### circle of fifths

Musical Theory Abound!!!

### circle of fifths

#11861  by d-v-s
Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:42 am
I've never been formally trained at guitar, but during my travels I have sat in with some music teachers, and one of them tried to teach me the circle of fifths. At the time I was playing bass guitar, and he seemed to think that it was something very important to my development as a player of music.

I understand what the circle of fifths is, and how it's developed, but I don't see any use for it really. I could see that it may be useful for composing or songwriting, but I'm not do either at the moment.

Am I missing something? Is there any use for this while playing (i.e. not writing music)?
#11869  by shakedown_04092
Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:23 am
Could you explain the circle of fifths to me?
#11870  by jck_strw
Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:41 am
#11881  by mttourpro
Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:07 pm
Circle of Fifth is a sort of mathmatical distillation of theory and is useful in terms of understanding scales, chords and the relationship between the keys....what might be more interesting to you would be the jazz version which is actually known as the Circle of Fourths. Same difference but inverted.

Try playing a progression in any key that goes min2, dominant 5, Maj 1 then go up a half step and do it again....kind of an exercise to get 2-5-1 progressions under your fingers. You can also do it to different rhythms and grooves.

Very useful in most jazz standards as they often have a turnaround which goes 1(maj)-6(dom)-2(min)-5(dom)-1....somewhat useful in GD music as well.

Check out Deal (verse), Might as Well(verse) or Miss.half step (bridge) as "quasi" examples. They don't fit exactly but there's a relationship there.
#11888  by shakedown_04092
Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:58 pm
Wow, I can see this is gonna get confusing, but thanks for the info & the link.

It's times like this that make me depressed about playing the guitar, yet at the same time, glad to know that there's a shitload of info out there that I have yet to learn.

#11890  by mttourpro
Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:22 pm
there's a shitload of info out there that I have yet to learn.

You know, I was thinking that this (thoery and such)is a lot like languages....If you're fluent, you don't really stop and think, I am supposed to use an adverb there?? or an adjective there??....it just becomes second nature, you say what you mean and it sounds right....however, when you first learn about the language (formally) you have to learn all the rules of grammer. It's funny because parents don't teach their kids grammer but they do teach them how to speak.

I believe that the way classical harmony-theory was "discovered" (cause it wasn't invented), was that people in the 1600s ripped apart Bach's writing/music and decided that what he did was to be the "rules" of composition. Mozart perfected the use of the rules in his compositions and Beethoveen broke them all.

If you don't know harmony-theory but you do know how to play music and make it sound right/good, then do you really need theory?? Perhaps, but I think mainly only to convey ideas/info to someone else who might not be as able to simply hear what you play and then repeat it. Just my 3 cents....MT
#11891  by wisedyes
Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:27 pm
The big, important thing about the circle of fifths is that the V7-I movement is the single strongest resolution in all of music. Anytime you play a dominant chord of any type ( 7th, 9th, 13th, etc. ), it strongly wants to resolve to the I chord. And then, you can "cycle" through them to set up lengthy jam opportunities, and still work back to the original key, and it will sound very good the whole time.

Here's an example, all the 7th chords are the V (5) chord, and the next chord will be the corresponding one chord of that key:

E7 - A A7 - D D7 - G G7 - C C7 - F F7 - Bb

Bb7 - Eb Eb7 - Ab Ab7 - Db Db7 - Gb Gb7 - B

B7 - E E7 - A

See how this will work through the V7 - I progression in every single key, and eventually return to the starting point? Now, to really spice it up, you can then add a iiminor 7th chord in front of all the V& chords, like this:

Bmin7-E7-A Emin7-A7-D Amin7-D7-G Dmin7-G7-C etc.

You will hear this, and/or the aforementioned cycle of fourths progression, all the time in jams, especially in jazz. A common device in jazz is "backcycling", where you concieve of your "home tone" ( ending point ), and then work your way back to it through cyclying through V7-I or iimin7-V7-I progressions.

Hope this makes some sense.
#11892  by jck_strw
Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:10 pm
wisedyes

That's great stuff right there. Thanks for explaining that. You should contribute that to Wikipedia.
#14572  by JudgeDecreedIt
Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:35 am
Holy crap - that's some good stuff there. I'm guessing but I believe I've heard the dead do that in the extended jams. I can't point to any offhand right now.

I think they do it in playin at or around 2/15/72.

Can anyone point to an example.