Circle of Fifths

Western music is based on certain harmonic patterns. The interval of a fifth is often used to ‘get around’ to new harmonic areas. One of the most common harmonic movements is going from the tonic (home key, first note of a scale) to the dominant (main away area, harmony formed on the fifth note of a scale) and then back to the tonic. While we are ‘in the dominant,’ that briefly becomes the new tonic, and we get a new dominant. For example, C Major’s dominant is G; if we move into G Major, D is the new dominant.

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