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Thread: How to practice Circle of 5ths

  1. #26
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    In songs, the more common format is a 'circle of fourths', like the aforementioned 'Salty Dog'. Plenty of other tunes including Swing 42, Sweet Georgia Brown and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea use the form.
    There is just the circle of fifths. It can be run in two directions. For everyone who, like you, insists that the *direction of dominance* is the "circle of fourths" there is at least one who insists that it is the "circle of fifths", so this “distinction” is only a source of confusion.

    Usually, when speaking of, e.g., a “circle-of fifths” bridge, we almost always mean “Rhythm bridge”, i.e., in its simplest form (in the key of Bb): D7-G7-C7-F7. It’s very common, so a first step may be learning to identify it and improvise over it. Then, of course, there is the distinction between “breaking out and circling in” (as in I Got Rhythm) or “circling out (and breaking in” as in the bridge of Topsy:
    (Bb7-Eb7-Ab7-Db7/F7 in the key of bbm. Exploring these is certain to keep you busy before you even contemplate tritone substitutions or introducing ii-V pairs or superimposing, e.g., a Bb major or blues scale over a Bb Rhythm bridge.

    To confuse matters further, there is also the “diatonic” circle of fifths, as in Fly Me to the Moon (in C: am7, dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Fmaj7, bm7-5, E7 …, note the tritone step that keeps all the bassnotes within the C major scale).


    And zillions of variations.

  2. #27

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Bryant View Post
    I wish not to take this thread off course, But, I wish there was a mandolin book like Bruce Emery's book for guitarist, " Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist, (vol 1 & 2). A GREAT book!!! Do you know of any?
    There is very little, if anything, in music theory that is specific to guitar or any other instrument. What in Emory's book wouldn't apply to mandolin?

  3. #28
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    There is just the circle of fifths. It can be run in two directions. For everyone who, like you, insists that the *direction of dominance* is the "circle of fourths" there is at least one who insists that it is the "circle of fifths", so this “distinction” is only a source of confusion............................
    There is just the circle of fourths. It can be run in two directions. For everyone who, like you, insists that the *direction of dominance* is the "circle of fifths" there is at least one who insists that it is the "circle of fourths", so this “distinction” is only a source of confusion.

    See how I fixed that?

    For me, its just a matter of perspective, depending on how your circle is depicted and the direction you choose to circumnavigate.

    I appreciate the concern for my perception, but I don't find my viewpoint to be limiting.
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  4. #29
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    It's really the circle of 12ths. Or 11ths, depending on whether you go CW or CCW.

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    There is just the circle of fourths. It can be run in two directions. For everyone who, like you, insists that the *direction of dominance* is the "circle of fifths" there is at least one who insists that it is the "circle of fourths", so this “distinction” is only a source of confusion.

    See how I fixed that?

    For me, its just a matter of perspective, depending on how your circle is depicted and the direction you choose to circumnavigate.

    I appreciate the concern for my perception, but I don't find my viewpoint to be limiting.
    No, you did not fix it. Fifths and fourths are inverses of one another, hence a cycle of fifths is just as much a cycle of fourths and vice versa.
    Your distinction between “circle of fifths” and “circle of fourths” therefore is completely arbitrary and confusing. That I reject your distinction does NOT mean that I adopt some kind of “opposite” distinction.

    In common parlance a “circle of fifths (or fourths)” progression
    is one where the tonic notes proceed by ascending fourths or descending fifths (with the possible exception of a tritone in the case of diatonic circles.


    For the “other kind”, proceeding by descending fourths and ascending fifths there’s no commonly accepted name that I’m aware of. In strongly diatonic music you will encounter progressions such as I-IV-I-V-I and I don’t believe anyone thinks of, or hears, the middle three chords as part of a circle. In the rare occasion of a more extended construction of this type I might speak of a “backwards circle of fifths”.

  6. #31

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    In strongly diatonic music you will encounter progressions such as I-IV-I-V-I and I don’t believe anyone thinks of, or hears, the middle three chords as part of a circle.
    You don't hear Hey Joe as part of a circle? Deep Purple's Hush? Jumpin' Jack Flash?
    (Or do they not qualify as "strongly diatonic music"?)

  7. #32
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    David L. I agree with you in that the Emery book would apply, I just wish I could find a book jsut like it written for mandolin and with mandolin examples.

  8. #33

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    You don't hear Hey Joe as part of a circle? Deep Purple's Hush? Jumpin' Jack Flash?
    (Or do they not qualify as "strongly diatonic music"?)
    All three use a series of secondary subdominants, which means they are going the other way around the circle. They are very NON-diatonic.

    The chord progression that you were answering about IS diatonic.

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    You can repeat it all you like, but that doesn't mean that it's true. "Down" is just as legitimate as "up". I don't know what "we" you are referring to, but all of the musicians that I know would say "down a fifth". Any theory book uses the term "down" for intervals.
    Because many serious musicians, piano players and church organists, arrangers, etc., have conniptions or at least are confused when I say, "the melody is just the same only down a fifth". I am in agreement with you and your fellow musicians, but my experience has been that this most often raises eyebrows and confuses people.

    Why would you turn a clock ahead 9 hours instead of back 3 hours? That applies to analog AND digital clocks.
    My age is showing: A good way to screw up a fine mechanical clock is to push the hands counter clock wise. It was an expensive mistake I made twice. Once on my parents anniversary clock, and once on a friends parents fireplace mantel clock. In one case I broke the movement, which required a repairman, and in the other case I got the hourly striking out of sync with the time on the face of the clock, which required a repairman.

    Also, never push the hour hand. If you want to go nine hours ahead, push the minute hand around the face nine times. Don't ask me how I know this one.

    It probably makes less difference these days, but safe habits die hard.
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  11. #35

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Because many serious musicians, piano players and church organists, arrangers, etc., have conniptions or at least are confused when I say, "the melody is just the same only down a fifth". I am in agreement with you and your fellow musicians, but my experience has been that this most often raises eyebrows and confuses people.
    I have been a musician my whole life and have NEVER know anyone confused by "down a fifth". It is used everywhere.

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    All three use a series of secondary subdominants, which means they are going the other way around the circle. They are very NON-diatonic.

    The chord progression that you were answering about IS diatonic.

    Did I write "diatonic"? What I meant to say was "triadic". Anyway, my point, again, is this. There is just one circle, and two directions along that circe. Some people call it "circle of fifths", others "circle of fourths", and using one term for one direction, and the other for the opposite direction is completely arbitrary, hence confusing (and certainly not standard). For, e.g.,
    a Rhythm bridge, D7, G7, C7, F7, in the key of Bb, perhaps the best term would be "dom circle", hence "subdom circle" for the opposite direction.

  14. #38

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    A fifth down is a fourth up, down an octave. But yea, the nomenclature is important. There is no down, its always up. Its as if we want a fourth, and we happen to want to use the octave below, and we freaking know its a fifth down but we don't use that description. There is no down. There is no down.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Because many serious musicians, piano players and church organists, arrangers, etc., have conniptions or at least are confused when I say, "the melody is just the same only down a fifth". I am in agreement with you and your fellow musicians, but my experience has been that this most often raises eyebrows and confuses people.

    I've never known an experienced musician to be confused by "down" (an interval). We use it all the time.

    .....


    Guess how this is settled in the world of diatonic accordions? - Multi-row (non semitone) boxes are referred to as, both, "quint" and "fourth-apart."

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    edit: probably need to take back my thoughts, anyway you'all carry on
    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-14-2021 at 9:20pm. Reason: spelling

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    JeffD is right on, relative to the clock thing. I used to work on "older" clock movements and you can really mess up by going backwards. Just thought I would add in, as I love old clocks. Carry on, and thanks!

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    but but what about go fourth <----- young man

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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    but but what about go fourth <----- young man
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Well all our experiences are different. I recall when I first described a fifth down as a fourth up, someone on the site commented on how that was improper. That all intervals are described as up, from the lower note to the higher note.

    The fact that a note is a fifth down from another note is irrelevant. The interval would be described as a fourth, from the lower to the higher, and saying a fifth down is improper.
    I have have never been confused by the terminology, and I doubt anyone is, but enough of my musical friends have corrected me that I just went with it.
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    The fact that a note is a fifth down from another note is irrelevant. The interval would be described as a fourth, from the lower to the higher, and saying a fifth down is improper.
    That makes no sense. If you go down a fifth from C5, you get F4. F (the lower note) up to C (the upper note) is a fifth. It would not be "described as a fourth". There is nothing improper about saying "a fifth down". That phrase is used in every theory book and class that I've ever encountered.

  23. #45

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Are there many people who see a difference between, ‘down by a fifth’, ‘down to the fifth’, ‘to the fifth, an octave below’, and ‘the interval is a fifth’?

  24. #46
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Are there many people who see a difference between, ‘down by a fifth’, ‘down to the fifth’, ‘to the fifth, an octave below’, and ‘the interval is a fifth’?
    I wrote a paper on numeric confusion in music titled "By The Numbers" that scratches the surface of this kind of stuff, you can see it here: http://www.markgunter.net/good_stuff/24/1/music-theory
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  26. #47
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    That makes no sense. If you go down a fifth from C5, you get F4. F (the lower note) up to C (the upper note) is a fifth. It would not be "described as a fourth". There is nothing improper about saying "a fifth down". That phrase is used in every theory book and class that I've ever encountered.
    I was also fascinated by Jeff's contributions on this, mostly because someone told him "always up, always ascending" or some such.

    I have to circle back to the concrete definition of a fifth interval in 12TET - it consists of exactly 7 semitones, whether ascending or descending.

    It is true that many definitions of musical concepts are simplified by writing them in the ascending notes perspective - my own definition of a major scale does that - "Eight notes ascending with a half step between the third and fourth and between the seventh and eighth, and all other notes are a whole step apart; the eighth note being the octave of the first."

    The circle of fifths is based on scalar intervals of fifths, ascending clockwise, descending counter-clockwise. Yes, counter-clockwise you recognize 4ths, because they are the descending 5ths. Call it a circle of fourths if you wish, but that is confusion to the totality of understanding the circle if you have trouble understanding.

    It is analogous to saying, "The mandolin is tuned in fourths" - because from string one to string two is E to A, a fourth, etc. But the reality is that a mandolin is tuned in fifths. A to E is a fifth up, and E to A is a fifth down.
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  28. #48

    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I have to circle back to the concrete definition of a fifth interval in 12TET - it consists of exactly 7 semitones, whether ascending or descending.
    All perfect fifths consist of 7 semitones, but 7 semitones isn't always a fifth. C# up to Ab is 7 semitones, but it is a diminished sixth. Spelling matters.

  29. #49
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    All perfect fifths consist of 7 semitones, but 7 semitones isn't always a fifth. C# up to Ab is 7 semitones, but it is a diminished sixth. Spelling matters.
    It is a fifth in the key of C#.
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    Default Re: How to practice Circle of 5ths

    How bout everyone posting some videos of theirs demonstrating Circle Of Fifths practice that could help the OP and others with questions. Videos are worth a thousand words










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    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-30-2021 at 12:02pm.

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