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Circle of Fifths Video Series. Episode 2

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Hi my name is Chris from Chris at the Piano and from Music Academy Hub thank you for joining me. This is episode TWO of our series on the Circle of Fifths, after the last episode we worked out that C major had no sharps and no flats, and that G major, which was five notes higher than C, had one sharp f. We left you with the question: which note are we starting with the first scale in episode two? well it would be the fifth note of G major so if we count up G, A, B, C, D, we need to start on d so we'll draw our treble clef, I am trying to press a little bit harder with the chalk this time so i hope you can see the notes clearly, We'll start with D, E, F, G, A, B and the seventh note C then finally the D to finish the scale.

In G major we had one sharp F, so we need to bring that sharp forward to this scale, there we go, the F sharp is in place.

In episode one we spoke about tetrachords which are the first four notes and the last four notes of the scale. The tetrachord that starts D major is D, E, F sharp and G, this is the tetrachord that ended the previous scale of G major. This is why we have the F sharp carried forward the second tetrachord.

Let’s look at this one first so A to B should be a tone, if we look on the keyboard A to B is a tone because there is the B flat in the middle.

B to C should be a tone looking at B to C there's no note in the middle here so that is a semitone so we need to look at this interval.

The interval of C to D should be a semitone but when we look at the keyboard we can see there's a note in the middle so that's a tone.

We're going to have to adjust that too, so to adjust both these intervals we need to look at the note that's common to both intervals which is the C. If we raise the C to a C sharp the B to the C sharp becomes a tone because the C is in the middle.

The C sharp to D becomes a semitone because there is no note in the middle.

We can safely say that by adding that C sharp we've made this top tetrachord correct our semitones between seven and eight and now in position we already have the semitone here between notes three and four because that was seven and eight on the previous scale.

Between the two tetrachords the G to the A should be a tone, so let's just check that G to A well the G sharp or the A flat is in the middle so that's definitely a tone.

In the last video we put forward the suggestion that the new sharp is on the seventh note of the scale. We can see here that it is so if we write that down the new sharp for this scale is on the seventh note.

We will check that on the next scale, what will the next scale be starting on? It starts on the fifth note or the dominant note of the scale so if D is the tonic, one two three four five A is the dominant.

Let's draw the treble clef on the next line and add our first note which is now A.

In the scale there is one of every note, and then the first note is repeated at the end so A, B, C, D, E, F, G and a little ledger line for A because we've run out of lines. We draw our first line there and the A is in place.

The last tetrachord is the first tetrachord of the next scale so A, B, C sharp D is what we need here, we've got A, B, C, D, now let's put in the C sharp, that now makes this tetrachord correct with the semitone bracket to mark the semitones. We still need to add the F-sharp which is from G major, the first one we looked at, so we'll put the F-sharp in there.

The new sharp is the seventh note, well the seventh note is the one before the last so let's put that one in. Now we'll check our last tetrachord and see if it's correct E to F sharp should be a tone so look on the keyboard E to F sharp there is F in the middle so that's a tone.

F sharp to G sharp should be a tone, well F sharp on the keyboard to G sharp has G in the middle so that is definitely a tone.

G sharp to A should be a semitone with no notes in the middle well G sharp to A definitely no note there, and that is therefore a semitone.

We can say that the new sharp is the seventh note of the scale.

We'll look at that next time, so the fifth note of the scale is the starting note for the next scale and then the seventh note is the new sharp but we need to remember to include all the sharps that came before.

Let's add those to our circle first off we'll add D major we carry forward the F sharp and then we add the sharp from the seventh note. D the letter before D is C so we'll add the C sharp then five onto D brings us to A which was the dominant of D. We carry the F sharp forward, bring the C sharp forward and add the seventh note of A which is the letter name before A. In the musical alphabet that's a G sharp and that makes our key signature correct.

The website and all the details are in the description below you can find a link to the worksheets for episode 2, these go through everything we've spoken about here. There are some comprehension questions on page two to ensure that you understand it then we write out the scale of D major in the treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs and the A major scale in treble, bass, alto and tenor clefs.

If you have problems with the alto and tenor clefs there will be a video made after this series discussing how notes move in those clefs.

Finally a question before episode three, we need to start the next scale on which note is it a B, C sharp D or E? Which note is the dominant note of A major? Which starts our next scale?

Thank you for joining me today; if this has been helpful please like and subscribe to the channel this video is available on three channels Chris at the Piano, Music Academy Stalybridge and Music Academy Hub. Check out our website for more details of the other courses available thank you for joining me see you next time bye for now.

Listen to the transcript on Anchor FM

Buy the worksheet on this LINK


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

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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