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Hi- I’m tying to get a better understanding of chord progressions but I’m confused. I can see on the circle of fifths moving clockwise the intervals are fifths.
From what I’m reading on the internet-if I go counter clockwise it should be fourths, yet I’m still counting fifths. Obviously I’ve misinterpreted what a fourth is🙄

Last edited by Wayne2467; 06/27/22 10:06 AM.
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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
From what I’m reading on the internet-if I go counter clockwise it should be fourths, yet I’m still counting fifths. Obviously I’ve misinterpreted what a fourth is🙄

There is a convention tied up in that, namely that the interval is defined as ascending regardless of which direction you go on the circle.

So if you go from C to F (one step counterclockwise at the top of the circle, you get C D E F. That’s a fourth.

You don’t spell out the interval as descending just because you are going counterclockwise on the circle. I mean, you could, and you would get C B A G F which is a descending fifth. But the convention is that if you don’t specify ascending or descending, then the default is ascending.


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Originally Posted by scirocco
Originally Posted by Wayne2467
From what I’m reading on the internet-if I go counter clockwise it should be fourths, yet I’m still counting fifths. Obviously I’ve misinterpreted what a fourth is🙄

There is a convention tied up in that, namely that the interval is defined as ascending regardless of which direction you go on the circle.

So if you go from C to F (one step counterclockwise at the top of the circle, you get C D E F. That’s a fourth.

You don’t spell out the interval as descending just because you are going counterclockwise on the circle. I mean, you could, and you would get C B A G F which is a descending fifth. But the convention is that if you don’t specify ascending or descending, then the default is ascending.

I see- thanks for that

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What I had to sort out a decade ago:

When I studied basic theory, we learned of the V-I cadence and so the question I asked myself was, "What is V of C? What is V of D?" V-I in C major is G-C; V-I in D major is A-D - so the respective answers were G, and D. That's good for "finding V of". Here we're in the world of 5.

5 is also good for sharps key signatures. C (no sharps) - 5 up, G major (1 sharp) - 5 up, D major (2 sharps) etc.

Another view I was given later was, "Where does G go?" "Where does A go?" G goes to C; A goes to D. This is exactly the same V-I as before, but from the opposite end. And also, that movement isn't always a cadence. I was told that this view is more practical. Here we're in the world of 4.

4 is also good for flats key signatures. C (no flats) - 4 up, F major (1 flat) - 4 up, Bb major (2 flats), etc.

You don't have to memorize the circle or stare at a diagram, though it could be handy to have around to check. You have 5 fingers. When you put your hand on 5 adjacent keys, C - your RH pinky shows you the G. Move your hand over to G - your pinky shows the D. Though you do have to look out for it being a perfect 5th (B F#, not BF) --- if you can hear it, great; if you know your major or minor triads, your fifth is in the outer notes.

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F Bead.
Charlotte Gets Drunk And Eats Butterflies.

smile


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Originally Posted by scirocco
F Bead.
Charlotte Gets Drunk And Eats Butterflies.
smile
And there I was, about to look up the composer Ferdinand Bead, and his song about the inebriated Charlotte and her exotic gastronomic tastes. laugh

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Simple Interval inversions. Up 4th and down a 5th are the same note. Same with all interval up a 2nd down 7th, up a 3rd down a 6th and so on. Also notice interval inversions all add up to 9. Up a 4th down a 5th 4 + 5 = 9, up a 7th down a 2nd 7 + 2 = 9 and so on. A lot of math in music.

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That's the issue with the music theory. The 'geniuses' that started to teach others (us people) about notes being at some 'distance' apart is just plain wrong in my opinion. Intervals should be considered as how many notes 'spanned' (which includes the two notes being compared, which the span is measured ----- based on a major scale in which the reference note determines the 'key' of the major scale being considered).

For example, choosing a note 'C'. Let it be the reference note, and the major scale considered - based on this reference note is 'C major'.

If we then go up to the next 'F', then the span of notes (including the two notes of interest) will be four. So it's a span of four. So the 'F' relative to reference note is what they call a 'fourth' - or perfect fourth (or whatever) in this major scale.

If we take the reference note 'C' again, and then go downward to the next F (downwards, not upwards), then the span is five notes in this major scale. So we have a perfect fifth.

If the span across the reference note and the non-reference note happens to be 1 semi-tone less than the 'regular' integer-number span, then we start getting 'minor' spans. So the span from the reference note 'C' and the upper 'E-flat' is a minor third. While the span from reference note 'C' and the upper 'E' is a major third.

It's not because us people can't understand the theory. It's the 'geniuses' (or no thanks to them) that started teaching the wrong things in music theory books etc, which has become generic --- which creates the issues. In fact, there is other music theory that they do not properly teach or define, which creates confusion. People only begin to properly understanding after putting in their own hard yards to get properly oriented - after it is properly figured out. What we actually need is a document where somebody puts in all the properly explained (and correct) theory/concepts - for everybody to properly understand. Might have to write one someday myself for our own benefits.

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Also ----- forgot to mention. If we simply did set 'F' to be a reference note, and then the non-reference note is the 'C' above it, then using the reference note 'F' to determine the major scale (in this case F-major scale) will also result in a 'span' of five in the F-major scale (from 'F' up to 'C'), still resulting in a perfect fifth (as expected).

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Originally Posted by MrShed
Simple Interval inversions. Up 4th and down a 5th are the same note. Same with all interval up a 2nd down 7th, up a 3rd down a 6th and so on. Also notice interval inversions all add up to 9. Up a 4th down a 5th 4 + 5 = 9, up a 7th down a 2nd 7 + 2 = 9 and so on. A lot of math in music.

Can you flesh this out with some examples? As it stands it could be confusing.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by MrShed
Simple Interval inversions. Up 4th and down a 5th are the same note. Same with all interval up a 2nd down 7th, up a 3rd down a 6th and so on. Also notice interval inversions all add up to 9. Up a 4th down a 5th 4 + 5 = 9, up a 7th down a 2nd 7 + 2 = 9 and so on. A lot of math in music.

Can you flesh this out with some examples? As it stands it could be confusing.


Just hope on your keyboard and check it out. Play a C now play the G above it how many notes is that it's 5 up a fifth. Now go back to C now go down to the G below, count the note 4 down a 4th. Up a 5th 5 and down a 4th 4, 4 + 5 = 9 that just a trick we were taught in school to check ourselves with. Do again this time with a 3rd. C up to E is three notes up a 3rd. Now C down to E count the notes 6. 3 + 6 = 9.

Try that with all the notes of the C scale you'll see the same thing. A lot of math appears in music.

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Originally Posted by MrShed
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by MrShed
Simple Interval inversions. Up 4th and down a 5th are the same note. Same with all interval up a 2nd down 7th, up a 3rd down a 6th and so on. Also notice interval inversions all add up to 9. Up a 4th down a 5th 4 + 5 = 9, up a 7th down a 2nd 7 + 2 = 9 and so on. A lot of math in music.

Can you flesh this out with some examples? As it stands it could be confusing.


Just hope on your keyboard and check it out. Play a C now play the G above it how many notes is that it's 5 up a fifth. Now go back to C now go down to the G below, count the note 4 down a 4th. Up a 5th 5 and down a 4th 4, 4 + 5 = 9 that just a trick we were taught in school to check ourselves with. Do again this time with a 3rd. C up to E is three notes up a 3rd. Now C down to E count the notes 6. 3 + 6 = 9.

Try that with all the notes of the C scale you'll see the same thing. A lot of math appears in music.

Now it's clear what you're saying. You would have to play a different C to get the same note (the same G) of course. Otherwise your 1st G will be an octave above the 2nd G. But if you play C4 and go up a 5th; then play C5 and go down a 4th; you get the same G.

I also learned the "9" trick but it was for checking inversions: adds up to 9 and has the opposite quality. M2, m7 .... m3, M6 (CD, DC) (CA, AC). An inverted Perfect is always still a Perfect.

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Here's a fun keyboard exercise - go around the circle of fifths until you get back to your original note, but stay in one octave. You do it by using fourths, the inversion of a fifth. Start with C, up to G, down to D... When you get to B, go down to F# (or Gb, there is where most shift to flats) and down again to Db to stay in the octave, until you finally go up to Bb, down to F, and back to C where you started.

You can do this in either direction.

Now do the same thing, but play the major chord for each instead of a single note. This sounds most natural going "forward" around the circle, because then each chord is the dominant of the next. This is a great chord spelling exercise.

Now do it again but add the major 7th to the chord - another great chord spelling exercise.

Now expand beyond the octave and do arpeggios on those chords, up and down the keyboard.

Now you are warmed up - start practicing!

Sam


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Originally Posted by keystring
And there I was, about to look up the composer Ferdinand Bead, and his song about the inebriated Charlotte and her exotic gastronomic tastes. laugh

Actually I had it slightly wrong, should have been:

Charlotte Gets Drunk And Eats ButterFlies.

In my defence I don’t spend a lot of time playing music with six sharps. The mnemonic comes from Michael New’s excellent explanation of the circle.

This guy does some of the best demystification of basic beginner musical concepts I’ve ever seen. His comments are full of “why did no-one ever explain this to me before?”



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The minors are confusing me. For example if I play the scale of A flat major we get g sharp minor on the circle of fifths. Why can’t it be a flat minor?

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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
The minors are confusing me. For example if I play the scale of A flat major we get g sharp minor on the circle of fifths. Why can’t it be a flat minor?
The relative minor of A-flat major is F minor (4 flats).

G-sharp minor is the relative minor of B major (5 sharps).

A-flat minor exists but it's a rare key (7 flats). Usually stuff will be written in G-sharp minor instead. But check out
this post for some examples:
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...ead-for-short-questions.html#Post3231300

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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
The minors are confusing me. For example if I play the scale of A flat major we get g sharp minor on the circle of fifths. Why can’t it be a flat minor?

The circle of fifth is either in major or in minor. It is not used to move between modes.


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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
For example if I play the scale of A flat major we get g sharp minor on the circle of fifths. Why can’t it be a flat minor?

You'll have to explain what you mean by "get". In what sense do you "get" it? You certainly don't get the notes of g sharp minor. What are you trying to achieve?

If you are looking for the connection between a major scale and its relative minor, one easy way to remind yourself is to go back three semitones (two scale degrees) from the major to get the minor. So going back from C major will give you A natural minor which uses the same notes and key signature. If you want the harmonic and melodic minors you then sharp the natural minor 7th and so on. This works for any major / minor combination.

Many circle of fifths diagrams have the relative minors shown inside the circle with the corresponding majors around the outside.


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Originally Posted by scirocco
Originally Posted by Wayne2467
For example if I play the scale of A flat major we get g sharp minor on the circle of fifths. Why can’t it be a flat minor?

You'll have to explain what you mean by "get". In what sense do you "get" it? You certainly don't get the notes of g sharp minor. What are you trying to achieve?

If you are looking for the connection between a major scale and its relative minor, one easy way to remind yourself is to go back three semitones (two scale degrees) from the major to get the minor. So going back from C major will give you A natural minor which uses the same notes and key signature. If you want the harmonic and melodic minors you then sharp the natural minor 7th and so on. This works for any major / minor combination.

Many circle of fifths diagrams have the relative minors shown inside the circle with the corresponding majors around the outside.

It would be good if the Major scales correspond with the minors so a flat major and a flat minor rather than a flat major and g sharp minor
Going back three steps- that’s something I’ve learnt now- thanks- my theory sucks

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Another fun exercise is maybe - start with left-hand C2, and right hand on F7 ....... then head upward with the left-hand, and lead downward with the right-hand. Contrary motion. The left-hand will end up around F4#, and right hand will end up around B4. Here, the left-hand can then progress downward again, while right-hand progresses upward again (still in contrary motion style).

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