The Architecture of Music

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The Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths (COF) is a diagram that brings all the harmonic intervals next to each other, enabling us to see the fixed harmonic relationships of notes. In general, two notes closer on the COF will sound better together than two notes further away. Notes can move in a positive (clockwise) or negative (counterclockwise) manner around the circle. Though D is used as the starting point in this circle, any note can be used to begin the circle as the notes never change position.