The Architecture of Music

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

The Circle of Fifths is Independent of Notes

Circle of Fifths Chords

If the notes are removed from the COF it still remains a very handy tool as it can be used to visually describe the sounds made by chords and scales. In general, notes further away from the bass note around the COF sound more in resonance than those closer to it. The illustrations on the few next pages use the COF to describe the sounds of the harmonic triads.

Notice how the circles along the COF change to squares as you get further away from the bass note. This is to demarcate notes further away from the bass note but have a closer harmonic relationships to each other. On the following pages, the circles, x’s and triangles above the COF are used to distinguish bass note, harmonic and triad from each other. Become familiar with this nomenclature because it will be used often in reduced format.