Learn the Circle of Fifths- Patterns




The Circle of Fifths, is a concept used by jazz musicians to practice playing ii, V, I chord patterns in all keys. It’s called the circle of fifths because you will come full circle back to where you started. The root moves down in fifths and up in fourths, or up in fourths and down in fifths around a circle. In the right hand you play the 3rd and 7th (or 6th) of the chord. The left hand plays the root or 1 chord tone. It’s best to play the left hand root an octave below the right hand 3, 7th voicing.. Also you can play the root(1) and the seventh(7th) in the left hand for a more fuller sound. The third and seventh determine the chord type. Whether it is major, minor, or dominate. This method allows the jazz musician to play a melody on top of the 3, and 7 or 7, and 3, in the right hand. Check out Jazz Open Voicings for Keyboards by Dick Grove for more information.

I get so many requests on the Circle of Fifths and I can understand why because it is like a musician's bible. Once you begin to see the importance of the circle, you'll be free to play and not locked in to sheet music. The circle is a very good way to learn your chords and scales... so here goes. Total reading time on this blog post 10 mins.

* CIRCLE OF 5THS

C7 introduces F
F7 introduces Bb
Bb introduces Eb
Eb introduces Ab
Ab introduces Db
Db aka C# introduces F#
F# introduces B
B introduces E
E introduces A
A introduces D
D introduces G
and G introduces C making a circle back to C

* In this lesson you learn how to play open position chords around the circle of fifths while improvising melody in the right hand.

http://www.quiescencemusic.com




* The circle of 5ths tells you how many sharps or flats are in each key. Moving clockwise (right), the notes move in 5ths. Moving counter-clockwise (left), the notes move in 4ths. I can't show you a circle, but I can put it in a form that illustrates this, u can try to draw it if you want to:

C = 0 sharps or flats (12 o'clock)
G = 1 sharp; F# (1 o'clock)
D = 2 sharps; F#, C# (2 o'clock)
A = 3 sharps; F#, C#, G# (3 o'clock)
E = 4 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D# (4 o'clock)
B/Cb = 5 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A# (5 o'clock) / 7 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb
F#/Gb = 6 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E# / 6 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb (6 o'clock)
Db/C# = 5 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb (7 o'clock) / 7 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#
Ab = 4 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db (8 o'clock)
Eb = 3 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab (9 o'clock)
Bb = 2 flats; Bb, Eb (10 o'clock)
F = 1 flat; Bb (11 o'clock)

The keys C# and Cb aren't usually present in the circle (i just added them there), but there is a reason why. Notice that the circle starts with C, having no sharps or flats. Now, the key of C# has everything being sharped, and the Cb has everything being flatted. So, what you can do is make a separate circle for the sharps, and a separate circle for the flats, and it could go on forever. I'll show you a little of each:

Sharps Circle

C = 0 sharps (12 o'clock)
G = 1 sharp; F# (1 o'clock)
D = 2 sharps; F#, C# (2 o'clock)
A = 3 sharps; F#, C#, G# (3 o'clock)
E = 4 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D# (4 o'clock)
B = 5 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A# (5 o'clock)
F#= 6 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#

C# = 7 sharps / all sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B# (12 o'clock)
G = 1 double sharp; F## (1 o'clock)
D = 2 double sharps; F##, C## (2 o'clock)
A = 3 double sharps; F##, C##, G## (3 o'clock)
etc.

Flats Circle

C = 0 flats (12 o'clock)
F = 1 flat; Bb (11 o'clock)
Bb = 2 flats; Bb, Eb (10 o'clock)
Eb = 3 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab (9 o'clock)
Ab = 4 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db (8 o'clock)
Db = 5 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb (7 o'clock)
Gb = 6 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb (6 o'clock)

C = 7 flats / all flats; (12 o'clock)
F = 1 double flat; Bbb (11 o'clock)
Bb = 2 double flats; Bbb, Ebb (10 o'clock)
Eb = 3 double flats; Bbb, Ebb, Abb (9 o'clock)
The circle of 5ths tells you how many sharps or flats are in each key. Moving clockwise (right), the notes move in 5ths. Moving counter-clockwise (left), the notes move in 4ths. I can't show you a circle, but I can put it in a form that illustrates this, u can try to draw it if you want to:

C = 0 sharps or flats (12 o'clock)
G = 1 sharp; F# (1 o'clock)
D = 2 sharps; F#, C# (2 o'clock)
A = 3 sharps; F#, C#, G# (3 o'clock)
E = 4 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D# (4 o'clock)
B/Cb = 5 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A# (5 o'clock) / 7 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb
F#/Gb = 6 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E# / 6 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb (6 o'clock)
Db/C# = 5 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb (7 o'clock) / 7 sharps; F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#
Ab = 4 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab, Db (8 o'clock)
Eb = 3 flats; Bb, Eb, Ab (9 o'clock)
Bb = 2 flats; Bb, Eb (10 o'clock)
F = 1 flat; Bb (11 o'clock)

* musictheoryguy:
Once you have a circle of fifths you can use it to calculate how many sharps or flats are in a key signature. Watch this video to help you use your circle of fifths for the major keys.




The circle of 5ths is used to show how many sharps or flats are in each key. It is like a clock. You start at the top with C that has no sharps or flats. Then you move clockwise (to the right) to G, which has 1 sharp, then to D, which has 2 sharps, then to A, which has 3 sharps, then to E, which has 4 sharps, then to B, which has 5 shaprs, then to F#, which has 6 sharps, then to C#, which has 7 sharps. From there, you switch to flats with Cb, which has 7 flats, then to Gb, which has 6 flats, then to Db which has 5 flats, then to Ab, which has 4 flats, then to Eb, which has 3 flats, then to Bb, which has 2 flats, then to F, which has 1 flat, then you are back at C. Here is an illustration:

C = 0 sharps or flats
G = 1 sharp (F#)
D = 2 sharps (F#, C#)
A = 3 sharps (F#, C#, G#)
E = 4 sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#)
B = 5 sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#)
F# = 6 sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#)
C# = 7 shaprs (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#)
(switch)
Cb = 7 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb)
Gb = 6 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb)
Db = 5 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb)
Ab = 4 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db)
Eb = 3 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab)
Bb = 2 flats (Bb, Eb)
F = 1 flat (Bb)
C = 0 sharps or flats

* The circle of 4ths is where your progressions come from. In other words, it has solely to do with bass/LH notes. To me, that is the only significance of it. Just take the circle of 5ths and read it backwards.

See what I mean by keys and note? Circle of 5ths is for keys and circle of 4ths is for notes.

To get chords, you use the bass notes to come up with chords. How? Well, you can start by taking a bass note and writing down all the possible chords that could go with that note, that are associated to the key you are in. I will be back later to better explain how to figure out chords and stuff.








Key: Signature LH=Root(1) RH= 3rd, 7th Pattern Chord

1: C: D F, C 2 Dmi7
G F, B 5 G7
C E, B 1 Cmaj7


2: F; b G Bb, F 2 Gmi7
C Bb, E 5 C7
F A, E 1 Fmaj7

3: Bb bb C, Eb, Bb 2 Cmi7
F, Eb, A 5 F7
Bb D A 1 Bbmaj7

4: Eb bbb F Ab, Eb 2 Fmi7
Bb Ab, D 5 Bb7
Eb G D 1 Ebmaj7

5: Ab bbbb Bb Db, Ab 2 Bbmi7
Eb Db G 5 Eb7
Ab C G 1 Abmaj7

6: Db bbbbb Eb Gb Db 2 Ebmi7
Ab Gb C 5 Ab7
Db F C 1 Dbmaj7

7. Gb bbbbbb Ab B Gb 2 Abmi7
Db B F 5 Db7
Gb Bb F 1 Gbmaj7

8. F# ###### G# B F# 2 G#mi7
C# B F 5 C#7
F# A# F 1 F#maj7

9. B ##### C# E B 2 C#mi7
F# E A# 5 F#7
B D# A# 1 Bmaj7

10. E #### F# A E 2 F#mi7
B A D# 5 B7
E G# D# 1 Emaj7



11. A ### B D A 2 Bmi7
E D G# 5 E7
A C# G# 1 Amaj7

12. D ## E G D 2 Emi7
A G C# 5 A7
D F# C# 1 Dmaj7

13. G # A C G 2 Ami7
D C F# 5 D7
G B F# 1 Gmaj7


14. C D F C 2 Dmi7
G F B 5 G7
C E B 1 Cmaj7







I'll be on vacation for awhile. I won't be gone long. Enjoy your summer and keep practicing! I'd love to hear from you. Stop by and let me know how things are going with your piano playing!

All the best,
~ LadyD


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