take a flat scale starting with B-flat. There are two flats on the B-flat scale which are B and E.

    B-flat C D E-flat F G A

    Now the B has 7 flats so that is easy.

    B-flat C-flat D-flat E-flat F-flat G-flat A-flat

    3) You may use the notes in the scale to help you figure out songs. Two caveats do remain, however! Key changes and chords borrowed from other scales. But it gives you a great head start.

    4) Use the circle of 5ths to transpose music.

    Let's say that I have a song with this chord progression:
    Am C G D F C E Emaj7

    Now I want to transpose it to the key of C. Looking at the circle of 5ths I can do that easily. Just use the dominant chord so I look at, "A" on the circle of 5ths and notice that C is 3 places counter-clockwise.

    The first chord is Cm. Now the second chord is C which would give me an E-flat. I follow the trend leading me to this chord progression.

    Cm E^ B^ F A^ E^ G Gmaj7

    5) The circle of 5ths is also the circle of 4ths. Moving clockwise around the circle every new note is 5 notes from the previous note. Moving counter-clockwise every new note is 4 from the previous note.

    6) Opposite sides of the circle are just that.
    So let's look at A. There are three sharps in A.

    A B C# D E F# G#

    A-Flat

    A-flat B-flat C D-flat E-flat F G

    So the key of A had 3 sharps they were F# C# and G#. Now, look at the A-flat scale. The accidentals or sharps are whole notes now. A-flat has 4 flats in it and they are B-flat, E-flat, A-flat, and D-flat.

    So if one scale has accidentals that are now whole notes, the rest of the notes will change to accidental.

    Let me do it two more times so that you can see the differences.

    D scale/ D-flat scale
    D E F# G A B C#
    D-flat E-flat F G-Flat A-flat B-flat C

    E scale/ E-flat scale
    E F# G# A B C# D#
    E-flat F G A-flat B-flat C D

    Try writing it out yourself if you do not recognize how easy it is. All sharps or flats become whole notes and all whole notes become sharp or flat.


    In closing, I will say that the circle of 4ths and 5ths is a time saver in writing, transposing, and figuring songs out. Even if you do not have it memorized, I would keep a copy of it for reference when you need it.

    Keep on rockin' 🎸

    Edit: Added a new image as the first it was difficult to read the top.
     

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