Circle of Fifths
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Circle of Fifths

Knowledge of the circle of fifths greatly facilitates recognition and memorization of chord progressions in a given song.

Because of the high frequency of use, it is best to simply memorize the major keys on the circle of fifths.


In the key of C, the overall song progression may contain several short sequences of Dm, G7, and C. Depending on the nature of the song, several short sequences of Am, Dm, G7, and C may occur.  Although exceptions generally occur based on the complexity or character of the song, the identification  of given chord being major,  minor, or diminished in a major key is determined by its occurrence in the harmonization for that key (C in the present case)
























If  the song is in key of C Major, then it highly likely that the song will contain the home chord C Major and at least the chords on each side. In a simple three chord song, the side chords are F and G and the song is said to have three chords, i.e. C, F, G7. A typical short progression might be C, F, G7, and C.


These three chords, C, F, and G7, are also represented as the I, IV, and V7 chords, respectively. The song will consist of a series of chord progressions. An individual progression will include movements from I to IV or V7 or from IV or V7 to I.  Knowing this notation for each scale facilitates playing the progression in any key and is  especially useful in impromtu  situations when the singer or band specifies any given key.


If the song is in the key of F Major, then it is highly likely that a three chord song will contain the cords F, Bb, C7.  These three chords will also be represented as I, IV, and V7.

Harmonization For Key Signature of C Major

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

I

II

III

IV

V

Vi

VII

C

Dm

Em

F

G

Am

Bdim

The song shown above, “Hey, Good Looking”,  the key signature is C.


This song has of two verses with each verse composed of a set of  sequences.  Each individual sequence is related to the circle of fifths.


Most popular music, however, has a verse followed by an associated chorus. Music generally consist of  multiple verses with their associated chorus.  The verse contain a set of set of sequences that is different from its associated chorus.