The Circle of Fifths

Last week, one of the most interesting concepts I learned about was the Circle of 5ths. It was a little complicated and difficult to understand at first, but with help from Mr. Meyer, I was able to figure it out. I learned that starting at C, every time you go up a perfect 5th, 7 semitones across 5 notes, you add a sharp to the key signature. This is because a major scale must have two whole steps, a half step, three more whole steps, and finally one more half step. If you were playing this on a piano, you could just start at middle C and use only the white keys and stay in C Major, however, for every 5th you go up, you must use an additional sharp in order to keep the major pattern. The order that sharps are added are FCGDAEB, which can be remembered with the mneumonic “Father Christmas Gave Dad An Electric Blanket”. When going down perfect 5ths from C, you add a flat, in the reverse order that you add the sharps (BEADGCF). This can be remembered with the mneumonic “Blanket Exploded and Dad Got Cold Feet”. The circle of 5ths helps musicians learn key signatures and explains how they are formed. Eventually, this should be something that is memorized and automatic, but in the beginning, this is a good aid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.