Author Topic: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths  (Read 225 times)

Peter Anderson

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No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« on: May 06, 2017, 05:33:11 PM »
Practicing with Circle of Fifths

Here are some simple exercises that you can use in your practice routines.
 
Bear in mind that these exercises can also be used as slow progressions or warm-up pieces.    They follow the classic Circle of Fifths pattern and will not only help you to memorize the pattern from which we get   5-1,    2-5-1,    6-2-5-1,    and other progressions, but will also help you to realise the power of using inversions - i.e. how you play a chord.

But, we need to cover just a little theory first.
 
It is important to note, that  we choose to follow the Circle of Fifths pattern going anti-clockwise.   
That is,    C –> F –> Bb,    etc.   

If you’re not already familiar with the Circle of Fifths, don’t worry … you can still practice these exercises, as I will actually spell out each chord for you, later on, below.
 
If you’ve never heard of the Circle of Fifths, or want to brush up on it, then click this link to open the board that covers the Circle of Fifths in a new window:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=954.0



Here is the Circle of Fifths chart:




And, if you click this link you can access a way to obtain an interactive version of the Circle of Fifths:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=2897.0

 
 
Simply put, the Circle of Fifths organises major and minor scales according to how many sharps or flats each scale contains.
 
When you first began playing the organ, you may have thought that C and Db were more related to each other than perhaps C and F because of how close the two notes appear on the keyboard… but that is not true.
 
If you really think about it, how many notes does the C major scale have in common with the Db major scales?
Well, let’s see:
 
C major scale
C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
 
Db major scale
Db – Eb – F – Gb – Ab – Bb – C – Db


…..... an amazing  two notes   (namely F and C)   in common!


Now notice the C major scale compared to the F major scale:
 
C major scale
C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
 
F major scale
F – G – A – Bb – C – D – E – F

 
They have seven notes in common.   The only note they differ by is the B / Bb.
In the next Reply, we explore this particular close relationship.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 10:14:33 AM »



Notice on the chart above where C major and F major appear.      If you observed that they appear right next to each other, then you are on the right track!
 
In other words, as you move from key to key, there will only be a one-note difference.
 
So to make sure we clearly understand this: - 
C major and F major have the same notes except for one difference,    namely
F major has a Bb instead of B.
 
F major and Bb major have the same notes except for one difference: Bb major has an Eb instead of E.      And that pattern continues all the way round the circle.
 
If the major scales of C and F are similar, then isn’t it safe to assume that their major chords are similar?

In fact, to play from a C major to an F major triad (three-fingered chord), you don’t even have to change your hand position.

Try it…
Major Triads
Play:       C E G (Bass = C)
Then Play:       C F A (Bass = F)
      (notice the C’s don’t change).
 
Major Seventh Chords
The same applies to 4-fingered chords…
Play:       C E G B (Bass = C)
Then Play:       C E F A (Bass = F)
 
Major Ninth Chords
The same applies to 5-fingered chords…
Play:       C E G B D (Bass = C)
Then Play:       C E F G A (Bass = F)

If you really look closely, the Fmaj9 actually has a Cmaj triad inside of it.
If you locate C, E, and G in the second chord above, then you’ll notice exactly what I mean.
Appreciate that there are relationships all throughout this circle!
 
In the next Reply we see what this means.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2017, 12:23:48 PM »
… So What Does This Mean?
Well, this simply means that you can go round the ENTIRE circle with these types of close relationships not having to change more than a few fingers from one note to the next.

If C to F produces an easy transition, then F to Bb … Bb to Eb … Eb to Ab, and so on  must produce the same effect:



Here are three exercises you can practice every day to better familiarize yourself with the circle of fifths, as this concept is very important when attempting to understand   chord progressions like    2-5-1,    1-4 turnarounds,    and many others
 
Exercises
 
1) Major Sevenths


Basically, here’s what you do with this exercise…
Start with Cmaj7:
                 C + E + G + B
… and instead of going to F A C E (which is an Fmaj7 in root position), you’re going to go to the closest inversion of the Fmaj7.       
Remember, -  An inversion is another way to play the same chord.

There are four ways (inversions) to play an Fmaj7
F + A + C + E
A + C + E + F
C + E + F + A
E + F + A + C
 
So which inversion would work best coming from a Cmaj7 (C + E + G + B) ?

Of course the    C + E + F + A     because your lowest note is already on C!
Do you follow me?

So, in fact, we’re just picking the closest inversion of Fmaj and in this case, it happens to be C + E + F + A.
 
A few tricks:      You need to read this carefully!

When you’re playing a root inversion of a major seventh chord (root inversions always put the name of the chord on the bottom… so Cmaj7 played C E G B is in its root inversion because C is on the bottom).

Now simply move the top two notes down one whole step and you’ll be on the next chord of the circle!


Like this
   Cmaj7
   C E G B (Bass = C)
      *** Move the G down one whole step to F
      *** Move the B down one whole step to A
   Fmaj7
   C E F A (Bass = F)
 
Now to get from the   Fmaj7   to the next chord on the chart, which is   Bbmaj7    simply lower the bottom two notes by one whole step.

Like this
   C E F A (Bass = F)
      *** Move C down one whole step to Bb
      *** Move E down one whole step to D
    Bbmaj7
   Bb D F A (in its root position) Bass = Bb

…. and now, you simply follow the first step by lowering its highest two notes down to get to the next chord......and so on.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand these steps yet.     Just re-read this post and it’ll make sense soon!

If not, just skip down to the actual chart below and play EXACTLY what I’ve listed in each box. There’s no way you can go wrong.
 
Summary:
1) Lower highest two notes down one-whole step
2) Lower lowest two notes down one-whole step
3) Repeat process over and over (highest two, lowest two, highest two, lowest two)
.
 
Make this your first exercise.     
          Let me warn you:  The first time, you’ll be doing a lot of thinking (high two, low two, high two, low two) but as you get better and better, you’ll build speed and you’ll know which chords come next on the circle.

In the next Reply, I spell out this exercise for you.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 09:58:12 AM »
Here’s the first exercise, playing Major 7ths, chord for chord.

Remember
1.   Play it regularly
2.   Play it rhythmically

Bass      Maj7 chord
C           C  E  G  B
F           C  E  F  A
Bb         Bb  D  F  A
Eb         Bb  D  Eb  G
Ab         Ab  C  Eb  G
Db         Ab  C  Db  F
Gb         Gb  Bb   Db  F
B           F#  A#  B  D#   
n.b. enharmonic equivalent used
E           E  G#  B  D#
A           E  G#  A  C#
D           D  F#  A  C#
G           D  F#  G  B
C           C  E  G  B


In the next Reply, we have another exercise with Major 7ths, but voiced differently.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 05:41:10 PM »
Exercise 2       Major Sevenths (voiced differently)

Now that you understand the concept of using the circle of fifths to play chords, here are some more arrangements to practice:

Bass       Maj7 chord
C            E  B  E
F            E  A  E
Bb         D  A  D
Eb         D  G  D
Ab         C  G  C
Db         C  F  C
Gb         Bb  F  Bb
B           A#  Eb  A#
E           G#  D#  G#
A           G#  C#  G#
D           F#  C#  F#
G           F#  B  F#
C            E  B  E


If you play these chords softly, as you transition from one to the other, you’ll notice very nice progressions that you can use in songs, accompaniments, and for warm-up.

In the next Reply we look at an exercise using minor ninths, and the Circle of Fifths.

Peter 

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 05:36:14 PM »
Exercise 3        Minor Ninths

Lastly, we’ll use the same circle of fifths pattern to explore minor ninth chords.    You will notice that for every other change, the only finger you’ll have to move is your thumb as you change from one chord to the next.       (I know that sounds like an Irish joke!)

Bass      Min9 chord
C           Bb  D  Eb  G
F           A  D  Eb  G
Bb         Ab  C  Db  F
Eb         G  C  Db  F
Ab         Gb  Bb  B  Eb
Db         F  Bb  B  Eb
Gb         E  Ab  A  Db
B           D#  G#  A  C#
E           D  F#  G  B
A           C#  F#  G  B
D           C  E  F  A
G            B  E  F  A
C           Bb  D  Eb  G

In the next reply we supply some additional ideas for you.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 05:39:14 PM »
What do I do next?

Now that I’ve given you just three ideas of what you can do with the circle of fifths, it is your turn to use this process to practice all chord types.   Remember, there will always be a connection between one note on the circle and the next so it is your job to find that connection!     
For example, C maj to F maj will connect somehow and you’ll never find yourself having to move all of your fingers — yes it's true!

Explore these chord types and how they connect on the circle of fifths chart:
   Major triads
   Minor triads
   Major sixth chords
   Minor sixth chords
   Seventh (dominant) chords
   Minor seventh chords
   Major ninth chords



If this has helped you, or given you something to think about, please let us know in a Reply below.

Peter



Peter Anderson

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Re: No__75___Practising With The Circle Of Fifths
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 11:14:17 AM »
If you want an interactive version of the Circle of Fifths, click this link to open it in a New Tab:

http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/

If you want to change the Key, then click on the Tonic column, selecting the particular Key you want.

Peter