Utilities Circle of Fifths

Circle of Fifths – Quintenzirkel


On the circle of fifths you can find the chromatic scale in an altered note sequence. The interval between two neighbouring notes is called pure fifth.

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Application #1, Parallel Major and Minor Scales

The Natural Minor scale and the Major scale are Parallel scales and contain the same notes and key signatures. The Natural Minor scale is always a minor third lower than the Parallel Major scale. Here are the Parallel Minor and Major scales with their key signatures:

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The parallel key of each major key is built by playing the same notes but instead starting with the sixth note of the major scale. That leads to the following rule.

The VI degree of a Major scale is the root tone of the Parallel Minor scale. The III degree of the Minor scale is the root tone of the Parallel Major scale.
Example:

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Parallel Major and Minor Pentatonic

The same rule can be applied for the Parallel Pentatonic scales, too.

The VI degree of the Major Pentatonic is the root note of the Parallel Minor Pentatonic. The III degree of the Minor Pentatonic is the root note of the Parallel Major Pentatonic.

Example:

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Application #2, Key Signatures

Also the key signatures follow the law of the circle of fifths, then between neighbouring key signatures the interval is a fifth, too.

F# – Fifth – C# – Fifth – G# – Fifth etc.

F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#

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Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb

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Progression

Cadere, lat. = falling — A progression is a sequence of chords from scale notes (diatonic). The progression helps to build up suspense (Dominant) and the dissolution to the root chord (Tonic). Here is a table of the chord degrees of the Major scale.

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The chord degrees can be assigned into 3 groups

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• Major chords = Capital letters, • Minor chords = Lower case letters

Major Progression

The major progression and herewith the most used major progression has the following structure:

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More major progressions:

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• T = Tonic • S = Subdominant • D = Dominant

Minor Progression

In comparison with the major progression there are three basic minor progressions with the following structure:

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While the minor progression of the Harmonic scale with the major triad as dominant is the most important one, the progression of the Melodic Minor scale is rarely used.

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More minor progressions :

Harmonic Minor: V – iv – i

Here is a table of the chord degrees of the Harmonic Minor scale:

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