How to use the Circle of Fifths

November 28, 2017

How to use the Circle of Fifths

Have you tried to sing a song and noticed that it’s either too high or too low for your vocal range?

Let’s say, for example, the song that you want to learn starts with the C chord. You find out that the vocal range for the C chord is a bit too high for you to sing. What should you do next?

Maybe you can try to stretch your lungs out singing those high notes…

Well, fortunately, there’s a musical chart that you can use to help you out with arranging those notes so that you can find a reasonable pitch for your vocal range.

Circle Of Fifths

Circle of Fifths Chard

Circle of Fifths is a musical theory used by many musicians. It is applicable to any musical instruments but today, we will use it to practice your Ukulele skills.

This theory can be scary and a little complicated to discuss but we’re going to make it simple and more practical so that you can easily implement it in learning the Ukulele chords.

So how does it work?

Circle of Fifths in layman’s term is simply the correlation between notes or chords.

If you take a look at the chart, you will find that it shows chords in the musical interval of 5th. A 5th is simply the notes around the major scale (do re mi fa so). This arrangement makes the chart easily understood and incredibly useful.

For this lesson, we will discuss two practical ways to implement the Circle of Fifths when you practice Ukulele chords.

Look for chords that compliment each other.

Try to use the I-IV-V progression. Let’s say, for example, the C chord. We can look at all the chords that sit next to C. Going clockwise around the circle, you will see G and on the other side is F. These chords on both sides will fit well with the C chord. So basically the pattern will be C-F-G (I-IV-V chord progression in the key of C).

Chord progression

This pattern is incredibly very common chord progression among popular songs and you will hear it most of the time without even realizing it.

Now, if you decide to play I-IV-V chord progression in the key of A, you can simply implement the same technique with the A chord.

Following the same method, the progression of A chord will be A-D-E.

circle of fifths

What’s good about this is that it is not only limited to I-IV-V pattern. As a rule of thumb, any chords that sit closely together within the circle will sound great. You can go ahead and experiment with other chords, see if the chord progression suits your taste. Of course, there’s some exception to it but it is a good starting point.

Transpose a song.

This method is very useful especially if the song you are trying to sing doesn’t fit well with your vocal range.

How do you implement Circle of Fifth?

Well, let’s say you have a song with the following chord progression: Am-F-G-C.

Circle of Fifths Transpose

You decide that you are not comfortable with that key and you want to sing the song starting with Dm instead of the original key of Am. What should you do next?

Simply follow the progression in the Circle of Fifth and replicate the pattern of the chords from the original Key. For this example, You moved from Am to Dm. Looking at the chart, your chord progression in the Dm key will be Dm-Bb-C-F.

Circle of fifths transpose

And Voila! You’ve just transposed a song!

CONCLUSION

Circle of Fifths is a good starting point if you are still unfamiliar with the chord progression. It will serve as a guide to help you keep those chords blend together.

So there you have it. You just made your life easier by adding Circle of Fifths in your arsenal.

Keep practicing!





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Cheap vs Expensive Ukuleles: What’s The Difference?
Cheap vs Expensive Ukuleles: What’s The Difference?

July 09, 2020

Are you wondering what the differences are between a cheap ukulele and a moderately priced ukulele (we’ll skip the uber-expensive ones for now)? Is it worth the increase in price, or should you start with something cheap? That’s exactly what I want to talk about today. How to find the best ukulele for you at the best value. Emphasis on value. More on that in a bit.

View full article →

How To Play
How To Play "You Are My Sunshine" On Ukulele

June 30, 2020

One of the classics that is quite popular is the song, “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s a happy song that we think has a great melody to play on the ukulele. Popularized by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939, this song has been declared as one of the state songs of Louisiana, USA because of its association with Davis.

View full article →

When Should You Change Ukulele Strings?
When Should You Change Ukulele Strings?

June 23, 2020

Pop quiz: When was the last time you changed the strings on your ukulele? Do they need to be changed now? If not, when do they need to be changed? Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer! That’s exactly why we’re here today. For beginner and even intermediate ukulele players, this is a big question. After all, unlike batteries that just stop working, strings can last a really long time.

View full article →