The Cycle Of 5ths

Meet the Cycle of 5ths and learn about Perfect 5th.

View the full lesson at The Cycle Of 5ths | JustinGuitar

I just realized that if you still have the Common Triad Chords memorized, then you already know a good portion of the cycle of 5ths. Just ignore the middle note.

C Major - C(E)G
D Major - D(F#)A
E Major - E(G#)B
F Major - F(A)C
G Major - G(B)D
A Major - A(C#)E
B Major - B(D#)F#

@Fncanuk I think it is wonderful when people spontaneously connect things together and begin seeing larger, overlapping, intertwining pictures.
You’re spot on.
One note of caution, a little ‘yes, but’ is that you don’t get the order of the cycle / circle of 5ths from following an alphabetical order of triads (with their roots and fifths) as you have listed.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

1 Like

What’s a simple explanation to this? Im really confused with the entire thing :frowning:

I think this example is a bit confusing. Rather than going up in fifths, what Justin is doing is going down a fourth(C->G), then up a fifth (G->D), then down a fourth (D->A) and so on. I think this might confuse some folks.

It’s done for the sake of convenience and for the demonstration of the notes. One whole lap around the cycle of 5ths equals 7 octaves which is way out of the guitar’s range.

Good point, I didn’t think about it. But I still think that when teaching that by playing 3rd fret of 5th string and then 3rd fret of 6th string (C to G), is moving in the cycle of fifths, there is the danger that the learner thinks that this movement is fifth, when in fact it is a fourth.

@jkorvola C to G is a 5th G to C is a 4th D to A is also a 5th A to D is a 4th. So Justin is going up in 5th. If you go around the circle of 5th counter clockwise it becomes the circle of 4ths.

@Jozsef It’s not done for convenience this is how the fretboard is laid out. A 5th is always directly above the root it also and over two frets and down one string.

And a 4th is always below the root. Adjust for the B string.:sunglasses:

C to G is a fifth when ascending (going higher in pitch). C to G is a fourth when descending (going lower in pitch). Piano/keyboard is a great way to see this. G to C descending is a fifth, which makes sense because if you are playing C4->G4->C4, you are first going up a fifth and then back down a fifth.

When going clockwise in cycle of fifths the intervals can be seen as ascending fifths or descending fourths. When going counterclockwise the intervals can be seen as ascending fourths or descending fifths.

Yes, I know that too. What I meant was that if you start playing the cycle of 5ths in the order of ascending pitches, you will not be able to complete one cycle on the guitar.

@jkorvola C to G is always a 5th, doesn’t matter which way you go ascending or descending the fact is in the Key of C the note G is the 5th degree of the scale it does not change because you go the other way.
So what you saying is that if you play a I IV V in the Key of C the F(IV) and the G(V) are not the IV and V of the key of C because the root note on both chords are on the E string and the Root for the C in on the A string. This is simply not true. The F and G are always the IV and V interval of C Take a look at this fret board diagram and you’ll see what I’m saying.

1 Like

This is true and accurate.
Intervals are not measured or defined within the context of any key, they are just two notes sitting in their abstract world having an intervallic relationship with one another.

1 Like

This is totally irreverent and does not change the fact that G is the 5th of C and using the Circle of 5th which this thread is about does not change the G to the 4th of C just because it is lower in pitch. Changing Scales from C to G changes C to the 4th of G.

In the exercise Justin is starting on the note C and going to the Note G the 5th of C then from G to D the 5th of G then from D to A the 5th of D and so on.
If Justin was going to the 4th of C like Juho is suggesting he would be going to the not F.

I was talking about intervals, not scale degrees or chords in a key. Circle of fifths has many different applications, one of them being that you move in fifths or fourths around the circle (intervals).

The fact is that when you descend from C to G, the sound you are making is interval fourth.

If you dont believe me, check lesson 5.1 Diatonic Intervals: Perfect | , where is for example text:

The Interval of a 4th is an inverted 5th:
C to G ascending is a 5th (C, D, E, F, G)
C to G descending is a 4th (C, B, A, G)

The Circle Of 5th works off Scale Degrees.

Which still does not make the G the 4th of C. C is the 4th of G

This does not Change the fact that the note G in the context of the Circle of 5th is the 5th of C. Do you agree that a major Chord is Made up of the Root 3rd and 5th? Using you example of a piano only 1 of these chord would be a C major because the G note is higher in pitch in only 1 of them. Yet all 3 chords are C major chords.

Using Richards example the G is still the 5th of C doesn’t matter how many semitones you count.

I am talking about intervals and you are talking about scale degrees, so we will never agree, because we are talking about two different things.

And yes in key of C, G is the fifth degree.

Usually with piano in addition of the chord you showed, you play the root note of the chord with left hand, so that the root note will be the lowest note.

I’m talking about the Circle of 5th which is made from Scale Degrees and in the lesson Justin is also talking about the Circle of 5th and in the context of the lesson C to G is a 5th. Doesn’t matter if you are going up or down in pitch.

You can see where the confusion come in. Going Down a 4th using the Circle of 5th would be C to F or G to C.

Circle of fifths build from scale degrees is your interpretation of circle of fifths.

I would argue that more commonly circle of fifths is seen as representation of all 12 notes as ascending fifth intervals when going clockwise.

I mean Justin even says this very clearly in the video from 0:28->0:45.

Ascending fifth intervals you say. Where do you suppose these 5th intervals come from?
Could it be the Diatonic Scales associated with each note in the circle.

The reason the circle of 5th is laid out the way it is has nothing to do with 5th or 4th. It is laid out for the number of sharps and flats in a Diatonic Major Scale. C has no Sharps or Flats G has 1sharp D has 2 sharps A has 3 sharps and so on. Going the other way C has no sharps or flats F has 1 Flat Bb has 2 flats Eb has 3 flats and so on.