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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by geezer316, Apr 17, 2003.

  1. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    last week at my teacher gave me a lesson called "circle of fifths" though i have learned it well i still dont know exactly what its for,i lost my job last month and only go for lessons once every 3 weeks or so and forgot to ask him what the heck these damn things were for, anybody out there who can explain in detail exactly what they are for? please dont tell me your opinion its not what i'm after i am very serious abot my theory part of bass playing and only want an experienced and a well schooled person/s to explain this to me, no offense i tried this on another site and got a bunch of non-sense from a bunch of hackers, so please dont be offended by this i am not aware of everything about the bass and have given bad advice to others before and caused more harm than good, so all you 'PRO'S" out there step up and please help me
    thanks adam:confused:
  2. First, this should be in GI.

    Second, look at my sig...
  3. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Do you have your circle of fifth's in front of you?Look at it:This sequence of letter names is called the circle of fifth's,it shows key signatures and keys(as well as the intervals of the 4th and 5th).If you go clockwise the elements are a perfect 5th apart,counter clockwise they are a perfect 4th apart.Every second element is a major second,tonic major/minors are a minor 3rd(three positions apart)Tri-tones are opposite each other in the circle.
    This is the most important thing you can learn in theory as you are starting out.Everything in tonal music relates to it.You can't learn everything about it in a couple of paragraphs.Get a music dictionary to help you with some of the terms I used above,and a generic(nothing to do with bass) music theory textbook and start to explore.You can check them out for free at any library if you don't have cash.
  4. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    i agree!
  5. joel


    Sep 21, 2002
    in short......shows what notes are sharp and flap in a key signature

  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    My favorite key is B flap :D
  7. joel


    Sep 21, 2002

    your a funny guy!!!

  8. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wow! And I thought the circle of fifths was a drinking game that musicians played together after the gig:eek: Ya learn something every day........................................................ if yer paying attention;)
  9. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    That's the key where your pants B Flapping...:D
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    A serious answer is that if you're never going to play anything but rock the circle of 5ths is of almost no use to know because the applications of it in rock are relatively few.

    Why? Because it's main application has to do with harmony and rock really is not concerned much with harmony, at least not in the traditional sense.

    However if you venture into music that is more adventurous harmonically, then it has many applications. I saw the circle in the very first bass book I worked out of back in the 70s. I didn't begin to understand the application of it until maybe 10 years ago when I started playing "jazzy" blues and trying to make sense of what all the etxra chords were there for.
  11. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire

    I normally don't participate in threads such as this because so much has already been said on the subject. However your question is valid and there are some important aspects concerning the "circle of 5ths" one should practice.

    First, I call this series of pitches the Cycle of Fourths. If one counts UP a C major scale to the fourth you come to F. And, we tend to not think of this F as being a fifth away from C. Most bassists who play a song where the first chord is G will then go UP to the next C chord. First chord A, then up to D. etc.

    In all music the root motion of up a fourth (or down a fifth) is quite common. As mentioned previously, Rock music tends to blur or avoid this motion.

    One of the most common song forms to all musicains is the Blues and here we have some 4th movement. i.e. I, IV, V, I. Or in Jazz ii, V, I

    I personally use the cycle of fourths as root motion in all of my teaching and practicing. Simply start by learning to play your major scales (one octave, one finger per fret, no open strings) using the Cycle of Fourths as the root motion. Play each scale starting on the E string. Then play the cycle starting each scale on the A string. This little exercise will do a number of things for your playing. i.e. Learn the fingerboard, develop stamina, learn shifting, develop your ear by hearing the sounds of the fourth progression.

    The theory behind the "circle of fifths" is really not that relative to your playing but the sound of the cycle of fourths is extremely common in chordal movement. To be able to hear how the chords in a song are moving is necessary to being a good bassists.