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The Basic Building Blocks of the Circle of Fifths

I almost never write reviews for apps but this one felt like it deserves a praise. The UI is very appealing with neat colors and the makers of this app clearly did their research on user base because it caters to both beginners and professionals. Great little app, very helpful for composing and actually hearing chord progressions back for those who don't have relative and perfect pitch.

Right now, the root of the chord is always on the bottom. Inversions add a different color to the chord and are very widely used in songs and compositions. Some chords in the context of a certain progression just aren't the same sound without inversions. As for rhythms, it would be helpful for more control over how many bars a progression is and how many beats are in a bar. Right now, it's always 4 beats to a bar. Either 4 or 8 bars. I don't think adding different time signatures would be incredibly difficult nor adding custom length of bars any amount between Also, adding chord changes within a bar would be awesome.

The Circle of Fifths made clear

That would add more complexity, sure, but the app for have so much value for making fully realized chord progressions for a song or composition. Other than those things, a solid app with lots of potential for improvement. I'm sure the inversions and rhythms features can be included in a future update. Hey wckreation, thank you for your detailed feedback! The latest update of the app includes a more flexible song structure, as well as different time signatures! App is pretty good and fun to use.

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I recommend getting it to anyone who wants a better understanding of progressions. I would hope to see in the future options for saving chord progressions, making chord progressions that are longer than 8 bars, and possibly different instrument sounds.


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I think these are all relatively easy additions. I would also recommend an option to use chords from the parallel minor or modal interchange. This would be a tremendously better app if it had that. It would be worth way more money. I would even pay in app purchase for it if it worked well. I'd rather see it free but people need money. This app is good and is updated pretty regularly. I'd give it five stars if they manage to bring my suggestions to life. I'm hopeful because these don't seem like they would be incredibly hard to add to the already good UI.

‎Ultimate Circle Of Fifths on the App Store

I would also like to point out a glitch where if you exit to home screen out of the app while having a chord progression being played it can make a horrible spazz noise. Overall really good app that's actually worth the price I'd buy it again. Requires iOS Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. App Store Preview.

Again, looking at the circle of fifths diagram, you can see that Db and C are the same. So are F and Gb, as well as B and Cb. By the way, Cb is a weird one, because technically there is no Cb note. But I digress. For better or worse, you need enharmonic keys for all of this to work, because the sharp and flat notes of music feature enharmonic equivalents too. So far, no mention has been made of minor keys, but this is another area where the circle of fifths can be immensely helpful.

So, A minor would be the relative minor key to C major. You would likely play a different kind of progression to create that minor sound than you would in a major key maybe starting with the ii, iii or vi chord. There are other types of minor scales like the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales, which are kind of their own beasts and are beyond the scope of this lesson. In other words, just as you can rotate around the circle by identifying the fifth degree in any key, you can also identify your relative minor in any key if you know what the sixth degree of the major scale is.

That makes it easy to know what your relative minors are. One other way to find your relative minor is to move three keys down in a clockwise direction. Of course, A minor is the relative minor of C major. So, E would be your relative minor for G. I think this is kind of a less commonsense approach, but it does work, and if it works for you, more power to you!

Playing in a major key is effectively the same as playing in a minor key. A song starting on the I, IV or V chord is usually major. A song starting on the ii, iii, vi chords is typically minor. The key being that a song in a major key has a happier, more upbeat sound to it. Songs in minor keys have sadder, darker or more serious tone. Where else would you end it? Ending it on the I would provide a sense of finality, but the progression in this song feels like one that just goes on forever, so vi seems more logical.

My suggestion would be to rely more on your ears to figure out whether a song is in a major or minor key. So, all you need to do to identify and read scales off the diagram is choose what your tonic center is going to be. Looking at the diagram, we know that G has one sharp, which is F. You can follow this exact formula as you move around the circle — start on the fifth of the previous scale and sharp its fourth. Moving in the other direction, we know that F is the fourth degree of C. Now, there is one other little trick we can use to read scales off the diagram.

Circle Of Fifths: What It Is, How To Use & More [With Free Downloadable PDF]

After all, scales do not go up in fifths. What is a chord? A group of three or more distinct notes played together.

Chord construction mostly relies on the major scale, which means we can also use the circle of fifths for building chords because it is closely connected to the major scale. There are plenty of different types of chords out there.

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Not surprisingly, C is the first note in a C major chord. E is a major third in relation to C, and G is a perfect fifth above C. That means C is made up of C, E and G. At this point, we could just dust our hands off and call the matter settled. What was it again? Right, E. E can be found by moving four spaces down. This might seem a little arbitrary. A minor chord is also built in thirds.


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Fortunately, there is a simple way to figure out how to build a minor chord using the major scale. So, you would simply turn the third degree into a flatted note. So, again, we have a working formula that can apply to any minor chord. How about F minor? As we know, the fifth is just one space to the right, making it C. The minor third is three spaces to the right, making it Ab. Now you should be skilled in identifying and building major and minor chords using the circle of fifths. If you can build major and minor chords using the circle fifths, naturally you can build other types of chords too.

As with other chords, it is also built in thirds. But to create a dominant seventh chord, we also need the minor seventh.