Circle of fifths clarification

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Swipter, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    Other than finding the minor or major of a chord or finding the fourth or fifth is there any other purpose for the Circle of Fifths? I understand the sharps and flats for each chord is there.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member


    All kinds of neat things can be found on the circle.

    You mentioned The major and minor chords, the circle can give you what all the chords in a key will be. For example key of C. The C, F & G chords are the major chords and then right under the C, F & G are the three minor chords, Am, Dm & Em and the Bm7b5 is where? Yep right where it always is. It's a circle move it where D is at 12:00 O'clock, where is the C#m7b5? Yep right where it always is.

    Got a three measure void leading to the Gm7 chord. What leads to the G, insert the D chord, what leads to D, insert to A chord, what leads to the A chord? Insert a E chord. Now which D, A or E? Kinda up to you. Which one fits best, D or Dm, A or Am, your choice.

    What key is at 3:00 O'clock? A, how many sharps does it have? Answer, 3. What key is at 4:00 O'clock? E and how many sharps does it have? Four.

    The circle can help you remember these memory pegs.....
    Memory peg for the scales that have sharps = See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#haos.
    Memory peg for what sharps will be in each scale = Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Birds.
    Memory peg for the scales that have flats = Farmer Brown Eats Apple Dumplings Greasley Cooked.
    Find where these memory pegs are on the circle.

    That F#irey C#haos also answers the question why it gets crowded at the bottom of the circle. There are 7 flats and 7 sharps ..... so they have to loop beyond the 6 O'clock position.

    You have a choice of using the key of B or Cb. Which would you use? Five shaps are easier than seven flats.
    You have a choice of using the key of C# or DB. Five flats are easier than seven shaprs.
    You have a choice of using the key of F# or Gb. Both have five sharps or flats, flip a coin. Well, I think you would find B used more than Cb. We very seldom play anthing in C#, and I would use the Gb over the F#.

    I'm sure the list goes on. Perhaps others will add more.
  3. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    Great explanation. Now I understand much better. I am really trying to improve my theory. Thanks for that. I never saw the minor chord in the chord under the major, fourth and fifth. That was a biggy. Not that I didn't already know the chords but I sure didn't see it on the chart.
  4. fundamentalb


    Dec 1, 2012
    Trying to work my way through the majors right now with the circle... arg, not used to switching scales mid way through them though. Wonderful tutorial on em on, anyways thats what got me trying them out this evening. And ya relative minors are always useful to know.
  5. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
  6. MalcolmAmos is the man. He always has good answers.
  7. Yes. My guess would be he's a music teacher
  8. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    I joined I haven't found the Em thing mentioned earlier but I will eventually.
  9. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Malcolm, nicely done .. thanks for posting
  10. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Thanks guys. No I did not teach music. However, I did teach in corporate training and still love to study. I guess after you've been around for 77 years you just absorb things. And the old teacher in me just likes to share.

    Thanks for the kind words.