Circle of Fifths

This interactive circle of fifths is a great songwriting tool, giving insight into chord changes and key signatures. At first glance it can be intimidating, but once understood, you will unlock an endless potential to your songwriting.

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How to use the interactive circle of 5ths

This interactive circle of fifths has three rings. The outer ring represents the Major Scale, the center ring is the Minor Scale, and the inner ring are the diminished notes in a key.

When you click on a note in the circle of fifths, all the notes in that key are highlighted, and labeled with the degree number.

Why is it called Circle of Fifths?

The Circle of Fifths is a diagram used in music theory that shows the relationship between the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale, as well as the key signatures used in Western music. It is named after the interval of a fifth, which is the distance between any two pitches that are seven half-steps apart.

The Circle of Fifths is arranged in a clockwise order, starting with the key of C major, which has no sharps or flats. As you move clockwise around the circle, each new key is a fifth higher than the previous key. For example, the key of G major is a fifth higher than the key of C major.

In addition to showing the order of keys, the Circle of Fifths can also be used to determine the number of sharps or flats in a particular key signature. Each new key signature adds one sharp or flat, and the position of the sharp or flat is determined by moving one step clockwise or counterclockwise around the circle. 

How To Apply The Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths is a useful tool for musicians and composers to understand the relationships between different keys and to create chord progressions, modulations, and other musical ideas.

You can easily use the circle of fifths to identify which notes to play in a chord progression. For example, to determine which notes or chords to play in a I, IV, V chord progression, you can click on the root note, or key of the song, and the diagram will have the corresponding notes labeled accordingly. The I chord is the root, the IV is to the note to the left, and V is the note to the right.