top of page

Circle of Fifths Book 1

It has been almost a year since I passed the MA (Mus)(Open) with the dissertation that you can read on this link.

At the time I was quite confused with some of the markers comments however they opened the door to a lot more research, an interest in astro-physics, (watching Big-Bang theory was a side shoot) and a deep dive into some ancient faiths. I have learnt a lot more about the Circle of Fifths and I know there is much more to learn and I wonder, as many musicians have over the centuries, about the connection to the secret chord mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and in Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Over this year I have studied more about research, the circle and enrolled on a second masters degree. Certainly a good year and to top it off I have published my first book on the Circle of Fifths. I have been using this method to teach the concept to my students for almost two years now and it is the result of my initial interest. I remember setting it out on the floor at home while watching Kingsman one Saturday night when i first realised it was a spiral moving from double flats to double sharps, but that is another volume.

This initial book commences at C flat major, not a popular key but bear with me it will make sense, and moves through to C sharp major in fifteen steps and one, repeating, action. I have called it The Journey of the Seventh and it is now available from Amazon on this link.



The Circle of Fifths is traditionally taught by sharpening the seventh going up and flattening the fourth going down. This difference, above anything, suggested that C major was the incorrect starting place.

Music is a natural phenomenon, it is in the planets that orbit our sun (Bank and Scafetta, 2022). Being inbuilt into the structure of the universe there had to be an easier way to explain why the sharps are in the order shown on the music? This is where my research started. If it were nature based, then C major had to be midway through a process, not the start of the process. After a little time, I discovered, as many have before me, that the concepts of fifths and fourths hid the journey of the seventh, which is where the changes happened. There are many sevens in the world that play a significant role. There are seven colours in a rainbow, seven different crystal systems and seven planets, the list is extensive as can be seen on the internet (Wikipedia, 2023).

An equally tempered semitone is a one hundred cents. This is the distance between two adjacent frets on a guitar or notes on a piano.

Looking at the sharps side of the circle. C major has no altered notes. The next scale requires the last four notes of C major as the first part of the scale, the second part of the scale starts of the next note, two semitones away from C and follows the same pattern, a tone, a tone, and then a semitone. This is made possible by raising the new seventh note by a semitone to F sharp.

The process repeats until all notes are sharps. The flats, as so many students are heard saying, are harder.

Starting at C flat major, a less than popular key, all the notes are flat. When you raise the starting note a fifth to reach G and apply the same logic that happens to the sharp scale side of the circle, by raising the seventh note a semitone, you introduce an F natural. Continue this sequence, as seen on the charts in this book, you will, after seven lines, arrive at all naturals.

The only action completed on each line is to raise the seventh note a semitone, and every occurrence after that until all are in the new position. Having been raised, it remains in the new state.

This seems too good to be true, instead of adding flats or semitones lower, all that was needed was to raise flats a semitone and add naturals.

Start on the ground floor, we will call it level 1, and climb one step at a time, each step is the interval of a fifth, on a spiral staircase. Each step raises the seventh note, and each future time occurrence, a semitone. The destination is level 2, where all notes are now naturals. Ready to repeat the journey to level 3?

Level one is all flats, level two is all naturals and level three is all sharps. One step at a time the journey raises the seventh pitches by a semitone each step is a new major key with the seventh note always rising in the order F, C, G, D, A, E and B, from flats to naturals and then on to sharps.


Experience the journey and learn all the scales in one go. Order your copy today for just £5.00


Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

bottom of page