Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths is a very elegant way of organising the 12 notes of the western scale.  Here is a circle of fifths:

It is common to see a circle of fifths used for identifying key signatures.  In the above picture, the red numbers denote the number of sharps or flats in the major key signature of that note.  For example, A major has a key signature of 3 sharps; Eb major has a key signature of 3 flats.

The arrows show the most common route that chords will take, otherwise known as falling in fifths.  This is of course a generalisation, but you might be surprised how often a chord progression will contain a few consecutive falling fifths.

SeeChord is a circle of fifths that has been “cut” and “spread out” to form the y-axis of a chart and the patterns emerge due to the relationship between adjacent chords.

[seeChordViewer src=”/content/Application/basic-harmonic-movement/basicharmonicmovement2-viewer”]