What is Circle of Fifths or Circle of Fourths?
Circle of Fifths or Circle of Fourths are the musical charts which shows the relationships between 12 notes of music. In other words, its the geometrical representation of the 12 pitches of chromatic scale.
Why Circle of Fifths / Circle of Fourths is Important in Music?
Circle of fifths or Circle of Fourths is very useful for learning music scales and chord progressions. You can use it in many ways. The following are (but not limited to) the basic uses of this circle of fifths:
- Relations between various scales can be known.
- Relation between various chords can be found
- Scales or chords can be transposed up or down easily
- Finding music Scales and chords
- Circle of fifths is used in the analysis of classical music whereas circle of fourths is used to analyse Jazz music however this is not limited
How to Make Circle of Fifths or Circle of Fourths?
“Before drawing circle of fifths we should know that both circles are same. It means, you can convert a circle of fifths chart into circle of fourths if you reverse the order of the notes (i.e. clockwise to anticlockwise).”
In this article we will learn simple method for drawing Circle of Fifths. You can also watch the video given below(in Hindi) to know how to draw circle of fifths or circle of fourths!
Follow the following steps to make your own Circle of Fifths:
1. Make a Circle
2. Divide it into 4 parts (as a clock in 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions)
3. Divide all 4 parts in the equal 3 parts again (same as a clock)
4. Now write C chromatic scale which is as: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
5. Write C note in Capital letters on the 12 o’clock position on Outer circle
6. On 1 o’clock position (next to C), write the note which is 7 semitones away from C (i.e. Note G)
7. Repeat the above process until the circle is completed (i.e. keep writing the notes further which are 7 semitones away from previous one)
8. After drawing the outer circle in Capital Letters, write note “a” just below C note (in inner circle)
9. Keep writing the notes in small letters as per the steps taken in outer circle
10. When both circles of notes are completed, you have your circle of fifths ready for use.
How to Use Circle of Fifths / Circle of Fourths?
1. Now, the Capital Letter notes on the outer circle represents Major scales and Major Chords.
2. Inner circle notes in small letters denotes Minor Scales and Minor Chords.
3. The small letter note in Inner circle makes the relative minor scale of the major scale of the note in capital letters on outer circle. For example; C major and A Minor scales have same music notes but in different order!
4. You can use this circle of fifths in many applications including writing scales, chords, chord progressions etc.
5. This is also called circle of fourths when written in reverse order.
Do write in comments section below if you have any doubt.
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