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ichadwick
03-14-2015, 03:06 AM
I remade my chord wheel and you can download the new one through the link below. I'd appreciate any comments:

http://vintageukemusic.com/cplug/revised-chord-wheel/

It's a three-wheel system now, with chord numbers (Roman numerals) on the outside, and circle of fifths, and an inner wheel for transposing keys.

IamNoMan
03-14-2015, 03:38 AM
I really like this. It is intuitive to use. Nice site too.

ubulele
03-14-2015, 07:32 AM
You might prepare a separate, substitute outer ring for minor keys.

It appears you're misusing the "maj" prefix, which explicitly means the 7th interval is major (even in chords like Xmaj9), NOT that the base triad is major. The "maj" confusion in chord spelling is one reason I generally use X7 or X6/9 to indicate a generic chord type. It's hard to indicate the major vs. minor distinction any other way. In your chart, you could instead substitute V7 (for instance), since the degree is specific to each box. I don't know how intuitive this is to beginners, but using "maj" to mean a major chord directly contravenes the standard chord naming conventions, and will surely confuse learners when they encounter "maj" later in chord names.

I assume that the primary criterion for which chord variants to include in the Roman boxes would be frequency of use with that degree. But that's problematic. For instance, the tonic chord may appear as either I7 (a leading or blues chord) or as Imaj7 (a common color chord)—should you include both? Imaj7 is the natural chord, but I7 is more common because of the I7 - IV progression. I6/9 is far more common than 11th or 13th chords of any stripe, yet it's omitted. In a minor ring, the natural V chord is minor, but the major form (based on the harmonic minor) now occurs more frequently. I personally would still opt for including the most common chord variants: I think learners should be prepared for what they'll encounter earliest and most often in practice. (So, for instance, on a minor wheel, I'd label the V box "V / v", with both green and pink.)

Also, the wheel picture doesn't (yet?) link to a PDF, though one can right-click on the image to view the image at a goodly size.

Otherwise, I think the wheel is rather nifty. Including the spelling of the triad underneath is a nice touch that most other wheels neglect, even if, in different keys, that chord may go minor—it's a simple matter to lower the middle note a half step for minor. I also like your coloring the chord types to stand out more: the significance of lowercase in Roman numbering often gets overlooked.

ichadwick
03-14-2015, 09:49 AM
Sorry about the link... the link to the PDF works now. Seems I copied the image link instead.

I took the chord names in the Roman numeral box from another source, but since there might be confusion, I removed them in the PDF. I DID mean maj7 not the b7, but it's simpler to remove them and let people figure out compatible chords.

As for the site - just getting started. A lot more content to come.

keod
03-14-2015, 11:13 AM
Thanks Ian, I like this very much!!!

Gary Gill
03-14-2015, 01:03 PM
Thanks for sharing.

Ukejenny
03-14-2015, 02:00 PM
This is wonderful! I can't imagine how much work you put into it to get it looking so nice. I'm going to share this link with my ukulele group. This is just the kind of thing we need!!!!

Thank You!!!

ichadwick
03-15-2015, 03:17 AM
Thanks for the kind words. Hope it proves useful.

Kimosabe
03-15-2015, 09:04 AM
I agree that it is very nice indeed, particularly with the spelling of the triads. I would, however, recommend that the three essential chords be called the tonic, the dominant and the subdominant. The tonic is the home base and the dominant is where you move to and where you move from on your direction home. Chords can then be called types of dominants or types of tonics, keeping their functions apparent. Knowing the function of a chord helps in substitution. A 9th or a 13th become jazzy substitutions for a 7th. A maj 7th or a 6/9 become jazzy substitutions for the tonic. Nuances and shades become substitutions for primary colors; the overall palette is expanded, providing more to work with and enjoy.

Hms
03-16-2015, 01:31 AM
Nice work Ian.
Thanks.
h

ichadwick
03-16-2015, 04:57 AM
I would, however, recommend that the three essential chords be called the tonic, the dominant and the subdominant..

Done... thanks for the suggestion.

Nickie
03-16-2015, 04:09 PM
Wow, Ian, I still haven't understood the dreaded Circle of fifths, but I know how to transpose....so this might help me understand it! I can't wait to get home and print it out and play with it!
Thank you!

TheCraftedCow
03-17-2015, 06:11 AM
Thank you for your contribution to unravelling the ball of yarn also known as music theory and its vocabulary. Thanks also to those who have offered their input. For those of us who are yet to be at this level of expertise, it provides a genuine opportunity to improve. I am not trying to "hijack" your site, but to help others to also benefit from it. How we think affects how we act. To say "I do not understand" or "I can't understand" does not help. PLEASE , PLEASE .....look at it and say to yourself, " I have YET to understand" It allows you to think of the future, and not be restricted by the past or the present. I am one who has yet to understand, but these contributions will certainly help.

Down Up Dick
03-17-2015, 06:27 AM
Thank you for your contribution to unravelling the ball of yarn also known as music theory and its vocabulary. Thanks also to those who have offered their input. For those of us who are yet to be at this level of expertise, it provides a genuine opportunity to improve. I am not trying to "hijack" your site, but to help others to also benefit from it. How we think affects how we act. To say "I do not understand" or "I can't understand" does not help. PLEASE , PLEASE .....look at it and say to yourself, " I have YET to understand" It allows you to think of the future, and not be restricted by the past or the present. I am one who has yet to understand,
but these contributions will certainly help.

Well, I fully understand the wheel, and I have many copies of it. But in all my long, long years I have never thought of a use for it. Is it for beginners? What does it tell anyone? I'm not being a smart-aleck; I really don't understand how one uses it's information.

Please someone, erase my ignorance. :old:

ubulele
03-17-2015, 10:28 AM
Wikipedia weighs in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths

What the wheel can tell you:

Keys, in order of increasing sharps and flats.
The sharps and flats, in order of addition.
The ubiquitous "resolution by fifths" order of chords (follow the wheel counterclockwise).
The translation between standard and bari uke chord names or shapes.
The relative minors for major keys and chords.
The relative scale degrees as you move from key to key.
The primary chords you'll use in a given key, clustered together, and the prototypical quality (major, minor or diminished) for each.
Other relative modes (like Dorian and Mixolydian).

There are some lore and patterns you need to assimilate to fully exploit the wheel, but as a single reference diagram for all this stuff it's pretty useful. On the other hand, for virtually all applications, I find the wheel presentation faulty, nonsensical and artificially limiting (for reasons I'll probably expound in a later post or two, describing alternative tools that do the job better). And if you've done your due diligence and learned the FCGDAEB sequence backwards and forwards (the backward sequence BEADGCF being generally more useful and easy to memorize), the wheel will be of less utility to you.

Add another, movable circle, as in Ian's wheel, and you can use it for transposing notes and chords from one key to another. Again, I personally don't think this is the best presentation for transposing, but it's quite serviceable, particularly if you're fond of the wheel.

Several dynamic online versions of the basic wheel (not the augmented, transposing one) correct for some of the faults in the traditional, static presentation. Here's one I found that I think is well done:
http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/
Just click on your key and mode. The user guide (linked below the modes list) explains a bit about usage and also describes how you can save the tool locally so you can use it even when not online—though when are you not?

ichadwick
03-17-2015, 11:03 AM
W...in all my long, long years I have never thought of a use for it...
I use it to transpose keys, to translate Roman numeral designations into chords for a particular key (I know that vi is A minor in the key of C, but I'll be damned if I can remember what it is when I transpose to F...or Bb...), to help arrange songs from old song sheets, to find a suitable chord in an arrangement when one seems to be called for but I don't like the one being shown, to help identify likely chords when trying to write something or work out a song from the radio or CD...

ubulele
03-17-2015, 01:11 PM
I said above I find the wheel faulty, so given the favor it enjoys among pedagogues, I should explain. While it's true that the fifths (and fourths) form a cyclic pattern when enharmonic equivalence is factored in, it's rare that you actually use this feature. Instead, the main uses of the wheel focus on non-cyclic subregions of it, and to get the proper note or chord names as you move farther and farther from the C center, you need to treat the sequence as strictly linear. For instance, in the key of E, your note names and chords are (in fifths order) A E B F# C# G# D#, yet you almost never see the last two notes on a wheel; instead, it will tell you Ab and Eb, which are absolutely the wrong spellings, even if the pitches are the same.

The wheel is also strongly skewed to major keys. It can be used for minor keys (using the inner wheel of relative minors—if your wheel has one), but you have to disregard any labels dealing with relative chords and scale degrees. And for other modes like Dorian and Mixolydian, you're on your own.

The wheel presentation has the advantage of being compact and snazzy, but it's difficult to augment simply, and you have to keep changing your mental/spatial orientation to follow it around. It's also a bitch to jot down. (I've misplaced more wheels of fifths than I've ever used; I like aids I can quickly jot down and customize as needed.) So if you want to relabel the relative chord numbers to accord with minor keys, for instance, you're SOL.

Instead, when I've needed a tool to work with the fifths sequence, I preferred to use simple strips of paper—graph paper labelled or cut lengthwise works excellently for this. Much easier than drawing circles and dividing them into 12ths, and you never have to mentally reorient. You can even quickly jot what you need down on lined or blank paper.

If you've learned the FCGDAEB sequence (the order of sharps), it's easy to draw up a diagram anywhere that does everything the wheel does AND uses the right note names. Just start with that sequence, adding a flat after every letter, then repeat the sequence without flats, then repeat again with sharps. For the relative minors, put A(m) under C and fill in as above.

Fb Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C# G# D# A# E# B#
Fb Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C# G# D# A# E# B#

(You never use major key names beyond Cb and C# nor their relative minors Abm and A#m, nor does any key naturally contain a double-sharp or double-flat, so it's unnecessary to fill in the gaps at the end of these sequences.)

Since fifth progressions typically go down rather than up by a fifth (i.e. they go counterclockwise on a wheel), it would make more sense to reverse the order, using the BEADGCF sequence and starting with sharps instead of flats. But the sharpward, up-by-fifths order is so endemic that it would probably be more confusing to reverse this frame of reference. Consequently, I won't pursue this suggestion until I describe the fretboard up-by-fourths lateral jog pattern.

Now for the relative chord/scale degrees, labelled with Roman numerals. This labeling is mode-specific. Write these sequences, spaced as on your chart above, on separate strips:

For major = Ionian: IV I V ii vi iii vii° (central [no sharps/flats] key is C)
For minor = Aeolian: VI III VII iv i v/V ii° (central key is A)
For Lydian: I V II vi iii vii iv° (central key is F)
For Mixolydian: VII IV I v ii vi iii° (central key is G)
For Dorian: II VII IV i v ii vi° (central key is D)

Uppercase means the chord is naturally major, lowercase means the chord is naturally minor, and the little circle means the chord is naturally diminished. For clarity, many folks (like me) prefer to use lowercase m, as in regular chord names: IIm or iim. Mark the I or i prominently in your strip, Align it over your key name and you're good to go.

For a general transposition tool, rather than use fifths order (which has nothing to do with transposition), it's much more natural to use chromatic strips in normal semitone order: you know where to find each note. One strip needs to repeat the full set of notes, the other only needs a single set. Align the key names and you're ready to transpose. But if you're concerned about chord spelling, you may prefer to write up a custom chart: write out the scale of your "from" key, then below it write out the scale of your "to" key. Omit the notes in between (clutter), though if you want a reminder, you can leave an empty cell between whole steps in the scale. For example:

I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Eb F G Ab Bb C D (Eb)
A B C# D E F# G# (A)Then, to find the spelling of a natural chord in the key, like F#m in A, just leapfrog notes: F# A C#. If you don't like cycling round, write out the "to" scale twice. The time it takes to draw up such a chart should be dwarfed by your use of it, and you don't have to deal with anything non-essential, like inapplicable enharmonic equivalents.

ichadwick
03-18-2015, 06:42 AM
Thanks for sharing that...

I simply wanted to make a tool for everyone to simplify and organize some basic information based on the circle. Sorry you didn't like it. I hope someone here finds it useful.

I look forward to being able to download your tools (I think you're describing at least three but I'm not sure) and try them out. It sounds a bit more complicated than what I was aiming for, so I am eager to see how it works. Sort of a slide rule for keys and modes, from what I gather in your post.

keod
03-18-2015, 07:17 AM
I love your tool Ian and have found it very useful. It is simple to use and helps to understand the chord progressions for those of us that struggled with the more complex explanations. No one tool will meet the needs of all, but it doesn't have to. Anything that helps enjoyment and understanding of music, and the uke, is well worth the effort and much appreciated.

Nickie
03-18-2015, 11:53 AM
Thank you for your contribution to unravelling the ball of yarn also known as music theory and its vocabulary. Thanks also to those who have offered their input. For those of us who are yet to be at this level of expertise, it provides a genuine opportunity to improve. I am not trying to "hijack" your site, but to help others to also benefit from it. How we think affects how we act. To say "I do not understand" or "I can't understand" does not help. PLEASE , PLEASE .....look at it and say to yourself, " I have YET to understand" It allows you to think of the future, and not be restricted by the past or the present. I am one who has yet to understand, but these contributions will certainly help.

Thank you.....okay
I am understanding it....I understand it better each time I see it. It will all come clear to me by using it.