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Circle of Fifths theory and Jazz Tune

Discussion in 'Twanger Central' started by boop, Jan 12, 2019 at 4:32 PM.

  1. boop

    boop TDPRI Member

    Dec 1, 2018
    This video does a neat explanation of the circle of fifths, which I'm not really familiar of its use, through the lens of a John Coltrane tune which I also had no idea about.

    Did anyone here learn their keys with the circle of fifths?

    Uhh, I meant to post this to the theory forum
  2. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    The circle of fifths is very important for understanding basic music theory. Each root note is flanked by it's four and five notes (and chords) on either side, which are also the most nearly related keys, having only one note in their scale different than the original key. And, a minor third (three frets) down reveals the relative minor key, which contains the same seven notes for it's scale, but with the half steps between the two and three and between the five and six, rather than between the three and four and between the seven and eight in a major key. In other words, an A minor scale still has no sharps and flats, and the half steps are still between E and F and between B and C, but their place in the scale changes.
    C major scale- C D E F G A B C
    A minor scale- A B C D E F G A
    Looking at the circles of fifths with C major at the top, and being the only key with no sharps or flats, moving clockwise yields the sharp keys and moving counterclockwise yields the flat keys.
    Each step in either direction requires one additional note to be altered to keep the half steps in the correct place.
    For instance G major has one sharp, because the F must become an F# to keep the major scale intact, with the half steps occurring between the 3/4 and 7/8 notes. The next key moving clockwise is D major, where the C needs to become a C# to keeps the half steps in the right place.
    The circle of fifths moves in fifths clockwise and in fourths counter clockwise. All intervals work the same way, it always adds up to nine.
    A fourth up is a fifth down, but a fifth up is a fourth down
    A third up is a sixth down and vice versa ( a sixth up being a third down)
    A second up is a seventh down and vice versa (a seventh up is a second down)
    The whole system is very ingenious and makes perfect sense once you get a grasp on it's principles, and helps to understand scales, keys and intervals immensely.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 4:49 PM
  3. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    I'm glad you posted it here.
    Giant Steps, at least the first section, lays on the circle of 5ths in major 3rds. GS is
    Bma7 D7 Gmaj7 Bb7 Emaj7 F#7
    And without the 7th chords,
    Bmaj7 Gmaj7 Ebmaj7

    But let's put it in C, for simplicity.
    Cmaj7 Eb7 Abmaj7 B7 Emaj7
    And without the 7th chords
    Cmaj7 Abmaj7 Emaj7.

    These three chords are a major 3rd apart and form a triangle in the circle of 5ths.
    . . . . . .C
    . . . F. . . . .G
    . Bb. . . . . . D
    .Eb. . . . . . . .A
    .Ab. . . . . . .E
    . . Db . . . . B
    .... ..Gb/F#

    Starting on C go 5 clicks to the right,
    C G D A E
    this is the C major pent C D E G A

    Starting on Ab go 5 clicks to the right
    Ab Eb Bb F C
    this is the Ab major pent Ab Bb C Eb F

    Starting on E with the help of enharmonic equivalents, go 5 clicks to the right
    E B F# C# G#
    this is the E major pent E F# G# B C#

    These 3 pents use all 12 notes. Use the 3 pents to solo in a simple way over the 3 key centers.

    Still hard as, as,,, as,,,,, heck with double hockey sticks.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 8:03 PM
    Stellacaster, Greggorios and boop like this.
  4. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Yep, learned my 'cycles' from the above "circle of cycle of 5th's(cw) and 4ths(ccw)."
  5. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    Mmm yes, nicely put, the mathematic parts of understanding music theory, the underlying need to bring order out of chaos, the relationship of the moving half-step alterations of scales to change keys and key signatures--I love it so much!
    I lie awake at night thinking of these things--bliss!
    Greggorios likes this.
  6. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

    Aug 12, 2008
    I did not learn originally that way but it sure made everything make sense.
  7. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    That little rap I gave was sonething Kimock showed me in a store. There was s a clock on the wall with the circle of 5ths and he showed me that concept of the triangle then he played some Giant Steps lines, over a one I7 chord ala jam band. Amazing to watch him play. I mean I do it and it don't sound the same lol cry.
    Teleguy61 likes this.
  8. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
  9. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    You do know that all participants in this thread must now record themselves playing over Giant Steps.
  10. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    I'll start, with a chord melody ;) (Intro until 0:20)
    I've never related this tune in any way to the cycle of 5ths. Also, thinking V - I is too slow (at tempo) and nobody really approaches it that way either. It's more about m3 motion - at least as far as the key centers are concerned. There are a lot of ways to skin this cat and any jazzer who plays it has their 'secret' or method. *Countdown and Moment's Notice are harder Trane tunes.

    boop, Stellacaster and ASATKat like this.
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Not me, but here's a TDPRI-friendly version of Giant Steps, with compression, slap-back and chickun-pickun!

    Tobias and ASATKat like this.
  12. mrmousey

    mrmousey Tele-Meister

    Aug 6, 2016
    Largo, Fl
    Use it all the time .......
    Very useful in understanding and remembering progressions
  13. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Holic

    May 7, 2015
    this is the circle of fifths that helped me understand the blues.

    ASATKat, nvilletele, klasaine and 5 others like this.
  14. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    To grok how fundamental the 5th relationship is, I think back on the most basic divisions of a string: in half and you get the octave, and next (at 1/3) you get the fifth.

    It’s kinda like Golden Sectioning a string: that ratio and relationship is a structural and aesthetic property of the universe itself.

    Stellacaster likes this.
  15. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

    Aug 4, 2009
    Lebanon, NH
    One of the first things I ever learned theory-wise on the guitar was the circle of fifths, and it has served me very well over the years. I can instantly know and play the I-VI-V for any key (Johnny B. Goode in Ab - no problem! :D)

    Another magical property of the "circle". If you read sheet music (like I do in my church choir) and wish to know the key from the key signature, circle of fifths to the rescue!

    Step 1: Note the number of sharps or flats

    Step 2: From the circle of fifths

    (going clockwise)
    C = no sharps/flats
    G = 1 sharp
    D = 2 sharps
    A = 3 sharps
    E = 4 sharps
    B = 5 sharps
    F# = 6 sharps*

    (going counterclockwise)
    C = no sharps/flats
    F = 1 flat
    Bb = 2 flats
    Eb = 3 flats
    Ab = 4 flats
    Db = 5 flats
    Gb = 6 flats*

    (Note that F# = Gb)
    Stellacaster likes this.
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    "Our ears just like"?
    But what if they don't both agree and argue the point with each other?
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Interesting how the numbers of flats and sharps go.
    I guess because much of my musical development was during incessant Coltrane listening, I learned to do stuff but not what the stuff was called.

    The video suggesting the each key is a different language doesn't make sense to me, as I've never met a key I couldn't understand and speak, but maybe I don't understand the word-language related to the music language.

    WRT sharps and flats, they are only sharp or flat because we label them so, right?

    If we tuned the guitar up or down a half step, and then played a piece of written music as if the guitar was tuned normally, only the names of the notes would change, but the relationships would still work the same way, correct?

    Unless maybe we found transposing uncomfortable, which I've always been curious about; where some players have trouble with or are incapable of transposing a tune by ear. Maybe because they hear according to the names of the notes/ chords/ keys?

    I seem to hear in intervals, where the division between notes in the 12 tone scale are evenly divided, thus no interval is unique, and no note is sharp or flat, unless we deem it so.

    I cycle through different keys when playing alone, just because it's more interesting and feels less restricted.
    So this is interesting, even as I don't know what most of the words mean.

    I'll have to listen to Giant Steps and check it with the video, but that's an awful fast tune to keep up with. I sometimes have a problem where I forget if I'm trying to play a sax part or a piano part, so I end up combining them in simple lines.
    With varying degrees of success!
    Stellacaster likes this.
  18. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    Awesome, I'm dizzy lol.
  19. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    Notice how each key that shares the same letter like G and Gb have 7 accidentals between the two, G has 1 and Gb has 6. 1+6=7.

    This is true for every two letters,
    D has 2 sharps and Db has 5 flats =7
    A - 3#, Ab - 4b = 7
    E - 4#, Eb - 3b = 7
    and so on through all the keys.

    Flats are the easiest to memorize because the keys in 4th spells the word BEAD, and the accidentals also spell BEAD. So you can use the word BEAD to organize and memorize.

    Bb...........Bb Eb
    Eb...........Bb Eb Ab
    Ab...........Bb Eb Ab Db
    Db...........Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    Gb...........Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb

    This happens on the the sharps side but everything is in reverse like DAEB. Flats are easier.

    Plus the flats tell you what the sharps are. 6 flats in Gb means 1 sharp for G.

    Last observation,
    Using Ab for the example,
    Ab has 4 flats and they spell Bb Eb Ab Db,
    this mean the key of A has 3 sharps, not only do the two keys sum to 7,, all 7 of the music letters get used.

    Bb Eb Ab Db
    F# G# C#

    See how all 7 letters are used between the two keys?

    I hope so.

    I'm now fizzled writing all this on my phone lol.
    archtop_fjk likes this.
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