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#725761 07/28/22 06:13 AM
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I’m thinking that in order to continue to progress in music I’ve got to add music theory and more specifically, the Circle of Fifths to my toolbox. My 3 goals are to 1) understand how music works, 2) to play better bass guitar and 3) to write better songs using BiaB.

What I think I know about this diagram is that if we move clockwise, one step on the outer yellow circle we find the “upward 5th” (of the C major scale?) of where we started. So G is the upward 5th of C and D is the upward 5th of G. When we get to Cb/B this is not a slash chord but indicating that Cb and B are equivalent. To find the upward 5th of a note on my bass, I move up 1 string and then up 2 frets. C-D-E-F-G or 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th (upward).

If we move counterclockwise we get the “downward 5th” of where we started. So F is the downward 5th of C and Bb is the downward 5th of F. On my bass I can get these downward 5ths by moving up 1 string and staying on the same fret or by moving down 1 string and then move down 2 frets. C-B-A-G-F or 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th (downward).

I know there is a ton of music theory material on the web but I find that much of it may start at a beginners level but then accelerates beyond my skill level making it difficult to see the “entire forest”. Also, I find these sites don’t align very well with my 3 goals above. So here are a few questions.

1. If this diagram is for the C major scale, are there different diagrams for all the other scales?
2. Do you find the Circle of Fifths useful for what you do musically? If so, how?
3. Can this tool be used in constructing chord progressions when writing songs?
4. Can you recommend a beginner’s music theory book that you actually have on your bookshelf or plan to buy? Being able to discuss something on a specific page would be useful. Who knows, this may grow into a “PG Music Retirement Center Book Club”. smile
5. Anybody else struggling with music theory?

Thanks for any insights.

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1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.
2. Yes, it gives me a basis to start with.
3. Progressions are not my strong point. Someone else?
4. I took music lessons and it was explained to me. I have not read any books on the topic but probably should.
5. Yes, there are rules and rules can be broken.

Hope this helps...

...Deb

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1. It's the same for all scales ... it's about the relationship of notes/chords, not about the scales.

2. Yes, to the extent that I can draw it from memory and recite much of it from memory. It helps to analyse music. It shows the conventional progressions, the relative minor, the tritone, the key signature, right there of the chart. There are several mnemonics to aid memory ... find something that suits. I personally like "Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Birds", but there are others.

3. Yes, definitely. It shows the conventional progressions, but also offers other paths. That 1-4-5 is always there root, step left, step right past root. The common jazz progression 2-5-1 is also there as the 2m is the relative minor of the 4, or the root just steps counter-clockwise. 3-6-2-5-1 is also there.

4. Someone recommended the Dummies Guide To Music Theory. It should be on my bookshelf somewhere, but I can't presently find it. The Beato Book may be worth a look, though it's just gone interactive on a website, which means it's no longer a paper copy. I have mixed feelings about that.

5. I suspect many, possibly most, of us struggle at least a bit. I certainly struggle with some. Don't get hung up about it; rules are made to be broken; if it sounds good to you it's fine; I've wrongly fingered a few chords and loved the resulting sound. One person's tension is another's "sparkle" and yet another's dissonance.


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Originally Posted By: DebMurphy
1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.

Thanks Deb, but I don't know what this means. "the majors for the Key of A is D and E"?
D and E are majors?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: DebMurphy
1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.

Thanks Deb, but I don't know what this means. "the majors for the Key of A is D and E"?
D and E are majors?

Pre-empting Deb ... apologies if that's presumptuous.

In a major key/scale, the major chords are the root, the fourth and the fifth. If you look at the root chord on the circle, the 4th is one step counter-clockwise from the root and the 5th is one step clockwise from the root.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
4. Someone recommended the Dummies Guide To Music Theory. It should be on my bookshelf somewhere, but I can't presently find it. The Beato Book may be worth a look, though it's just gone interactive on a website, which means it's no longer a paper copy. I have mixed feelings about that.

5. I suspect many, possibly most, of us struggle at least a bit. I certainly struggle with some. Don't get hung up about it; rules are made to be broken; if it sounds good to you it's fine; I've wrongly fingered a few chords and loved the resulting sound. One person's tension is another's "sparkle" and yet another's dissonance.

Thanks Gordon, I've never been a fan of the Dummies series. I may be ignorant but I don't think a dummy. That said if the book is good, I could get past my reservations on the title. This one looks like it includes a CD at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dumm...66398&psc=1
Regarding Rick Beato, I've listened to an interview or 2 of his and 1 or 2 "why this song is so great" and I like the guy. He seems knowledgable.

The idea that rules can be broken and that it's about whether it sounds good or not is sound advice. And it's good to know that others struggle with music theory. Makes me feel that I'm not such a "dummy" after all. If I am a dummy I'm in good company laugh

If nothing else, it sounds like diving into the Circle of 5ths is a worthwhile endeavor.

So there is no circle for other scales, just the one I posted above. Is this because each of the 12 notes ( A - G#) are shown on the circle?

Other than an aid to help find the 5th, does that outer ring tell me anything more?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

In a major key/scale, the major chords are the root, the fourth and the fifth. If you look at the root chord on the circle, the 4th is one step counter-clockwise from the root and the 5th is one step clockwise from the root.

Ahhh, ok. That answers another question I had. 1 step CCW and 1 step CW from the root gives us the common 1-4-5 used in so many songs?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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When you move around the circle, remember going up a fifth can also mean going down a fourth to the same pitch in a lower register.

I prefer my chart to show key signatures. I know them, but when you get to five or more accidentals and a certain age, a chart makes it easier.

When composing, the chart can be used for modulating from one key to another. For example, you are in A and you need to get to C. Just move counterclockwise from A to D to G to C. Some of those can be minor. It’s simply taking the ii V7 I progression a few more steps.


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No worries! I have a simple way of looking at the circle.

...Deb

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I agree with you in that the dummy books should not be called that. Maybe change the name to Beginner's Guide to Music Theory would be much better. However regardless of the title those books are very good. I have been through a number of them.

Another way to look at the circle of fifths is to look at it as a way to get back to your tonic chord. For example lets say your first chord is C and the second is B, Using the circle of fifths going counter clockwise your chord progression would be C-B-E-A-D-G-C. Remember the chord progression can be of any version of a chord. For example C-Bm7-E9-A11-Dm7b5-G7-C. In other words they do not have to all be major triads, i.e. major chords. Note that any chord can come after the tonic. Also the above in not written in stone as you can use any chord progression that fits your song and sounds good.

I hope this helps.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
When you move around the circle, remember going up a fifth can also mean going down a fourth to the same pitch in a lower register.

I prefer my chart to show key signatures. I know them, but when you get to five or more accidentals and a certain age, a chart makes it easier.

When composing, the chart can be used for modulating from one key to another. For example, you are in A and you need to get to C. Just move counterclockwise from A to D to G to C. Some of those can be minor. It’s simply taking the ii V7 I progression a few more steps.

OK, I think you all are helping me connect some dots. But I have to have my fretboard diagram and the circle at the ready.
Moving CW from C to G is moving up a fifth (up 1 string and up 2 frets)
Moving CW from C to G is moving down a fourth (down 1 string and stay at the same fret)
These 2 G's are 1 octave apart (2 strings up and 2 frets up)

How can I find the chart you're referring to showing the signatures?

And as you point out it looks like you can modulate (musically move?) from any note to any note simply by hopping around the circle CW 1 step at a time. That's useful.

So if I've written a verse that I like, and I want to create a chorus to follow it, one pleasing way to make this move is to specify the first chord of the chorus to be 1 CW jump on the circle (a fifth) from the last chord in the verse. This is cool. Then to musically get back to the verse from the chorus could do the same between the last chord of the chorus and the first chord of the verse?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
MarioD #725810 07/28/22 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted By: MarioD
I agree with you in that the dummy books should not be called that. Maybe change the name to Beginner's Guide to Music Theory would be much better. However regardless of the title those books are very good. I have been through a number of them.

Another way to look at the circle of fifths is to look at it as a way to get back to your tonic chord. For example lets say your first chord is C and the second is B, Using the circle of fifths going counter clockwise your chord progression would be C-B-E-A-D-G-C. Remember the chord progression can be of any version of a chord. For example C-Bm7-E9-A11-Dm7b5-G7-C. In other words they do not have to all be major triads, i.e. major chords. Note that any chord can come after the tonic. Also the above in not written in stone as you can use any chord progression that fits your song and sounds good.

I hope this helps.

Thanks Mario, you just answered another question before I even asked it. Not only is it musically pleasing to move CW (forward) on the circle, but moving CCW (backward) also works.

I guess one way to really see this in action is to create a BiaB learning tool that spins the wheel in both directions smile

This is getting better with every post, thanks guys.


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I have not read all of this thread. I’ve been busy learning stuff I thought I knew.

The couple of YouTube videos below are probably the best I’ve seen on the “Circle of Fths” by a person called Gracie Terzian.

Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/sWAaJF9Wk0w

How to use the Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/4WxDZ-wSXLY

Easy way to remember the complicated scales
https://youtu.be/-fErw8WPvw0

In my opinion these are really worth a look even if you think you really know the Circle of 5ths and scales inside out. If you are not across the Circle of 5ths they should almost be mandatory.

My opinions
Tony

Last edited by Teunis; 07/28/22 11:50 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
I've never been a fan of the Dummies series. I may be ignorant but I don't think a dummy. That said if the book is good, I could get past my reservations on the title.
I often think their "hey this title would be fun" has probably cost them a lot of sales. Generally, the books are good. Lot's of people say "I'm not a dummy, I won't buy it".
They're not for dummies. They're for people of all abilities.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Regarding Rick Beato, I've listened to an interview or 2 of his and 1 or 2 "why this song is so great" and I like the guy. He seems knowledgable.

He is. He can also be a bit opinionated and insufferable. But on balance I like what he does.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
The idea that rules can be broken and that it's about whether it sounds good or not is sound advice. And it's good to know that others struggle with music theory. Makes me feel that I'm not such a "dummy" after all. If I am a dummy I'm in good company laugh

If nothing else, it sounds like diving into the Circle of 5ths is a worthwhile endeavor.

So there is no circle for other scales, just the one I posted above. Is this because each of the 12 notes ( A - G#) are shown on the circle?

Other than an aid to help find the 5th, does that outer ring tell me anything more?

I'm someone who, when I don't understand something, is prepared to put a hand up and ask for an explanation. Nine times out of ten, people come to me afterwards and say "I'm glad you asked that, because I didn't understand either". In fairness, I'm pretty bright, so if I don't know, I reckon it's a pretty good guess that I'm not the only one. The 10nth times out of ten are the ones where I blush and say "Oh, of course, how silly of me". I don't mind. I'm usually still not alone.

Often the outer ring also includes the key signature, though as with the rest, once you have the FCGDAEB around the ring, each step right of C adds a sharp and each step left of C adds a flat. The ring inside the outer is the relative minor of the major, so also shares the same key signature. There's a surprising amount of information in that circle.

FWIW, Hal Leonard do a small book and extended version, called "The Chord Book" which add more detail about other chord relationships, but I'm still not sure whether it's helpful or just a complication.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper


So if I've written a verse that I like, and I want to create a chorus to follow it, one pleasing way to make this move is to specify the first chord of the chorus to be 1 CW jump on the circle (a fifth) from the last chord in the verse. This is cool.

Sure, you can do that. Or you can modulate almost anywhere else to go into a perfectly effective chorus (bridge). Up a minor third is powerful. Up a major third is nice. My favorite is probably to go up a fourth. After all, that's just one step on the Circle but going counterclockwise. It's very popular.

There are hundreds of diagrams of the Circle of Fifths on the Internet. Here's just one, showing key signatures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths#/media/File:Circle_of_fifths_deluxe_4.svg


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Teunis #725835 07/28/22 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: Teunis

In my opinion these are really worth a look even if you think you really know the Circle of 5ths and scales inside out. If you are not across the Circle of 5ths they should almost be mandatory.

Thanks Tony, I watched all 3 videoes and she does a great job. I'll be watching them again to really try to cement this info. In one of them she was talking about how to transpose. I'm learning there is a ton of info packed into this tool.

Whoever invented this circle deserves kudos.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Often the outer ring also includes the key signature, though as with the rest, once you have the FCGDAEB around the ring, each step right of C adds a sharp and each step left of C adds a flat. The ring inside the outer is the relative minor of the major, so also shares the same key signature. There's a surprising amount of information in that circle.

Thanks Gordon, I need to think about this as I'm sure it's important.


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Sure, you can do that. Or you can modulate almost anywhere else to go into a perfectly effective chorus (bridge). Up a minor third is powerful. Up a major third is nice. My favorite is probably to go up a fourth. After all, that's just one step on the Circle but going counterclockwise. It's very popular.

Another quote worth capturing. Thanks Matt.


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BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
Teunis #725981 07/29/22 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: Teunis
I have not read all of this thread. I’ve been busy learning stuff I thought I knew.

The couple of YouTube videos below are probably the best I’ve seen on the “Circle of Fths” by a person called Gracie Terzian.

Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/sWAaJF9Wk0w

How to use the Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/4WxDZ-wSXLY

I tried to capture the essense of the first 2 videos that Tony provided.
I think these videos are great.
Any comments for improvement are welcome.

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The Music Theory for Dummies book mentioned above is a great starter book. +++ HERE +++ is a link to the book's webpage that has additional information of interest. The Amazon webpage has links to purchase both new and used copies of the book.

Another music self learning asset is +++ Play With Your Music +++ and the +++ Play With Your Music +++ YouTube channel. The Play With Your Music YouTube channel has a +++ Link ++++ to a seven video playlist that does a good job of introducing music theory.


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"Band in a Box continues to be an expansive musical tool-set for both novice and experienced musicians to experiment, compose, arrange and mix songs, as well as an extensive educational resource. It is huge, with hundreds of functions, more than any one person is likely to ever use. Yet, so is any DAW that I have used. BIAB can do some things that no DAW does, and this year BIAB has more DAW-like functions than ever."

Convenient Ways to Listen to Band-in-a-Box® Songs Created by Program Users!

The User Showcase Forum is an excellent place to share your Band-in-a-Box® songs and listen to songs other program users are creating!

There are other places you can listen to these songs too! Visit our User Showcase page to sort by genre, artist (forum name), song title, and date - each listing will direct you to the forum post for that song.

If you'd rather listen to these songs in one place, head to our Band-in-a-Box® Radio, where you'll have the option to select the genre playlist for your listening pleasure. This page has SoundCloud built in, so it won't redirect you. We've also added the link to the Artists SoundCloud page here, and a link to their forum post.

We hope you find some inspiration from this amazing collection of User Showcase Songs!

Congratulations to the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

We've just announced the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

There are 45 winners, each receiving a Band-in-a-Box 2024 UltraPAK! Read the official announcement to see if you've won.

Our User Showcase Forum receives more than 50 posts per day, with people sharing their Band-in-a-Box songs and providing feedback for other songs posted.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

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