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Cycle of Fifths...


Compact Diss

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http://www.visionmusic.com/lessons/keyscycle.gif

 

In my quest to become a true Jazz player I have come across the cycle of fifths.

 

I understand to use the cycle counter-clockwise for Jazz.

 

I hear people say they practice using the cycle of fifths. I'm wondering what I should practice.

 

I think where I will begin is just by playing major/minor chords while following the cycle. I think I'm missing something though. Levine's Jazz Theory book says to "go over the II-V-I progressions in every key and memorize them"

 

I think I'm sure about it now(after reading more while posting)-but..love to hear any other opinions...

 

Thanks! :thu:

 

 

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I always remembered the order of flats by realizing that they spell the word "BEAD"...with the "G" after...

 

The sharped keys go backwards...G, and then the word "BEAD" backwards (DAEB), with the order of sharps starting at 1:00 on your cycle (or "Circle of Fifths"...how I always heard it...same difference) with "F#" and running counterclockwise.

 

At the risk of sounding like a total Bozo here...I can't say that it has more to do with jazz than any other kind of music. If anything, I would guess that jazz players might play more in the flatted keys due to the involvement of horns (rather than guitar keys, which tend to be sharp-heavy).

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I have a circle of fifths clock on my desk. It gives me a quick reference if I space out what the V chord is in the key of G for example. It also gives me a quick reference if I space out what chord I'm playing if I play a certain chord form at the fifth fret. It also gives me a quick reference for the relative minor. So, ifn I'm just strumming away makin up sh**, I sometimes glance at it a time or two. Kind of a cheat sheet until I have things down pat.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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"No Bozo's" EVH used to wear that shirt!

 

I relate the Jazz use of it from what I am reading,

 

"Jazz musicians prefer using the cycle counterclockwise because the movement from note to note (C, F, Bb, and so on), follows the roots of the II-V-I progression"

 

The II-V-I cord progression being the most common progression used by Jazz musicians according to the book.

 

:thu:

 

 

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Originally posted by Compact Diss:

[QB

The II-V-I chord progression being the most common progression used by Jazz musicians according to the book.

[/QB]

Well, that's a vast generalization, but ii-V-I is very common. Going in reverse to outline the root motion is correct. Study the termcadence in traditional harmony, and you will find a lot of information on strong root motion. ii-V-I is about as strong as it gets.
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here's an idea on how to apply cycling fifths:

 

take tunes you are working on, and actually make notes on the lead sheet where you bracket chords into key centers.

 

for instance, a tune like all the things you are, the opening 8 bars look like:

 

Fmi7, Bbmi7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dbmaj7, G7, Cmaj7

 

the first five chords are vi, ii, V, I, IV of Ab major, so you draw a bracket over the top of the lead sheet indicating Ab for that sequence...

 

then G7 and Cmaj7 are a V, I in C, so you indicate a the key of C over them...etc.

 

in other words, practice cycling through key centers using fifths, but more importantly LEARN SONGS while you do it. because it is a common movement, you'll find plenty of examples to use.

 

i just can't stress enough how important it is to apply what you learning to actual songs.

 

hope that helps, let me know if you need a better description.

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Page is right. At Bzerklee, we would diagram the chord changes with the roman numerals above the notation. On a complex song, you could then easily see whether a chord progression idea was a shifting key center, or something else, like relative modes or tritone substitutions.

 

Is that confusing enough?

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In my heavy metal band we never ride our mountain bikes if we've been drinking the hard stuff. Just beer. A fifth. Wooh, that'd give us the blind whirlies.

 

Sometimes we sit in a circle and pass the bottle though.

 

PS: power cords R00L! That's why we still pay homage to AC/DC.

.
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Originally posted by Compact Diss:

... I relate the Jazz use of it from what I am reading,

 

"Jazz musicians prefer using the cycle counterclockwise because the movement from note to note (C, F, Bb, and so on), follows the roots of the II-V-I progression"...

 

:thu:

Hmmm. I'm not seeing the roots of II-V-I when reading counterclockwise. But I do see it when moving clockwise. Reading C,F,Bb (clockwise), you can see C-7, F7, Bbmaj7 ... II-V-I in B flat. Doesn't work counterclockwise ... am I missing something? :confused:
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Thanks for pointing that out Steevo.

 

If you are constructing a chord sequence, you would go in reverse to find out where you are coming from. :D I mean, if you want to build a cadence that ends on any given chord, go in reverse to find your ii-V. And then ignore those and try something else. :D

 

And another thing you can do is, on a tune that uses substitutions on the cadence, you can probably still play scales related to the relevant ii-V and be OK, because the substitutions are supposed to have something to do with the chord they replace.

 

For example, take the common Cmin7-F7-Bbmaj7. A common substitution for the dominant chord (F7)is a flat two min7b5, in this case Bmin7b5, which utilizes the same tritone. If you are new to these ideas, and you see a chord sheet that shows the flat 2 substitution, instead of going :eek: you would check your cycle of fifths, and see that the implied cadence is F7, and play your same old F7 melodic tools.

 

------------------------------------------------

You can also build out extended ii-V progressions to re-harmonize a boring song. Classic "rhythm changes" are I-vi-ii-V - more bebop songs than you can believe start there. In the key of C, its Cmaj7-Amin7-Dmin7-G7, and back to Cmaj7. If you have a standard that repeats those chords ad nauseum, you can work backwards, and extend ii-V relationships towards the final cadence. The ii-V leading to D is Emin7-A7. The ii-V leading to E is F#min7-B7. This is extended ii-V cadence is a primary tool in building "Satin Doll", which I was practicing last night.

 

Sorry to babble on so long :wave:

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man i need to read this again to let it sink in.

hey guys can i come to your house?

hey Funk Jazz nice to see you back. what would be cool is if someone could post a little tune that we could use to work this stuff out. any takers?

i really need to get serious with my playing.

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Hey FunkJazz nice to see you back!!! :wave:

 

Compact Diss

This is how I practiced the cycle clockwise:

C 032010

F 133211

Bb x13331

Eb 3x134x or xx1343

Ab 431114

 

Db 143121

Gb 244322

B x24442

E 4x245x

A 542225

 

D 254232

G 355433

C x35553....

And so on as far as you can get down the fretboard. Notice you just repeat patterns every five chords, one fret lower. You can also do this with minor chords.. If you spell out the names of the notes you end up learning both the chords and the order of tonalities in the cycle.

I agree with what's been said about applying the concept to actual songs... I'm still trying to do that :)

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Thanks, FJ- and, thanks, CD, for bringing this up- for pointing out what should have been obvious to me: that is, using this to figure out what's going on in a given piece of music.

 

A while back, when wanting to come up with a solo guitar arrangement of Tom Wait's "The Nickel" (from Heart Attack & Vine), my ear and my brain got kinda dizzy from the string-section "turnaround" (for lack of a better term). This approach may well have helped me preserve both the flavor and my sanity! (Yeah, right...) :freak:;):D

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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"For example, take the common Cmin7-F7-Bbmaj7. A common substitution for the dominant chord (F7)is a flat two min7b5, in this case Bmin7b5, which utilizes the same tritone."

 

Hey I'm loving this thread... Billster I don't see how Bmin7b5 shares a tritone with F7. Isn't the initial substitution B7, which has a tritone, for F7, and then another substitution of B7 for Bmin7b5, somehow implying the B7#9b5 sound? :confused:

 

....

I'm dizzy I'm going to bed now... :bor:

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

what would be cool is if someone could post a little tune that we could use to work this stuff out. any takers?.

Hi Guitarzan,

 

FunkJazz mentioned All the things you are as being a good example. I recorded a set of really short (& very sloppy) clips to try and illustrate one possible approach to learn to play over these kinds of changes.

 

The first example is using just straight arpeggios over each chord. (R-3-5-7): Examp le 1 - Arpeggios

 

The 2nd example is just playing major scales over the tonal centers, as described by FunkJazz. For the first 5 bars I play the Ab major scale, the next 4 I play C major, followed by Eb major for the next 5, and ending in G major: Example 2 - Major Scales

 

                        Tonal Centers


+------------------Ab Major ---------+-----C Major----------+
|Fm7  |Bbm7  |Eb7  |Abmaj7  |Dbmaj7  |Dm7 G7  |Cmaj7| Cmaj7 |          



+------------------Eb Major ---------+----G Major-----------+
|Cm7  |Fm7  |Bb7  |Ebmaj7   |AbMaj7  |Am7  D7  |Gmaj7|Gmaj7 |

 

The 3rd example is kind of a mix of the first 2, trying to make it a little more musical: Example 3 - Scales & Arpeggios

 

Hope this is helpful

 

Paul

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

 

By all means memorize the cycle of fifths. Play through them often. Also ii-V-I changes in every key. Learn every possible permutation of "Satin Doll".

 

Just be aware that if you do it too much you'll wind up sounding like every bop-wannabe tool ever puked up by Berklee (no offense, Billster; I'm sure you know what I mean).

 

"But I don't want a foundation. I want to sound like Albert King." - Ronnie Earl to his first guitar teacher.

 

 

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Yeah, the trap for the jazzbo is to assimilate all that has gone before, but not to have found something beyond all that. Those harmonic concepts are mighty compelling, but they are only rules for the things they are rules for. They are not absolutes. Good things to know, for sure.
.
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Nobody seems to have pointed out what Steevo noticed there... the so-called Cycle of Fifths is most often found in theory books with the clockwise direction being ascending fifths -- C->G->D etc, in the clockwise direction. When Compact Diss said, "I understand to use the cycle counter-clockwise for Jazz," he was right for the most-commonly-seen form of the Circle. But the one he posted has been written the other way -- with the motion of descending fifths (or ascending fourths) shown clockwise. It's pretty arbitrary, and since common root motion in musical form so often goes in descending fifths and most people think of clockwise as the "natural" way to follow around a circle, it really makes musch sense to represent it this way. But of course then you get people talking about following the cycle in a counterclockwise direction confusing the poor folks that are looking at a Circle that's "backwards" from the more commonly-seen form.
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Hey Alchuck it's true, I had'nt noticed that.

You usually go through the cycle in the subdominant direction, so the circle CD posted seemed correct.

The most common cycle we're used to seeing is the other way round since it's used to change tonalities and key signatures. It makes sense that when you change to another tonality by raising a fifth, you should do it to the right, or clockwise since you're adding a sharp (or taking out a flat), and viceversa.

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http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:3Xn42CVdtc0J:hometown.aol.com/comp109hu/images/pic%2520broken%2520world%2520depressed%2520woman.jpg

 

Have I ever mentioned how smart you guys are?

 

Ok, I'm happy I opened a bag of worms here but...

I'm at work, I'll have to check in later, a great response here as usual.

 

Thanks Everyone! :thu:

 

 

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Originally posted by hariseldon:

 

Hey I'm loving this thread... Billster I don't see how Bmin7b5 shares a tritone with F7. Isn't the initial substitution B7, which has a tritone, for F7, and then another substitution of B7 for Bmin7b5, somehow implying the B7#9b5 sound? :confused:

OK, I brain locked. :( The same tritone in F7 appears in the Amin7b5.

 

The tritone in an F7 chord is between the 3rd & 7th (A and Eb) the tritone in Bmin7b5 is between the root & 5th (B and F). But it's still a common substitution - play it Cmin7-Bmin7b5-Bbmaj7 :wave: I know what you mean about those guys that play 32 bars of swing 8th scales, and never once hear a melody :mad:

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Originally posted by billster:

...Chad: No offense :wave: I know what you mean about those guys that play 32 bars of swing 8th scales, and never once hear a melody :mad: ...

When I was at Berklee (yup, I know whereof I speak), on one of the practice room walls someone had written in Magic Marker, "Bird lives!". Underneath somebody else had responded, "No, he's dead alright..."

 

 

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You know, I never found pneumonic devices, like BEAD or whatever, helpful. My geology teacher tried to get us to memorize the geologic time scale that way, and it just never did me any good. I figure if I write it out more than three times and it hasn't sunk in, I'm doing something wrong. That method usually works.

 

The best way I found to memorize the fifths (or anything for that matter) is through relations. I remember C to G because that was the classic band example back in 7th grade. And from there, I just tack on others, thinking about every third space/line. Worked so far.

Shut up and play.
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