Why do the keys in the circle of fifths have the pattern of accidentals that they do?



Asked by: Jason Houston

It’s because it’s always the seventh scale degree of the corresponding major scale. Just like the tonic of each scale, the seventh degree is a fifth higher than the seventh degree of the preceding scale in the circle.

What is the pattern in the circle of fifths?





In music theory, the circle of fifths is a way of organizing the 12 chromatic pitches as a sequence of perfect fifths. If C is chosen as a starting point, the sequence is: C, G, D, A, E, B (=C♭), F♯ (=G♭), C♯ (=D♭), A♭, E♭, B♭, F. Continuing the pattern from F returns the sequence to its starting point of C.

Why is the circle of fifths organized by 5?

It’s called the circle of fifths because each key is arranged a fifth interval away from the next on the circle. The circle of fifths is a way to visualize the twelve musical keys and put them in a convenient order.

What is the purpose of the Circle of 5ths?

The circle of fifths reveals information about the progression of key signatures, or how many sharps or flats are in a key, and their relationships internally and externally.

How is the circle of fifths constructed and how can it help you learn key signatures?

Using the Circle of Fifths to Build Scales



Each successive note could be natural (accidental-free), sharpened, or flattened. The key signature will tell you the sharps or flats of the scale, and the other notes will simply be natural. And voilà! There you have your diatonic scale.

What is the easiest way to memorize the circle of fifths?





So the right half we remember with the sentence. Charlie gets drunk and eats butterflies. And the left half we use charlie finds beads where the word bead is spelled out b-e-a-d.

How many keys are there in the circle of fifths?

As mentioned above, the arrangement of the key signatures in the Circle of Fifths is based on the number of sharps or flats in each key. There are 7 sharp keys and 7 flat keys. However, the top of the Circle, 12 o’clock, is our neutral key, meaning no sharps or flats: C Major.

Should you memorize the circle of fifths?

To properly use the circle of fifths to figure out a key signature, you’ll need to also remember this mnemonic device, which tells you the order of flats and sharps: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. For sharp keys (clockwise on the circle of fifths), read the mnemonic device forward.

How does the circle of fifths relate to scales?

You can rotate scale necklaces around the circle of fifths to change their root note. For example, to change the C major scale into the G major scale, you rotate it one slot clockwise. This has the same effect as changing C major into C Lydian mode, because G major and C Lydian are comprised of the same notes.

What is the key with 5 flats in the major circle of fifths?

6. D-flat major has 5 flats. This step shows how to work out how many sharps and flats the D-flat major scale has, using only the Circle of 5ths major scale labels.



Who invented the circle of fifths?

From what we can see in the history books, the circle of fifths was invented by Pythagoras in 600BC. Pythagoras, through many experiments, was able to find out what an octave was and divided it up into the twelve steps that we know today! This became known as the Pythagorean circle.

What key is the saddest?

D minor

From there it’s an easy skip to D, the root of today’s subject, the “saddest key,” D minor. That the key of D minor is the key of true sorrow is ostensibly inarguable at this point in time. Unless, of course, someone cares to argue.



How tell what key a song is in?

The easiest way to figure out the key of a song is by using its key signature. The number of sharps/flats in the key signature tell you the key of the song. A key signature with no sharps or flats is the key of C (or A minor).