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Gary Jugert
04-05-2009, 04:34 PM
I don't know why I never posted this for the group. Here's a circle of fifths specifically for the ukulele you can print out and keep in your songwriters notebook. Should save you a lot of time and allow you to write in keys you never think about.

http://www.mammothgardens.com/uke/UkuleleCircleofFifths.jpg

http://www.mammothgardens.com/uke/UkuleleCircleofFifths.jpg

UKISOCIETY
04-05-2009, 04:52 PM
This is great! Thanks!

But what do all those black lines and red dots mean?

JT_Ukes
04-05-2009, 05:29 PM
What does it all mean?

How would one use this chart.

Seriously

JT

salukulady
04-05-2009, 06:05 PM
TMI.......seen this before, just makes my head hurt.....sounds like "blah, blah, blah, blah" to my little brain.....and yes, I can read music.

Gary Jugert
04-07-2009, 03:47 AM
Don't freak out. The circle of fifths puts (almost) everything a songwriter needs to know on one page ... so while it looks like a brain splitting scary thing, it's actually "everything you need to know about music theory, but really hoped you'd be able to avoid."

If you're writing a song, you don't need to know every chord in the Ukulele Chord Book. You only need these basic chords and your lovely voice.

I'm still trying to find time to make some videos, but here's the basics. If you want to write a song in the key of C ... you can use any of the chords that touch "C" on the circle of fifths (namely F, G, and Am). You'll also get away with using Dm and Em. The further you go away from your main key around the circle, the more difficulty you'll find in making your chords sound "right."

Grab your favorite song by anybody and there's a pretty high chance that every chord in the song will fit on this chart in a little clump around the main key of the song.

If the song you're hoping to write sounds better in Eb, then you just roll around on the circle of fifths and use the chords touching the Eb piece of the pie. Many ukulele songwriters don't use this chart (possibly because they haven't taken formal lessons) and this chart has the potential to speed up your songwriting and also to help you expand your songwriting tools.

Yopparai
04-07-2009, 04:07 AM
Yep, All about the I, IV, V.
Actually helps me a lot, as I played guitar for ages and I am only just beginning to be able to make my fingers form a guitar "C" shape and have my brain say "F"

Mctrmt has a nifty video about making a wheel thats pretty sweet too.

UKISOCIETY
04-07-2009, 04:16 AM
Mctrmt has a nifty video about making a wheel thats pretty sweet too.

Oh, her. I hear she only posts on Fridays now.

khrome
04-07-2009, 07:35 AM
It's demonic!! Don't look at it! If you play the notes in order five times around the circle counter-clockwise, you will invoke the Spirit of the Pineapple Sunday and it will trap you in it's soundhole for all eternity!!

beeejums
04-07-2009, 07:51 AM
Why is that poor elephant/mammoth trapped in the middle?

I want to rescue him.

(this is great, thanks!)

khrome
04-07-2009, 08:03 AM
Why is that poor elephant/mammoth trapped in the middle?

I want to rescue him.

(this is great, thanks!)

SoPS got him! (see my post.)

beeejums
04-07-2009, 08:07 AM
SoPS got him! (see my post.)

Oh dear...

Maybe I shouldn't be messing with the dark paraphenelia of music theory...

Gary Jugert
04-08-2009, 04:12 PM
Oh dear...
Maybe I shouldn't be messing with the dark paraphenelia of music theory...

Fear not grasshopper, the voodoo of music theory only hurts those who resist. And that, as we know, is futile. You will end up following the rules of western music even if you don't follow no damn rools.

Don't worry about the little mastodon, he knows that bad ole chart will keep him safe.

GrumpyCoyote
04-08-2009, 08:12 PM
Fear not grasshopper, the voodoo of music theory only hurts those who resist. And that, as we know, is futile. You will end up following the rules of western music even if you don't follow no damn rools.

Don't worry about the little mastodon, he knows that bad ole chart will keep him safe.

You kick ass - this is exactly the type of cheat sheet I have been looking for! Thanks for posting it.:shaka:

russ_buss
04-08-2009, 08:18 PM
this is an excellent resource! thanks for sharing Gary!:bowdown:

Ukulele JJ
04-09-2009, 01:37 AM
This is a cool resource. Thanks!

I've been (on and off) working on something a bit similar, actually. Mine's a lot more stripped down though--basically a simple chord chart that happens to be arranged in a circle of fifths instead of "alphabetical" order (none of the key signature and relative minor stuff... or mastadons). If I ever get around to finishing it, I'll post it too.

JJ

nukealaily
04-14-2009, 04:05 PM
hi

i think it may be wrong !

in the sections designated for the keys ( c , g , d , a , e , etc ) every key seems to have a dominant seventh . thats all well and good but i thought that the best dominant seventh for C major would be G7 ( not C7 as that is in a different key) , G major would have D7 , D major would have A7 etc . thats what the circle of fifths is all about isnt it ?



circle of 5ths

c is the starting key as it has no sharps or flats. count five from C - cdefG - so G major is your next key - now the notes are GABCDEFG - the leading note ( the 7th in the scale has to be sharpened to allow the scale to be regular major , so G A B C D E F# G is the new key .

count five from G

GABCD

D is the new key - sharpen the 7th - DEF#GABC#D

whats next ?

that the way i see the circle of 5ths - id obviosly like to know more - so if anyone knows anything .......... :)


circle of fourths works in a similar way .

Spooner
04-14-2009, 04:44 PM
Yeah...this is totally awesome!

..but the elephant keeps telling me "to do things." :eek:

Gary Jugert
04-15-2009, 05:32 AM
You're absolutely right that the dominant 7th chords shown aren't typically a part of a circle of fifths layout.

But as a songwriter, you know that you're going to use them. I placed them onto this circle of fifths so I wouldn't have to go look up the fingering for Ab7 or other less-used 7th chords.

In other words, I added the fingerings for the 7ths because I'm lazy ... AND because you can almost always replace the fifth of your key with a fifth in the dominant 7th.

If your song is in C, you'll likely be playing C, F, Am, and G (or G7). I put the G7 fingering next to the G so it's easy to find and can substitute if my song needs it. And my songs need all the help they can get. :)

bbycrts
04-20-2009, 08:17 PM
This is stuff my instructor gave me as homework...if he catches me with this printed out I'm in trouble... (file...print...)

Jacman Rasta Bicycle
04-21-2009, 09:48 AM
thanks, Gary. i'm gonna get it laminated and put it in my notebook. :music:

Gary Jugert
04-22-2009, 03:22 AM
The other day I decided to try one of my ukulele songs on my guitar (yuck). I couldn't remember how to form a couple of chords and I hate my "ultimate guitar chord chart" because it's loaded with chords I'll never use. I did an image search on Google to see if I could find a circle of fifths for guitar like the one we have here. I looked around the internet for awhile but never found one with chord charts. I guess that'll be my next project. On a lark, I decided to type in Ukulele Circle of Fifths as an image search and sure enough good ole Ukulele Underground shows up first. Ukulele composers from around the world have to come to us for the goods. :)

Glad you find it helpful Superfly. Hope you don't get in trouble with your instructor bbycrts!!

gheepn
04-24-2009, 07:43 AM
That is a great tool. Love the mammoth:uhoh:

lazybees
04-25-2009, 04:28 AM
THX for the effort you put in on this. Lots of guitar info out there, but I've never run into a Uke Circle. Great job.

Gary Jugert
06-29-2009, 10:04 AM
I changed the Db markings to C# since it made a little more sense that way. Everything else is the same. I've been using this to teach ukulele to some friends and it seems to be a good tool. Back to working on 9th, 11ths and 13ths.

janeray1940
04-30-2011, 03:16 PM
Giving this old thread a bump because there are probably a lot of folks here who haven't seen it. I've spent the day somewhat immersed in the circle of fifths and was looking for a nice one to print out - and here it is :)

SweetWaterBlue
04-30-2011, 05:21 PM
All that seems pretty simple to use, but what about those other "weird" chords not on the the chart? Is there some simple way to know when to use them?

Here is an example. I am looking at the sheet music for "Imagine" in the key of G. first few notes and chords are:


G Gmaj7 C
-------------------------
--------2-2----0---------
2-2-2-2------------------
------------------------

The Gmaj7 chord isn't on the simple circle of fifths chart. I suppose you could just keep playing the G until you get to the C, but it sure sounds better with the Gmaj7 when you play those two F# notes.

janeray1940
04-30-2011, 05:42 PM
All that seems pretty simple to use, but what about those other "weird" chords not on the the chart? Is there some simple way to know when to use them?

Hopefully someone with a stronger understanding of theory can weigh in on this, but - from what I learned today, if I am understanding correctly, there isn't one single "correct" way to know when to use them. The chart includes major, minor, and 7ths which are probably the most common, but you can also sub 6ths, 9ths, 13ths, diminished, etc. if they sound right.

Ummmm. I think. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong!

SweetWaterBlue
04-30-2011, 06:13 PM
I did find an interesting conversation on Major Seventh chords on a guitar forum Here (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tab-tips-theory-technique/205928-where-use-maj-7-chords-diminished.html) . Some notable quotes from there included:

Use Maj7 chords when being sensitive.
They're the best for meeting girls.
Dim chords are OK, but not quite as good.
If you use BOTH at a gig, charge extra.
Chords like that don't come cheap.

and

About 30 years ago (yikes), I was on a country recording session with steel guitar great Jimmy Day.
I had just learned a few "jazz" chords and was eager to show them off.
Jimmy told me "There's no major 7ths in country music".

Ooops. Sorry to hijack the thread - back to the circle of 5ths.

janeray1940
04-30-2011, 06:30 PM
Use Maj7 chords when being sensitive.
They're the best for meeting girls.
Dim chords are OK, but not quite as good.
If you use BOTH at a gig, charge extra.
Chords like that don't come cheap.


I had to click over to that forum because it seemed that it could be entertaining reading... it was :)

Dougf
05-02-2011, 06:23 AM
Hopefully someone with a stronger understanding of theory can weigh in on this, but - from what I learned today, if I am understanding correctly, there isn't one single "correct" way to know when to use them. The chart includes major, minor, and 7ths which are probably the most common, but you can also sub 6ths, 9ths, 13ths, diminished, etc. if they sound right.

Ummmm. I think. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong!

I'm no expert on theory either, but I think you're certainly correct that what really matters is if it sounds right.

One of my songs uses a modified circle of fifths, where I start off on Bbmaj7, and then descend through the circle mostly using minor sevenths. To spice it up, I threw in a diminished passing chord, and then an F7sus4 before returning to the Bbmaj7.

Bbmaj7 Am7b5 Dm7 Gm7 Bdim Cm7 F6 F7sus4 Bbmaj7

I just uploaded a version of this song as a "get well" video for Musicguymic. Here's a link to that thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?45912-Contest-Healing-Powers-of-the-Uke-for-Musicguymic&p=672432#post672432

Or direct to YT:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EehGHPUBGuM

Ronnie Aloha
05-02-2011, 06:45 AM
Thanks! I was already using this chart and I can thank you personally now!

fromthee2me
05-02-2011, 09:23 AM
Janeray1940 Thank you for bumping that thread. Nice collection of Kamakas you have on your instrument CV.

janeray1940
05-02-2011, 09:24 AM
Janeray1940 Thank you for bumping that thread. Nice collection of Kamakas you have on your instrument CV.

You're welcome! And thanks for noticing the collection. I am a very, very lucky Kamaka girl.

Maiyah888
05-02-2011, 10:48 AM
Thanks Gary! I was drawing this for some folks the other day, but I didn't know all the fingerings!

blmvxer
08-05-2011, 05:03 AM
OMG This is awesome, Obviously if your a muscian that plays a brass or woodwind instrument then you've seen this, but this is a much needed study for any instrument, I usually just do this mentally(Thanks to Music theory and general knowledge) But this will really help you to get better and closer on your instrument.

iakeo
08-05-2011, 07:34 AM
You're absolutely right that the dominant 7th chords shown aren't typically a part of a circle of fifths layout.

…In other words, I added the fingerings for the 7ths because I'm lazy ... AND because you can almost always replace the fifth of your key with a fifth in the dominant 7th.

If your song is in C, you'll likely be playing C, F, Am, and G (or G7). I put the G7 fingering next to the G so it's easy to find and can substitute if my song needs it. And my songs need all the help they can get. :)

Thanks so much!

I've been looking around for an "explanation" of the principles behind "substituting one chord in place of another" and your chart is great for helping me with that seemingly ubiquitous "Dominant-7 substitution for the Fifth" chord thing.

…now, if I could figure out (by someone telling me :) ) what the "function" of the other "weird" types (families?) of chords are, I'd be even less in the dark as to the mysteries of the arcane art of CHORD SUBSTITUTION than I am now! Yay…! <chuckle!>


Anyway, thanks again, and maybe you can figure out a way to graphically represent that whole:

"1=3=6 and 2=4 and 5=7" thing,…

[ Hmm… there seems to be a "2=4=6" and a "5=3" and "2=V7=3" thing as well!? ]

(( Although, that actually IS on your chart, isn't it!? ))

…as well as what the HECK those Sus and Add chord's functions actually are.


Bein' a music theory newbie is FUN…!! <groan! chuckle!>

chindog
08-05-2011, 01:15 PM
I couldn't figure out where the Jack Daniels belongs in that circle.

Gary Jugert
08-05-2011, 07:51 PM
Ha!! The Jack Daniels belongs in that circle that starts on your left ear and goes around your head and ends up on your right ear and then goes all the way back around to your left ear.

First of all, I'm very happy many of you are finding the Ukulele Circle of Fifths useful. Unfortunately, sometimes it brings up more questions than it answers and sometimes the questions are more confusing than the answers. I always hesitate to jump into the music theory discussions because I've never seen one that actually clarifies the questions at hand, but rather they obscure the simple beauty of western music's rules.

Nevertheless, I proceed...

I built this chart to help myself write new songs ... not necessarily to solve the riddle of music theory. There are plenty of things in the chart that need a little more elaboration if it was to be used for a music theory class. Nonetheless, if you want to write a song, you can pick any starting point on the wheel, and most every chord nearby will sound pretty good. For example, if you want to write a song in the key of F, you simply need to look at the Circle of Fifths and you can be darn sure that F, Bb, C, Dm, Gm, and Am will all offer you cooperative sounds for your song.

So what's the deal with 7ths, Major 7ths, Minor 7ths, diminished chords, augmented sounds, sus4s, flatted 13ths, and all that other fancy schmancy stuff????

Here's the secret ... and don't tell anybody you know this 'cause I swear the music police will come to your door and tear the ukulele right out of your hands ... all those other chords are just ways to slightly alter the color of the main chords.

GASP! You mean you don't really have to memorize all that nonsense, Gary??

Again, top secret ... do NOT tell people you know this:

There are only four types of chords in the world. Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished. You will never need to play an augmented chord on your ukulele if you don't really want to, so forget them. There is only ONE shape for all diminished chords (and they barely come up anyway). So on the ukulele, you only need to memorize the majors and minors. You can learn them in an afternoon (because many of the shapes are bar chords).

If I can learn every chord I'll ever need in an afternoon, then why all the fuss over those fancy chords?

It's simple. On a guitar, or a piano, or in an orchestra, you can make a whole lot more complicated chords because you can make a whole lot more sounds happen simultaneously. Guys with bow ties and nothing better to do with themselves sit down and figure out the names of those fancy chords, and sooner or later they end up on your favorite internet lyrics site and if you haven't read this post, you think you should actually play those things.

Do you have to play a Cmaj7?

No. Just play C.

Will it sound better if I play Cmaj7?

Yes.

Then why play C?

Because you are still learning to be a great player and you don't need to waste your brain on this kinda nonsense. If you're just strumming and singing merrily away, you should feel just fine playing the easiest chord you know. Every professional musician does it. Someday you'll memorize the chording for an Am6, but for now, play Am and you'll sound fine. On the rare occasion when you fall in love with a song and really really want to make it sound extra cool, you can go look up the fingering for those complicated chords on a one-at-a-time basis. Remember, those chords come from guitars, pianos, or orchestras, usually not ukuleles, so even if you figure out the chord shape, there's no guarantee it'll sound good, or that your fingers will be able to hit it.

And let me get on my soap box. Stop playing other people's songs and write your own! I don't want to hear your rendition of Hey Jude anyway. I want to hear your zombie, robot, love, dead dog, Camaro driving at night song. And if you write the song, and use your own chords, you'll never need to know what a Bm7b5 looks like on your fret board. (Remember, if you want to write a song, look at the Circle of Fifths, find the chords that are near each other, and head to your basement with a pad of paper and a pencil. Three hours from now, you'll have a song that is all your own and they won't delete it from YouTube.)

Last secret I'll let you in on:

Most musicians playing in bands today have no idea what the name of the advanced chords they're using actually are. If you own a guitar, you noodle around with the chords until you find something that sounds cool. If you play the piano, you use a fourth or fifth finger in your chording hand and suddenly you have more complicated and interesting voicings. This is a good thing, but it's different for us ukulele players. We only have four strings and two octaves. We have more limits on what our instrument can do, and while the ukulele will certainly do lots of fancy chords, you shouldn't be spending a lot of time trying to memorize those things. Just noodle and find the cool sounds and don't worry what they're called.

Final soapbox speech: In an orchestra, the tuba plays ONE note at a time. So does the trumpet, the trombone, the clarinet, the flute, the oboe, usually everyone in the entire strings section is also playing one note at a time. ONE NOTE AT A TIME. It's called melody and it's what you've been doing with your singing voice. Have you tried it on the ukulele? If it's good enough for a violin, it's good enough for ukulele too. Forget chording altogether and give melody a chance. You'll find your ukulele sings a mighty good tune. You'll also find your fingers magically showing up in the shapes of the chords without you even trying.

We are so lucky to play this instrument. Every day I am amazed at how fortunate I am to be a part of its history.

Now go write a song.

iakeo
08-06-2011, 05:47 AM
Amen, brah…!! :)

…as someone who has mostly concentrated on only playing the 3 high strings (need to work on da barre chords!), it's good to hear I can "keep it simple" and do my own improvizing.

Mahalo nui, buckeroo…!! :shaka:

beeploop
08-19-2011, 03:26 AM
What does it all mean?

How would one use this chart.

Seriously

JT

very useful chart in writing songs or improvising chord progressions. for example the song "Wild World" by Cat Stevens it's in the key of C. by looking at the Circle of 5th going clockwise it's from C-G-D-A. Wild World's first four chords is Am-D-G-C that's going counterclockwise from A-C.
Ther are a bunch of hit songs that used cirlce of 5th e.g. "Yesterday", "Five Foot Two", etc.

JT_Ukes
08-19-2011, 05:01 AM
very useful chart in writing songs or improvising chord progressions. for example the song "Wild World" by Cat Stevens it's in the key of C. by looking at the Circle of 5th going clockwise it's from C-G-D-A. Wild World's first four chords is Am-D-G-C that's going counterclockwise from A-C.
Ther are a bunch of hit songs that used cirlce of 5th e.g. "Yesterday", "Five Foot Two", etc.

heh.. wow, the intenet is like a time machine. my comment/question was OVER 2 years ago :)

but thanks for the reply!

JT

Gadzukes!
02-14-2012, 05:50 AM
This is possibly the most useful I've found on UU. Thanks so much!

caukulele
02-14-2012, 06:33 AM
Thanks so much for posting this! Helps me out.

finkdaddy
02-14-2012, 10:55 AM
Most musicians playing in bands today have no idea what the name of the advanced chords they're using actually are. If you own a guitar, you noodle around with the chords until you find something that sounds cool. If you play the piano, you use a fourth or fifth finger in your chording hand and suddenly you have more complicated and interesting voicings. This is a good thing, but it's different for us ukulele players. We only have four strings and two octaves. We have more limits on what our instrument can do, and while the ukulele will certainly do lots of fancy chords, you shouldn't be spending a lot of time trying to memorize those things. Just noodle and find the cool sounds and don't worry what they're called.

I've been telling my friends and band mates this for years now. I tell them that I'm not concerned with what chord should be next. I just want to write the chord that's next in the song, whatever shape or sound that might be. And I try and stress that if you play most anything with confidence and conviction, people will be impressed.
Thanks for posting your chart, it will be most useful!:cool:

pepamahina
02-14-2012, 12:10 PM
Wow, this is great. I've never seen this post. I have a cool circle of fifths that I got from http://playukulelebyear.blogspot.com/, but I like how this one has the chord fingerings right there. So convenient! The sweet little mammoth (mastodon?) is just a bonus. I'm glad this post got a boost.

Zhong Qiyao
08-07-2012, 08:28 PM
Thanks, Gary. This is a brilliant diagram.

But I would like to further clear up the D-flat/C-sharp confusion. As Db-major has 5 flat signs and C#-major has 7 sharp signs, it is more natural for the diagram to say Db-major, together with Db-F-Ab, instead of C#-E#-G#. Moreover, it corresponds to Bb-minor (5 flat signs) as currently on the diagram.

Similarly B-major (5 sharp signs) would correspond to G#-minor (5 sharp signs), more naturally than to Ab-minor (7 flat signs) as currently on the diagram.

As you have also recorded the use of C#-major (7 sharp signs) and Ab-minor (7 flat signs), I would like to here when people use that.

You may also want to inform the following sites:

http://www.uketheplanet.com/uke-chords.html
http://www.chordie.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=11999
http://ukulele.com.pl/akordy.php

Thanks.

wurzel
04-25-2013, 11:59 PM
This is just ace, many thanks.

LOL the captcha word thing got stuck in the title

teruterubouzu
04-26-2013, 02:22 AM
I know this is an old thread, but I'm glad it bubbled up again. I've forgotten more music theory than I ever learned. This chart and the songwriting tips are really helpful. Thank you!

AllStrungOut
06-02-2013, 12:01 AM
Fear not grasshopper, the voodoo of music theory only hurts those who resist. And that, as we know, is futile. You will end up following the rules of western music even if you don't follow no damn rools.

Don't worry about the little mastodon, he knows that bad ole chart will keep him safe.

I was 42 years old when I got my BS in Music Therapy, but not before this self taught musician survived a force feeding of music theory! Gary is right on, my fear kept me stuck in the same old songwriting loops... YUK! Thanks for reminding me of my old friend the Circle of Fifths as I embark on a new love affair with yet another string instrument!

:rock: Gary you rock!

Tiguh
10-19-2013, 09:47 PM
Could someone explain me what this is??? Im so beginner sorry :) what's the circle of fifths? how can i read it?

teruterubouzu
10-20-2013, 02:55 AM
If you go to post 5, you'll be able to read an explanation. Keep on reading in the thread and you'll get more information.