FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_Related Related Topics sp_TopicIcon
Circle of fifths
learning circle of fifths
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
July 23, 2012 - 11:11 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

circle-of-fifths.pngImage EnlargerI have heard this expression many times here, circle of fifths. I looked it up, got a viual representation of it and a wikipedia explanation but I still don't understand it. Can someone explain it to me and it's reason for being.

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments
Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
July 23, 2012 - 11:51 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, it's simple enough.  from any note on the outer ring you can go clockwise one notch and find the 5th or counterclockwise to find the 4th.  This one they also added the key signatures and the relative minors. 

As far as it's reason for existing.. Uhhh... To give first semester music students something to memorize?  To have a diagram to fill some space in a textbook?  To be honest, I never thought it particularly useful.  Anybody who plays probably already knows most of the info in the chart anyway.  Face it, probably most beginner violinists already know 1/3 of it because they know the names of their strings. LOL

But so far as a way it could be useful.. Hmm.. Ok, so if you get a VSO that is actually a hopeless case, and decide to make a clock out of it, this could be an interesting alternative to the usual clock face.  Use the major keys for telling AM and the minor keys for PM..

Then you could say things like:

"Holy crud, it's already half-past D major?  I gotta get some sleep!"

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 23, 2012 - 12:56 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

We've got a nice poster of the Circle of Fifths that I've been meaning to frame for our music room for a while now. Thanks for the reminder!

Yikes! I'm very glad not to have run across anything in the key of F#/G flat. Makes my head hurt just looking at that key signature.

dazedlumpy-2134blurry_drunk-2127

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Avatar
TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
Members

Regulars
July 23, 2012 - 1:18 pm
Member Since: December 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1698
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks everyone.
I'm still none the wiser!
What's it used for?

roflol

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

Avatar
ftufc
SoCal
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
July 23, 2012 - 2:23 pm
Member Since: February 24, 2012
Forum Posts: 727
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Terry, the only reason I ever use it is to figure out what notes are sharp or flat in any key, instead of having to memorize it.  Maybe there's some deeper more mysterious use for it, but that's why I use it. concertina-4198

Avatar
TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
Members

Regulars
July 23, 2012 - 2:42 pm
Member Since: December 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1698
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Lol, I use the key signature at the beginning of the music for that.

I reckon if you turn the circle upside down there is actually a message from the devil!!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

Avatar
KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 23, 2012 - 9:29 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

TerryT said

I reckon if you turn the circle upside down there is actually a message from the devil!!

Speaking of which, here's a corollary to my whole "sharps are good, flats are bad" thing...the top half of the Circle of Fifths (slanted top half, that is, from B flat to A) is good and the bottom half is clearly evil!

rofloldevil-violin

(You guys know I'm kidding about this stuff, right?)

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
July 23, 2012 - 9:33 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

TerryT said
Lol, I use the key signature at the beginning of the music for that.

I reckon if you turn the circle upside down there is actually a message from the devil!!

 

You have to put it on a record player and turn it backwards

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 23, 2012 - 9:50 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

I believe it's intention is to make is easier to understand the connection of the keys and intervals.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
Members

Regulars
July 28, 2012 - 3:59 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

LoL!

The first thing that i've learned in solfeggio was how to add those sharps, flats and how to build a scale =)

 FCGDAEB - #

 BEADGCF - b

Really sounds like a spell in Russian "Fa Do Sol' Re L'a Mee See" rofl

Thanks for the picture, Kevin! =) Though i can't explain it in any understandable way facepalm

Avatar
KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - 8:52 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Mad_Wed said
Really sounds like a spell in Russian "Fa Do Sol' Re L'a Mee See" rofl

Which, of course, brings to mind one of my favorite movies...

http://youtu.be/xIjobdArtiA

treble-1226semiquaver-1214crotchet-1218

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
July 28, 2012 - 9:13 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Brings back memories of seeing the play and later on seeing the movie.

Avatar
Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
July 28, 2012 - 9:36 pm
Member Since: June 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 1281
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Are you kidding me? you mean I am the only one who knows what the circle is for? The mystical magical circle of fifthes? Muhahahaha the POWER!!!!

WikiPower!! In music theory, the circle of fifths (or circle of fourths) is a visual representation of the relationships among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys. More specifically, it is a geometrical representation of relationships among the 12 pitch classes of the chromatic scale in pitch class space.

Easy to understand right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._of_fifths

So, what is it used for? Composing, Transposing and Chords mostly. And mostly how notes relate to each other in those terms. Since none of us really do any of that except maybe FM and he most surely has a computer program do that for him its an archaic tool. But, if you are a composistion geek you might dig it.

Yeah me...! Woohoo!jimi-hendrix

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

Avatar
KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - 9:45 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

In other words, it's sort of an abacus for music.
exactly
treble-1226semiquaver-1214

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Avatar
Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
July 28, 2012 - 10:46 pm
Member Since: June 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 1281
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

the Abacus is an ancient calculator or register for math stuff. A circle of fifths helps people understand the harmonic relationships between the fourths and fifths in music so they can write music for different instruments. Perhaps the person doing the writing doesnt have all the relationships memorized, this is a quick reference tool.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

Avatar
KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 29, 2012 - 5:58 am
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Ok, ok...then it's a periodic table for music.
smile

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

Avatar
Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
July 29, 2012 - 7:58 am
Member Since: June 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 1281
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I was thinkin "slide rule" but periodic table could work too. (teasin)us-4240

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

Avatar
tamlin
Denver, CO
Advanced member
Members
September 29, 2012 - 4:51 pm
Member Since: September 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 91
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

thejazzresource.com recommends this free, interactive tool. complete with examples and quizzes.

http://www.circle-of-fifths.ne.....learn.html

btw, i learn by ear - method #2, but have to repeat it constantly to memorize the letters . lumpy-2134

Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art. Charlie Parker

Avatar
MikeV
Wisconsin
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
September 29, 2012 - 7:01 pm
Member Since: June 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 120
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

In equal temperament, the circle of fifths is very helpful with piano tuning. It allows assigning an equal interval between the 12 pitches. On a piano the only perfect pitch is A-440. Once the 12 pitches or notes are "tempered" the rest are tuned as octaves, thirds, fifths.
drooling

"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work." - Mark Twain

Avatar
RosinedUp
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
October 4, 2012 - 11:20 am
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
20sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Mad_Wed said
LoL!

The first thing that i've learned in solfeggio was how to add those sharps, flats and how to build a scale =)

 FCGDAEB - #

 BEADGCF - b

Yes, there is an order of building major/minor scales. 

If you randomly write sharps on the staff, there are seven different places to write them.  So you could mark up the staff with sharps in 2^7 (two raised to the seventh power), that is, 128 different ways.  Similarly you could mark up the staff with flats 128 different ways. 

But there are only 12 ways that leave you with a major/minor scale.

There are two basic ways to transform one (major/minor) scale into another:

1) add a flat or remove a sharp at the seventh scale degree, or

2) add a sharp or remove a flat at the fourth scale degree.

Examples of the first way:  Adding a flat at B on the C-major scale transforms it to the F-major scale. Removing the sharp at G on the A-major scale transforms it to the D-major scale.

Examples of the second way: Removing the flat at B on the F-major scale transforms it to the C-major scale. Removing the sharp at C on the D-major scale transforms it to the G-major scale.

The first way (add a flat or remove a sharp) is a counter-clockwise step on the circle of fifths, and it decreases the scale's tonic by a perfect fifth.  You can also consider this to be an increase of a perfect fourth.

The second way (add a sharp or remove a flat) is a clockwise step on the circle of fifths, and it increases the tonic by a perfect fifth (decreases it by a perfect fourth).

Mad_Wed, you have summarized the circle of fifths in your two sequences of staff positions above.  BEADGCF is the order of adding flats and is a counter-clockwise progression on the circle.  FCGDAEB is the order of adding sharps and is a clockwise progression.  Each notch on the circle corresponds to a scale and a key signature.  Moving one notch represents one of the two transformations I describe above.

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online:
40 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today HeadCheese
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3558

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80399

Newest Members:

stringo, sexymom04, FerSZ, elaine a, Mukundan, MyMing

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651