The Circle Of Fifths is simply the 12 notes of Western music arranged in a certain order around a circle: C G D, A E B, F♯ C♯ G♯, D♯ A♯ and F – and of course those sharps can be named with flats too.
Write those notes in that order around a circle in 12 positions like a clock – and you have the circle. Simple as that.
So why all the fuss?
In this episode Christopher, Andrew, and Anastasia from the MU team get together for an informal and unscripted chat about why most musicians have been missing out on the full power, beauty and potential of the circle in their musical lives – and what you can do about it.
Watch the episode:
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Christopher: Hello, and welcome to Musicality Now. My name’s Christopher Sutton, I’m the founder and director of Musical U. And I’m here today for a special episode with Andrew Bishko and Anastasia Voitinskaia from the Musical U team to talk about the Circle of Fifths.
Christopher: Now, if you’re like most musicians, if I asked you if you’d heard of the Circle of Fifths you would say, “Yep, totally.” If I asked you if you understood it, you’d say, “Errrm, maybe a little bit.” And if I asked you if you used the Circle of Fifths, you’d probably hesitate and then maybe admit, “No.” And that’s certainly where I found myself for a long, long time in my musical journey. It’s time to do something about that, because the Circle of Fifths is packed full of valuable stuff that can actually help you in a practical way in your musical life, day-to-day, and that’s what we’re here today to talk about. Before I blither on any further, I’d ask Andrew to please introduce yourself for those watching and listening.
Andrew: Hi, I’m Andrew Bishko. I’m product manager at a Musical U, and I work on developing new products, on polishing up old ones, and I talk to a lot of members.
Christopher: Terrific. And Anastasia?
Anastasia: Hi, my name is Anastasia Voitinskaia, and I am a graphic designer, content creator, writer, and community member here at Musical U.
Christopher: So, there was a good reason that we decided to talk about the Circle of Fifths today, and I’m going to just be totally up front and say, we have a product coming out this week all about the Circle of Fifths. But we are not here to pitch on that product, really, we are here because, in the course of developing that product, it turns out there’s kind of an elephant in the room when it comes to the Circle of Fifths, and I wanted to just share a little bit about how this product came to be, and why we feel there is an elephant in the room, because I think it’s something that a lot of people who listen to or watch this show will be able to relate to.
Christopher: So, for my part, I definitely came across the Circle of Fifths early in music learning, but it was under a heading of music theory. And a couple of years ago we discovered that people were coming to the Musical U website because they’d searched for Circle of Fifths online, and it was mentioned in some of our articles, and they’d end up on our website, but we didn’t have anything very good about the Circle of Fifths. And, in all honesty, it’s always a little tricky for us to decide at Musical U how much we want to talk about music theory, because we’re not a music theory education company, and it can be hard to know where to draw the line between musicality and music theory. So, we decided in the end we would put something together about the Circle of Fifths, because it was clearly such a key topic to many of the things we were talking about, like chord progressions, and scales, and basically anything to do with pitch and music. But we didn’t really have a good tutorial.
Christopher: And so, I asked Andrew and Anastasia to put together the ultimate guide to the Circle of Fifths, not just a little tutorial, but a really full-on explanation. Fast forward, and that article is one of the top results on Google these days for Circle of Fifths. And I realized we had a responsibility at that point to make sure we were serving the people who ended up on that page the best we possibly could. And we started asking the people who came to that page, “Why are you interested in the Circle of Fifths? And what’s one thing that’s always frustrated you about it, or that you’ve struggled with?” And the picture that’s emerged is so clear we couldn’t help but go the next step and want to do a podcast episode about it. Because I think once I explain it, you’ll understand why I said it’s an elephant in the room.
Christopher: So, the picture that emerged was that literally 96% of musicians had heard of the Circle of Fifths in their musical life before arriving on that page. So, almost everyone’s heard of it. And I said at the beginning of this episode that probably includes you too. Whatever kind of musician you are, you’ve probably heard that phrase, Circle of Fifths. But it turns out that the vast majority of people have tried learning it, and they didn’t really get the hang of it. So, three quarters of people hadn’t learned it to the point where they could actually do anything with it. And that, obviously, is worrying given that the Circle of Fifths comes up in every theory textbook, any music theory course, any YouTube tutorials, there’s plenty of YouTube tutorials on the Circle of Fifths, yet the vast majority of musicians can’t actually do anything with it.
Christopher: And I know that, for me, it was just in a box labeled, “How to remember key signatures,” because that’s how I first came across it, and there were sharps and flats, and they went round in a circle. That’s all I really knew. But I won’t go into the whole story. I wrote an email to go out this week about how I realized for the first time there was a bit more to it than that, but just to cut to the chase a little bit, what else came out of this survey was really the explanation for why so many musicians are interested, but have not managed to wrap their heads around it and actually do anything with it.
Christopher: And in a nutshell, it comes down to three things. The first is, it’s hard to understand, and that’s what we were really trying to tackle with our Ultimate Guide to the Circle of Fifths. We were like, “Can we explain this thing? Can we put together the theory in a way that makes sense to people?” But that’s actually only one of three problems that people have been having with it. When we asked, “What have you struggled with,” that was only one of the three things. The second was memorizing it, and a lot of people were talking about how complicated it is, and there’s so much in the diagram, and there’s so much detail, and, “I understand it, but I can’t really remember it when I’m playing my instrument.” And then the third, even worse, is coming back to what I said about key signatures there, it turns out the vast majority of people don’t know that it can be used for more than just key signatures, and even for key signatures, people struggle to really use that for anything useful.
Christopher: And so, the upshot is the Circle of Fifths has just been this oddity, and maybe that’s how you’ve related to it. I know that it was for me, this curiosity, “Okay, that’s a kind of clever little diagram. I see how it fits together.” I never did anything with it for a long time. And what emerged was that this is the picture for the vast majority of musicians out there. And it’s nuts because as we’re going to be talking about in this episode, this is not an intellectual curiosity, and it arguably shouldn’t even be pigeonholed as music theory.
Christopher: And I wanted to get together with Andrew and Anastasia because what they’ve put together in this new course, and, again, I’m not here to pitch you on the course, but it’s the reason this is so front-of-mind for us. What they’ve put together is so just polar opposite of a dry theory explanation. It’s really hammered home to us just how much potential there is in the circle for the everyday musician, the music learner who wants to be able to play freely, and improvise, and write their own music, and understand how music works. It’s all in there. But you wouldn’t guess it from looking at the average theory textbook.
Christopher: So, without further ado, I’m going to stop talking a little bit, and I’m really here to play the part of you guys, the listeners, our audience. Because, as I said for a long time, the circle for me was just this opaque curiosity. It was a diagram. That’s as much as I knew. Andrew and Anastasia have been neck-deep in the Circle of Fifths for months now, and I wanted to invite them onto the show to really get their perspective on why this matters, and maybe Anastasia you can start, start us off just by talking about, what did we do once we realized we had this ultimate guide, and so many people were interested? What got us started down this road of immersion in the Circle of Fifths?
Anastasia: Well, what we did was we essentially asked, “What have you always wondered about the Circle of Fifths,” otherwise known as, “Where are the gaps in your knowledge?” And when we got back a bunch of answers ranging from, “What is the Circle of Fifths,” to, “How can I use it to understand chords,” we saw that there was a lot of question overlap. So, a lot of people were wondering the same stuff. And, in creating a bigger guide, we sought to kind fill in those gaps, and also bridge the gap between, “here’s a Circle of Fifths, I can look at it and understand it,” and, “I can actually use the Circle of Fifths and have it be really, really applicable in my music practice.”
Christopher: Yeah. There’s that famous Steve Jobs quote about only being able to join up the dots looking backwards, and this is definitely a case of that for us, I think, where, at the time, we were just, like, “How can we do better than a simple article about the circle of fifths? We could put together a 10-day course to teach about it.” And now, in retrospect, it’s obvious what we were doing was saying, “Let’s diverge from the typical music theory that’s kind of dry and factual and leaves the musician wondering what to do about all that, and actually approach it from the musicality perspective,” and that’s what I was keen to share today.
Christopher: Whether or not you pay any attention to our course, and go off and check it out, I just want everyone listening or watching now to take away from this episode that this is not just a diagram. This is a thing you can use, and it’s a thing you can use to play and to listen and to enjoy music. And I don’t know anyone who talks more effusively about that than Andrew, so I’ll ask Andrew to weigh-in and say how this shaped up and what it’s turned into.
Andrew: Well, we started out with that ultimate guide, and then Anastasia put together, 10 Days with the Circle of Fifths, which was a wonderful course that she had put together in a PDF form. And we thought, “Now, let’s release this. What can we do to really make this sing?” And, really, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about making it sing, because it’s music. This thing is music. And, Christopher, we were talking about it, and he described it, he said, “This is the heart of how music works.” Okay? So knowing the heart of how music works, don’t you think it’s going to have some kind of effect on your musicality, on the music that you make?
Andrew: And so, we took Anastasia’s first thing and then we’d said, “Okay, how can we make this into more of an experience where it’s not just, we’re going to learn what this does, we’re not going to just memorize it, and we’re not going to do exercises on paper, we’re going to be picking up our instruments, pulling out our voices, and making this thing sing, making this thing really musical.” And so, we looked at some of the things that we’re doing on Musical U in terms of our format, like we have these modules that are called Learn Modules, where they’re informational. And then, we have another category of modules, which is Practice Modules, where you’re taking the information that you got in the Learn Modules, and you’re practicing it, you’re putting on your instrument, you’re getting physical with it.
Andrew: And then, the Apply Modules, where you’re taking this and putting it onto your music. And we take the same format and put it together with the … and really experiencing the circle fifths in this way. Okay, so one of the things that came really clear to me about one of the big peeves that people have about the Circle of Fifths looking too complicated, is that they usually see the Circle of Fifths, and it’s this multicolored diagram, it’s got a bunch of key signatures wrapping around this way and that way, it’s got major chords here, minor chords here, and it’s got all these things kind of shooting off in different directions. And they see this whole thing, and it’s like, “Yeah, it’s complicated. It looks really complicated.”
Andrew: But the truth is, all that stuff, all that stuff that’s shooting off in all these different directions, and little key signatures, and this-es and that-s, and arrows and stuff, it all just comes down to a circle with 12 points on it. Okay? That’s it. That’s where it all comes from. And if you know how to get from a circle, and making 12 points on a circle, just like you do on a clock, if you know how to get from there and experience the process of building it from there, all the way out to having all that other stuff there, and seeing how all that links together, and all that evolves one thing from another, from one step another. And if you’re doing that in a way where you’re exploring, and you’re experiencing it all the way, then memorizing it’s not going to be an issue, because it won’t be like, “I’ve got ago memorize this thing,” and … what is it? Like, elephants brag on something or other, where I’m trying to figure all these different words to memorize it.
Andrew: You’ve built the thing, you’ve made it, you know it inside out. And you’re like, “I’ve built my own house here you’re looking at. I’m still building it. I know things about this house.” Okay? I don’t know about any other house, because I built it. I got in there with my hands. I nailed the boards together. I mixed the paint that was on the wall, and I know stuff about it, and I know all the nooks and crannies of it because I built it. And so, it’s like that is a really good way to learn about this thing. And then to learn about what this thing’s going to do in your own music.
Christopher: And I’m sure the listener at this point, and our audience, that all sounds great in the abstract, but I’m sure people are curious, what does that actually mean? And I think one of the things that’s impressed me most about what you guys have put together is it’s not just lesson one, lesson two, lesson three. You must go in this order. And each lesson is a bit more complicated than the last. I don’t want to be too poetic with it, but it’s like the circle, in the sense that each module, each day, is approaching things from a different angle, and giving you a different perspective on the same material. So, even though it is sequential … Yeah, I just really love the way it gives you different insights in. And I think maybe that’s a good way for us to illustrate for people, “What does it mean to say, ‘You can experience this thing’?”
Christopher: Anastasia, maybe you can just share two or three of your favorite exercises, or angles on it, where we unpack the circle, or how people could think about it beyond just, “It’s a bunch of squiggles on a piece of paper”?
Anastasia: For sure. Something that immediately comes to mind for me, because when I was learning the circle, I did basically take the memorization route, because the way my piano teacher taught it wasn’t, I’m sad to say, particularly creative. I really do think that the fact that the circle follows a certain pattern all the way around is extremely helpful. And it does this in more ways than we know because, yes, it is complicated to look at, and there’s two rings, and there’s a bunch of key signatures wrapping around, and there’s sharps and nurse flats. And, at first, you’re not quite sure how everything works together. But I can’t pinpoint the exact exercise, I forgot where it was, but there is one that focuses in on the patterns, and just points out just how crazily interconnected the circle is, that, whether you start clockwise or counterclockwise, you see the exact same thing.
Anastasia: So, I think though it’s maybe not the most like holistic way of understanding the circle, I think just for beginners seeing that the patterns exist, and that they can derive the circle if they just go around the 12 steps doing the same thing, can be incredibly encouraging, and incredibly helpful. And then, on the flip side of that, we have an exercise where we actually have the reader build the circle themselves from the major scale. And that’s maybe one of my favorite parts of the whole course, because, in that exercise, there’s this enormous Eureka moment where you realize that, based on your knowledge of a simple major scale, and whole steps and half steps, you’ve effectively built the circle by yourself.
Anastasia: And I think in that Eureka moment there’s something really powerful where it takes it from the circle being a mere theoretic abstraction, to an actual logical manifestation of the major scale and the music theory that you already know. And it was Andrew actually that came up with that exercise of deriving a circle that’s from the major scale. And I still think it’s like so elegant, quite simple, but so brilliant. And it’s perhaps one of my favorite bits of the whole course.
Christopher: Nice. And I think from my perspective, if there was one mindset shift we wanted to send people away with today, it’s this idea that we’re not just talking about, learn the circle and memorize it, and then go off and do things with it, because that’s kind of what we’ve always tried to do, musicians throughout the decades, they’ve been like, “I understand this thing. I’ll try and memorize it, and then I’ll be able to remember the key signatures,” or, “And then I’ll know which notes I can use when improvising,” or, “Then I’ll know what chord progressions work.” The mindset shift I’d really encourage people to reach for is to shove all those things together, for lack of a more eloquent explanation. It’s not a sequential thing where you must understand it before you can memorize it, before you can use it.
Christopher: Because ultimately we’ve seen from our survey responses, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of musicians have told us that doesn’t work. So few find an explanation that clicks. And so few of those manage to actually memorize, and even fewer manage to actually use it. So, if you find yourself in that situation, it’s not just you, and it’s not your fault. And really the solution, yes, we’ve put our own unique framing on it, and I think we’re well-positioned to do so, because we specialize in musicality training, but ultimately it’s just this point that it’s not, “One, two, three. You must do it in this order,” it’s, “Let’s immerse in this thing, and experience it, and do little bits of each of those until it starts to all gel together.” And, Andrew, maybe you can talk about some parts of the course that you think people could try out, or relate to, in terms of not just looking at, or writing the circle, but actually listening to it and playing it.
Andrew: Okay. Well, one of the biggest things that makes this thing a dynamic… when you’re looking when you’re looking at this thing on paper, it’s a circle, it has 12 points on it, and with any circle, you can go one direction or you can go around the other direction. But one of the things that drives it that, one of the key secrets of the Circle of Fifths is that, when you go around one direction, it sounds different than when you will go around the other direction. So, let’s say you think of this Circle of Fifths, you’d have a C on top, and if you’re going clockwise around the circle, you’re going to go from C, to G, to D, to A. Okay?
Andrew: And if you don’t have that memorized, that’s fine. Just find one and look at it. You go around these basic numbers, forget about all the key signatures, and the minors, nothing like that, just the basic circle, the basic notes. You’re going around. And play those notes. Play here, C, G, D, A, E, B. Okay? So that’s going clockwise around the circle. All right?
Andrew: So now, go the other way. Play it the other way. We go C, F, B flat, E flat, A flat. They sound different. It sounds different going one way or another. And to get ahold of what that difference is, and what that sounds like, and what it feels like, and the different sensations that you get from going one way or going the other way. Trying to define that, trying to describe that. And there’s descriptions out there of it, but it’s like discovering it for yourself. Like what does that feel like? Just doing that alone. If you do nothing else with a Circle of Fifths, but just take those notes, and play them around in order clockwise, and play them counter-clockwise. And you never do anything, you never do a major scale, you never do a key signature, you never do an interval, you never do a chord progression. You never do anything like that. That is going to change the way you hear music. That is going to change the way you feel music.
Andrew: And that’s because the Circle of Fifths, it’s not just something that somebody dreamt up, it’s a natural law. It’s like gravity. And it’s like, we all experience gravity. We work with gravity all day, every day. Some of us are winning, some of us are losing. But we have this relationship with gravity. All right? Whether you think of it or not, you have a relationship with the Circle of Fifths already, because you hear music, you hear sounds. It’s just a law of nature. And so, you have this relationship, and just like any law of nature, if you understand a little bit more about how it works, then you can do more stuff with it. If you understand gravity, you can make a chair, or you could build a house, or you could build a rocket ship. You know?
Andrew: If you understand the Circle of Fifths a little bit better, you’re going to feel music differently, you’re going to hear music differently, even if that’s the only thing you ever do with it. And then, everything comes from that, it all comes from that. All the rest of it. It’s not two-dimensional. It exists in time, it exists in space, it exists in sound, it exists in nature. And so, the more you get into it, the more you understand that simple thing of going on one direction, going another direction, the more you’re going to have from your music, whether you’re conscious of it or not.
Andrew: Did I answer your question?
Christopher: And more. I’m really glad you hit upon that point of the relationship, because I think that’s one of these things … I don’t know. I think working on this, and I’ve only been hands off with it myself, but the two of you have been immersed, I think it’s been a bit mind blowing for all of us, because we’ve approached it from this different angle, and that’s turned out to reveal all kinds of power, and depth, and complexity, and life that I don’t know if any of us were really appreciating before going neck-deep. And what you said just there about the relationship, that’s something I would never have dreamt of. When I first encountered the circle, when I first memorized it to figure out key signatures, it was so purely factual, and logical, and mathematical. It was like, “I can either learn this or I can’t.”
Christopher: And every musician out there they can either know it, or they can’t. But, as you say, Andrew, because it is the heart of music, and because it’s something you can listen to, and play, and apply in so many different ways, each musician is going to have as unique a relationship with it as musicians themselves are unique. And, maybe, Anastasia, you can shed some light on what this could look like in practice, if we imagine, I don’t know, a guitarist, a saxophone player, and an aspiring songwriter, off the top of my head. I’m sure we have some of each of those in our audience. Maybe you can just paint a picture of, what would this do for them in their musical life if they approached it from this very different perspective?
Anastasia: What have we got? A guitarist, a saxophone, and a songwriter?
Anastasia: Okay. Sure. So, off the bat we have a monophonic instrument, the saxophone, a polyphonic instrument, the guitarist. And then, a songwriter. So, they’re all going to use the circle differently. And I think one of the coolest things about the circle is that, even though it does talk a lot about chords and chord progressions, it’s also incredibly useful for a monophonic instrument. I play the flute, not very well, but I did pick one up, and I kind of was going around the circle a little bit, and arpeggiating stuff.
Anastasia: So, first of all, the cool thing about the circle is that it can do you a lot of good even if you play a monophonic instrument, because it shows you … we were talking about relationships a little bit, and I think one of the most flooring things about the circle is just how elegantly it illustrates the relationships between notes, the relationships between keys, between chords, and between chord progressions, and it ties them all together so neatly.
Anastasia: So, off the top of my head, I’m a piano player as well. And so, I deal with chords a lot. Obviously. Whether I’m playing them in my left hand, or whether I’m kind of tinkering around with a progression to see if it sounds good. So, off the bat I can use the circle, I can read directly off the circle, to see what chords might sound good together, because what the circle does is it very conveniently groups them around the same place so that you can literally look and see a cluster of chords and know that, maybe nine times out of 10 if you play that together, it will sound good in some way.
Anastasia: And that’s amazing, because considering that when you’re starting out, for example, writing a song, you often don’t know where to start, or you have an idea in your head of, “I want a four-chord song maybe, and I want it to be upbeat, and poppy, and sound good, but I don’t know what chords to use.” Again, the circle is pretty much just there for you, waiting for you to just pick a spot on it, look at the chords around it, and you’re going to be able to come up with something pretty good, and that’s an excellent basis for songwriting, too.
Anastasia: As for, for example, a saxophone player, this is maybe something I’m less well versed in, because my primary instruments are not monophonic instruments. But, yeah, the circle, also, each point on the circle is more than one thing. It’s a key, but it’s also a note, and it’s also chord. And even monophonic instrument players deal with chords in some way, whether it’s arpeggiation, or taking a root note. So, the circle is also incredibly helpful for anyone that just plays a single note at once. Sorry, for the lack of good wording in this. So, it can also help write melodies, is what I’m saying. Because everything is five steps apart, and we know that fifths sounds good together. So, simply by looking at the circle, and by learning certain patterns on the circle, you can have a basis for writing melodies that’s more effective, and more interesting than just picking notes at random and seeing if they sound good.
Christopher: Absolutely. Anything to add to that, Andrew?
Andrew: Yes. I was thinking as you were talking about songwriting, the idea that there are, as we talk about this in terms of relationships, the stuff that’s close together on the circle is closely related. And so, it tends to harmonize better, get along better. But there’s also those more distant relations. On the other side of the circle. The ones way down the creek there. And but they’re related too, they’re just related more distantly, and you can … so let’s say if you want to write a song, and you don’t want it to sound so quite nicey-nicey, you can bring in those neighbors down the road, and see how they’re going to fit in, and you can know, “Okay, they’re not going to fit in quite, as well.” So you can create stuff … it gives you this control. If you want to create something weird, it’s like, “Okay, I can just go on to the other side of the circle. It’s going to sound weird, and I know how weird it’s going to sound. It’s going to sound just this much weird.”
Andrew: And you can experiment, because you’ve got the whole spectrum that you know, “Okay, everything in the 12-tone universe of Western music is all going to be related, or distantly related in such a way.” And then, as you were saying about for the monophonic instruments, one of the things is that harmony is something that … I’m going to backtrack just a little bit. You were saying that each station on the circle is a note. It’s a single note. It’s a chord. It’s a group of chords, it’s a key. So it’s like, this thing doesn’t just go flat, it goes deep.
Andrew: And when you’re playing any single note, there is a harmonic structure, there’s a harmonic universe that it lives in. Okay? So, even if you’re only playing one note, if you’re playing classical music, and you’re only playing one note at a time, and you’re never going to improvise, and you’re never going to do any of this stuff, but you want to understand the note you’re playing, and play it with full meaning, if you understand the depth of that note, not just, “Okay, this is the next note in my scale,” but, “This is how this note’s relating to everything else that’s going on around it,” that’s there at a glance, as you said. At a glance, in the Circle of Fifths, you can see, and feel, and hear those relationships. They’re all there. And so, it’s going to give a lot more depth and meaning to the note that you produced.
Andrew: We’ve all experienced players, and where two people can play the same music, the same notes, the same melody, the same rhythm, and it just doesn’t sound the same. And of course we attribute that to, “Oh, well this person has more of a feeling for it. They have more emotion, and stuff like that.” And that’s all true. But it also is was because this person who’s playing it is hearing and feeling this note on more depth. And that depth is there in the Circle of Fifths. It’s there when you perceive it.
Andrew: And so, yes, you can go through this thing, and if you go through and do all these exercises, and if you use it for improvisation, and use it for practicing your scales and all these things, it’s going to be an extremely useful tool to you. But the thing that’s coming more and more clear to me with this whole Circle of Fifths experience that we’ve been having, and that I’ve been having putting this together, is that this is about how I feel music. This is about the depth to which I feel music, and can feel music in which it’s penetrating into my inner most being. And then I’m bringing that out, you know?
Andrew: So, and it’s more than just an intellectual exercise, or even a conscious comprehension. It goes beyond that. And so, that’s why I’m like, “Yeah, everyone, let’s do this,” and you go out, grab a Circle of Fifths, and start playing around with it, and just how it feels, and don’t worry if you understand it, or if you know, or if you’re going to memorize it, just play around with it. And then just go on with your merry life, and it’s going to make a difference.
Christopher: Awesome. Well, I have a toddler meltdown in the background here that I have to apologize for, if that’s leaking through. But rather than have everyone wait for 10 minutes until life is okay in the three-year-old universe again, I will push on through.
Christopher: Thank you, Andrew. I think it’s just been staggering how much emotion, and feeling, and meaning has come out of approaching the circle in this way. And I think that was a fitting place to start wrapping things up, because that’s really what we wanted to send people away with today. It’s not, “Hey, go buy our course,” and it’s not, “You should learn the Circle of Fifths because it’s useful”. It’s really, “You have a relationship with music. The Circle of Fifths is right there at the heart of music, at work, in the notes, in the chords, in the scales, in the keys, whether you know it or not. So why not equip yourself with that deep understanding, so that you can relate to all of those things, both intellectually, and emotionally, and in every other way.”
Christopher: And I just hope everyone will take this episode as an inspiration and encouragement to go out there and try playing the circle, and try listening to the circle. And we’ve given you a few practical ideas there. You’ll find plenty more online, like “Circle of Fifths exercises”. There’s probably people who’ve written about that, right? Apart from just us? But, really, the key to it is to not see it in the sequential way. So, don’t think, “I need to understand this thing inside out. And then I need to memorize it, so it’s just like that. And then I can start using it for X, Y, and Z.”
Christopher: Dive in. Immerse yourself. We’ve got this new course, The Circle Mastery Experience that we’re clearly all very excited about, and that release is happening today, as we record this – no, as we air this episode. So, circlemastery.com is the place to go if you want more info about that course, in particular, or of course if you’re a member of Musical U, you’ll be hearing about it from us by email. And, yeah, any final words, Andrew, Anastasia, for people to go out there and immerse themselves in the Circle of Fifths in this new way?
Anastasia: As we were saying, there’s really no one way to use the circle. Wherever you drop the needle is good. The fact that you’re just looking at it and using it is itself great. So, start wherever. Again, you don’t have to understand all the theory behind it. I find that the understanding kind of comes the more you play around with it. So, actually, start with your instrument. Don’t even start with a piece of paper and the circle. Pick up your instrument, and pick a key, and play with the notes around it, play with the chords around it, and see what it sounds like. And the encouraging thing that you’ll find is that it’s going to sound pretty good. And just keep at it.
Andrew: Very cool. Yeah, get into it. Roll up your sleeves and get muddy. And the one thing I want to leave you with is that, it is all about relationships. I mean, you have that little tri-tone that you call the toddler dancing around in the back there, Christopher, that was definitely a distant relationship going on there, but we’re going to bring that relationship a little closer. Right? And, it’s all about relationships. The Circle of Fifths is about relationships. It’s about your relationship with music, your relationship with nature, with the natural law of music. And it’s like, getting into experiencing that relationship is where to go with that. And just like any relationship, you’ve got to dive in.
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