Circle of Fifths – The Scales (Part 1)

Ok, so hopefully you’ve already downloaded the reference image for this for the Circle of Fifths/Fourths. If not, do that now:

We’ll be using that throughout the next three posts, so you’ll need to keep it handy (or just bookmark it).

First let’s take a section out of our reference image, focusing on the G Major. Here it is:

G Major Section - Circle of Fifths

G Major Section

And now let’s straighten that out and add some reference numbers to it and voila!

Circle of Fifths Reference

Circle of Fifths Major Scale

“Wait, what the hell is that?” you’re asking.  Ok, I guess we need a bit of explanation. Let’s go back to our original reference image. First you’ll note that the scale has 1 sharp, and you’ll note the scale is this:

G  A  B  C  D  E  F# (G)

So now, if you go by the numbers in the above image, you’ll see that reading the notes in the order of the numbers above, you get that exact scale (the 1-note is also the octave). Going back to the reference image you’ve downloaded, moving that number pattern so that the “1” corresponds to the note-scale you want, it will follow precisely.

It’s just that easy. We’re done with the Major Scale.

Let’s look at the Minor Scale, now. We’re going to use the same section we used for the Major Scale, but with a bit of renumbering:

Circle of Fifths Minor Scale

Circle of Fifths Minor Scale

Now based upon that, the Em Scale should have a single sharp, and should be this:
E  F#  G  A  B  C  D  (E)

And lo and behold it is! This pattern follows the same rule in that if you move it around so that the 1 is on your root (1-note) then it will let you work out the scale for any minor key.

And please see the Addendum to this article! There is additional information about this that I’d forgotten!

Now bookmark this page and subscribe, because next we’re going to talk about chord construction in relation to the Circle of Fifths.


One Response to “Circle of Fifths – The Scales (Part 1)”

  1. […] Crap, I forgot a very important point in the last article! If you’ve read Part 1, then you already know that if you shift the numbers around the circle, you get the scale for […]

Leave a Reply