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Thread: Please explain this to me.

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    The OP is trying to make the point that music is not a simple as the circle of fifths. That the circle of fifths has very limited value. The OP doesn't need to know why and how Don Felder came up with the progression for Hotel California, but the OP does know and understand that he didn't consult the circle of fifths to do it, and in turn, someone is not going to pull their circle of fifths out of their pocket and figure it out on the spot. I thank you all for proving that point.
    Rllink, your confirmation bias is showing. You may want to open your mind and listen to those who are attempting to answer the complicated question you have asked. If the above is your attitude, you will never understand their viewpoints on how and why the circle is useful. In the quote above, it seems you don't want to understand. Of course, it's your prerogative, but if that is the case why disguise this as a question in the first place?

    You are correct that the circle of fifths is not a magical tonic that will cause you to grok music overnight. It's more like a cheat sheet for diatonic music. If you know how to read it, it can be a useful tool for looking up answers when transcribing or transposing. If you are inclined to understand theory(which I would recommend you to do) it can serve as a conceptual framework for how keys and chords relate to one another. It is only the "holy grail" in as much as it is a basic map of these relationships.

    You don't need the circle to have fun and make beautiful music. Plenty of musicians have proved themselves genius without it. However, it can be a useful tool for understanding, learning, and developing your knowledge of how diatonic music works. Think of it like the color wheel... it is just a silly diagram, right? Nobody needs to know how blue and red relate to each other or how they relate to other colors like green or orange. Ultimately, visual artists need only a developed sense of aesthetics to succeed. For those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of color, however, the color wheel can be a useful tool for categorizing and quantifying chromatic relationships. The circle of fifths is no different in this regard.


    Here is my humble response to your original question (which I hope you will not dismiss out of hand ):

    In order to grasp the meaning of the circle of fifths, you first need a certain level of theoretical understanding. These puzzle pieces are very helpful:
    - What is a cadence? How can I identify a cadence when it occurs in music I am listening to?
    - What are diatonic functions? How can I use diatonic functions to increase musical tension and then resolve that tension in a glorious return to the tonic?

    Without this theoretical knowledge, you may never fully understand what the circle of fifths attempts to illustrate.

    The most important lesson the circle of fifths teaches is this: A resolves to D resolves to G resolves to C resolves to F resolves to Bb resolves to Eb resolves to Ab resolves to Db resolves to Gb/F# resolves to B resolves to E resolves to A. That is what the circle is all about. That is the big deal you are looking for.

    Is it earth shattering? No. But it is useful once you understand how it works.
    Last edited by MopMan; 02-23-2018 at 05:24 AM. Reason: words

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    Rllink, your confirmation bias is showing. You may want to open your mind and listen to those who are attempting to answer the complicated question you have asked. If the above is your attitude, you will never understand their viewpoints on how and why the circle is useful. In the quote above, it seems you don't want to understand. Of course, it's your prerogative, but if that is the case why disguise this as a question in the first place?



    Is it earth shattering? No. But it is useful once you understand how it works.
    Thanks for the response MopMan. "Why disquise this as a question in the first place?" That is a good question. I've been asking myself why I even felt compelled to post about it in the first place. That was a mistake and my fault. I should have known better. When I post a thread, I feel some sense of responsibility for it and I just keep digging myself deeper and deeper. I do read all the responses, and I always do appreciated everyone's opinions on my question, and everyone's opinion of me as an individual, because most assuredly I have brought it all on myself by doing so. Anyway, I apologize. Smiley face.
    Last edited by Rllink; 02-23-2018 at 06:14 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    The OP is trying to make the point that music is not a simple as the circle of fifths. That the circle of fifths has very limited value. The OP doesn't need to know why and how Don Felder came up with the progression for Hotel California, but the OP does know and understand that he didn't consult the circle of fifths to do it, and in turn, someone is not going to pull their circle of fifths out of their pocket and figure it out on the spot. I thank you all for proving that point.
    Your're probably right about Don Felder. But I think you have to accept that his musical understanding is far more developed than yours or mine. He could be naturally blessed (again, I hate those people), have tons of experience, or be formally trained. I'm guessing the first two.

    Paul McCartney is a good example of a composer who has no formal music education (he claims he can't read music) but clearly has a deep understanding of harmony. He may never of heard of the circle of fifths, but he certainly knows how music works. Many music theorists love analyzing his compositions.

    Music theory is not for everyone. And without a basic understanding of theory (scales, intervals and chords) the circle of 5ths is almost useless. With some knowledge, however, it really can seem magical.

    For now, I suggest knowing the I, IV and V in a bunch of major keys and looking for them where you can. You'll find them in all genres of music. There's a lot more to understanding harmony, but you can get to it later... or not.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    I've been asking myself why I even felt compelled to post about it in the first place. That was a mistake and my fault. I should have known better.
    I think you posted it because for a moment you were curious. What is the use of this confusing diagram I have been trying to understand for years?

    Giving someone a diagram of the circle of fifths and expecting they will understand it with no explanation is unreasonable. It represents ideas that are not expressed in the diagram--it requires context.

    You are on the right track: the circle is a clever way of arranging V - I - IV progressions in a circle. In a way, that's all it is.

    But there is also much more to it. If you know what diatonic resolution is, you can use the circle to "find your way home" to the tonic and put a period on your musical phrase. If you want to modulate to a particular new key, it can show you the way there. If you want to know where the functions are located once you arrive in your new key, it can tell you that too.

    These concepts require some study and experience to understand. They are not terribly difficult, but they are certainly not self-evident. I would encourage you not to stop exploring. You will get closer to the bottom yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    But I think I'm just going to move on and remind myself the next time, "KEEP IT TO YOURSELF."
    Nah, I say post away. If nobody posted their silly musings on this forum we would have little to discuss
    Last edited by MopMan; 02-23-2018 at 07:07 AM.

  5. #45
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    Dorian? Wasn't she an actress - Dorian Grey?

    LOL
    -Joe......Have uke, will travel...

  6. #46

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    If you have played in a range of keys for a while, you kinda "know" and apply the circle of fifths instinctively, even if you have never heard of it or seen the diagram.

  7. #47
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    Goggle a "Key Chord Chart" and print it out. I shows the Circle of Fifths in linear fashion and give you seven chords in each key. No theory or anything just "play these" and be happy.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackLuis View Post
    Goggle a "Key Chord Chart" and print it out. I shows the Circle of Fifths in linear fashion and give you seven chords in each key. No theory or anything just "play these" and be happy.
    It can be just as good, only you forgot to give a link. What I want to point out is, the circle of fifths or any table based on it, should not be something to play practise without learning by heart, except maybe in a sense of developing fingering chord change practise with common chord changes. But you should learn those changes without looking into any aid.

    Eventually you should be able to know what a degree of a chord is to a key. Without looking up into any tool. It takes quite some learning!
    It is also then a valuable transposing tool to posses, in your mind.

    Definately some chord wheels etc mechanical slide rules get then much less if even valued tools to someone who incists in learning a bit more.

    Although this thread has been a somewhat flame thread, also some good advises have been given
    Last edited by Jarmo_S; 02-27-2018 at 01:30 AM.

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