The circle of fifths on piano is a visual arrangement of related keys.
Although its name can be quite intimidating, the circle of fifths is just an easy way to remember the sharps
and flats of a key signature and so as understanding the relationship of both major and minor keys.
The reason why it is called the circle of fifths is because the tones are in perfect fifth interval apart.
So why is it important to learn the circle of fifths on piano? Well, its visualization will help pianists
remember the order of sharps and flats, identify the key signatures, and find related keys in a song. Understanding
the circle of fifths will also help you see the relationships of the chords in a song.
Functions of circle of fifths
The main function of the circle of fifth is to tell how many sharps or flats are there in a key. You can do this
by simply looking at the illustration. Once you’ve learned how many sharps or flats in a key, playing piano scales would be much
The circle of fifths on piano can also be used to transport major key to minor keys or vice versa. You will
realize that there is a smaller image of circle of the fifth insider a larger image of the circle.
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You will see that the C of the smaller circle is aligned to Eb of the larger circle. So if you transpose an Eb,
the result would be the key of C. The upper letters represent major keys while the small letters on the inside of
the circle represent the minor keys.
Another use of the circle of fifths is to determine the patterns of the chords. But before that,
you have to learn about the different symbols first in the circle. These are I-major, ii-minor, iii-minor,
IV-major, V-major, vi-minor and viio-diminished.
On the circle of fifths on piano, these numerals are arranged from F moving clockwise; IV, V, ii, vi, iii, and
viio. So when you use a I-IV-V chord pattern, you can look at the circle and see that you’ll be playing the C – F –
G. Another example is to play the key of G. Just align the numeral I to G and use the same chord pattern and you’ll
find the G – C – D.
At first, you will surely find it hard to learn to play piano
theory but with practice and a keen sense for analyzing, you’ll be able to use the circle of fifths
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