Cycle of fifths or Circle of fifths?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Groove Master, Dec 29, 2012.


  1. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    What is the most used term in english?

    I'm writing a new book and in french we use Cycle de quintes.
    I'm looking for the proper translation,

    Thanks,

    GM
  2. JimiLL

    JimiLL Supporting Member

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    Here its called the circle of fifths
  3. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    Its seems more popular indeed,
  4. pocketgroove

    pocketgroove

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    I call it the circle of fifths, though I've heard both.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

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    Circle of fifths is far more popular but the cycle of 5ths wouldn't be considered incorrect. Music theory is full of stuff is different names, like the flat 5th/diminished 5th/tri-tone
  6. Anonymatt

    Anonymatt

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    Yeah, and don't we say "cycle of fourths"? And then "circle of fifths" cos people like to draw all the key signatures in a circle.
  7. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

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    Hey Mr. B. I would think "circle" before "cycle".
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    The way I was taught, if you're talking about the big circle with the key signatures, you're talking about the CIRCLE of fifths. If you're talking about a progression that's a bunch of dominant chords that leads to a chord that is built off the tonic of the resolution but is another dominant chord (like D7 to G7 to C7 to F7 etc) then that's a CYCLE of fifths.
  9. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    :)
    I know what you mean but I kind of like Cycle because it is the term I use in french also.

    I'm still debating in my head and thank you all for your inputs.
  10. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    Thank you Ed.
    I'm talking about practising scales thru the Cycle going from C to C.

    What that makes it?
  11. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

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    For what it's worth, in the Harvard New Dictionary of Music there's an entry for "circle of fifths" but none for "cycle of fifths".
  12. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    Tabarnak! LOL

    Thanks for the info.
  13. swervy jervy

    swervy jervy Supporting Member

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    Cabinet of Fifths.
  14. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    Nice.
  15. Noah Nicoll

    Noah Nicoll

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    I think that cycle is more accurate as it is not really a circle but a spiral. If you go all the way round you don't come back to C at twelve o'clock but to Bsharp or Ddubbelflat, depending on which way 'round you go. With our modern tuning it doesn't really make a difference to our ear, but theoretically, or to a good classical string player, there is a big difference.
  16. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

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    Reading this thread makes me wanna take a ride on my motorcircle.
  17. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    LOL

    You' sure to go round and round :smug:
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Kind of nothing, really. If they're major scales, then yes you're going around the circle of fifths (Cmaj, add 1 sharp you get Gmaj, and another sharp you get Dmaj, etc.) but if you use it to practice other scales, just using the tonic note from the circle, it's just kind of an arbitrary construct. Because if you choose the root/tonic C and play a melodic minor scale (C D Eb F G Ab B C), then adding a sharp doesn't really get you to any kind of G scale right?
    Personally, I would suggest mixing it up. Do them in 4ths, up a minor 3rd and down a whole step (and repeat). That way you don't get locked into a pattern.
  19. phmike

    phmike

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    Carol Kaye will set you straight on this - it's CYCLE !!!
  20. hgiles

    hgiles

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    I prefer "Cycle of Fourths", i.e. C, F, Bb, etc... not the other way around.

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