How is the circle of fifths used?

The circle of fifths is a diagram used in music theory that helps students memorize and understand the 24 major and minor keys used in music, key relationships, and many chord relationships. Logically, this diagram is pretty fascinating. It ties together many common relationships found in music.

What does circle of fifths mean?

In music theory, the circle of fifths (or circle of fourths) is the relationship among the 12 tones (or pitches) of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys.

How tell what key a song is in?


  1. At the top of a well-written chart, you’ll see a clef & a time signature, and in between them is a key signature––the number of sharps or flats tell you what key the song is in.
  2. If the last chord in the song gives you a sense of resolution, it’s probably the I.

How do you remember the minor circle of fifths?

To properly use the circle of fifths to figure out a key signature, you’ll need to also remember this mnemonic device, which tells you the order of flats and sharps: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. For sharp keys (clockwise on the circle of fifths), read the mnemonic device forward.

Why are songs in different keys?

The primary purpose of multiple keys is for modulation within a single piece, but yes, some instruments sound better or are easier to play in some keys more than in others. Any vocalist will have keys that they tend to feel more comfortable and sound better in.

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What are the most common chord progressions?

The I–V–vi–IV progression is a common chord progression popular across several genres of music. It involves the I, V, vi, and IV chords; for example, in the key of C major, this would be: C–G–Am–F. Inversions include: I–V–vi–IV : C–G–Am–F (optimistic)

How do you read circle of fifths?

Each stop on the circle as you go clockwise from C is a key with one more sharp than the previous key. Each stop as you go down counter-clockwise from C is a key with one more flat than the previous key. Use the circle of fifths to understand the relationship between major and minor keys.

How do you move around the circle of fifths?

In terms of intervals, that’s a major sixth up or a minor third down. Using the Circle of Fifths, simply move three positions clockwise around the to find the relative minor! So, starting from C, count one (G), two (D) and then three: A is your relative minor key.

What key has an F sharp?

G major

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