The Circle of Fifths

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A question I got on my last instructable, Play Simple-Advanced Piano Sheet Music, is if I could make an 'ible about the circle of fifths. So, here you have it.

Step 1: The Circle Theory

The Circle of Fifths talks about the relationship between the different keys of music. The keys are the little flats and sharps after the time signature. These sharps (or flats) are always in this order F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#. If there is one sharp in the key it is F. Two its F & C. Etc....  To find what sharps are in the scale (next step) you simply add a sharp.

Step 2: Major Scales

Major (happy sounding) scales are very simple. Each key on the keyboard has a value of one half. The order for a major scale is whole (two note) whole half whole whole whole half. You will notice that by starting at C (C scale) you will have no sharps.

Step 3: The Circle

So, you start a scale, for example C, on the fifth note stop (G). This is the fifth (hence Circle of Fifths) so start over a scale, starting at G, it will be all white keys but there will be an F#. Next, the fifth note in the G scale is D, so, the D scale will have a F# and a C#. Next, A scale, F#, C#, and G#. Etc...

Step 4: Finally

There you have it, the incredibly simple Circle of Fifths.

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    5 Discussions

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    craftclarity

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Glad to see people learning about the structure behind music! It's amazing how something that looks so simple on the surface can be so complex when you examine it in detail. Thanks for posting this.

    3 replies
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    rvehall

    Reply 5 years ago

    C D E F (4th) G (5th). Circle of 5ths: C G D A E B Gb Db Ab Eb Bb Circle of 4ths: C F (BEAD)b Gb B E A D G

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    pstannard

    Reply 5 years ago

    Its 5 notes up the scale, thats where the 5 comes from. I see where you're coming from though, Think of the WHOLE as 2 notes though, as, in essence, thats what it is. Then it would be 7 steps.

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    pstannard

    Reply 5 years ago

    Read step 2 again Todd. If you start at C, and go whole whole half whole, the fifth note is G.