The Circle of Fifths

By Sally Keys on June 26, 2017


When it comes to composing your own music, there’s no doubt about it – it can be tough!  You know what you want it to sound like, but you just can’t get the right chord progressions, relative keys or transposition.  But, there is help at hand.  If you consult, study and learn the Circle of Fifths by heart, you’ll never struggle with these things, or others – ever again.

One way in which the Circle of Fifths helps when you’re writing music, is that it can help you clearly see how the major and minor keys relate.  This is essential when you’re trying to find the right notes for a tune that’s in beautiful harmony, or a section where you want the sound to clash (either can work well in a composition).

Other ways the Circle of Fifths can help you are:

• Transposing your music into a different key (eg. if you're singing music originally composed outside your voice range)

• Knowing the right chord progressions (especially important with improv work)

• Counting your sharps and flats (e.g. when notating your compositions)

• Knowing where to put accidentals

The Circle of Fifths was invented by Nikolay Diletsky nearly 350 years ago; and the fact is, it wouldn't still be around today if it didn't really work!

Learn how to use the Circle of Fifths and help your audience hear your beautiful arrangements, with a complete guide to the Circle of Fifths.


Sally Keys and Ledgernote