ToneGym’s Free Interactive Circle of Fifths Could Improve Your Music Theory Knowledge and Songwriting

the circle of fifths is a well-known music theory tool that (among other things) gives you a visual guide to the relationships between keys and chords. As such, it can come in handy during your songwriting sessions.

ToneGym has now introduced an interactive version of the circle that lets you change the tone, mode and layout to make it even more accessible.

The Circle of Fifths is useful because, rather than displaying the keys in chromatic order, it places those that are closely related next to each other. They are ordered by the number of sharps and flats they contain – go clockwise and each consecutive key earns a sharp; go counter-clockwise and each consecutive key gains a flat – allowing you to quickly identify harmonic relationships.

In ToneGym’s circle, clicking on a note name plays its triad chord, while Alt-clicking plays its seventh chord. If you hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key while clicking, the note you click becomes the root and the associated keys are highlighted.

The hope is that the interactive nature of the tool will help you find more interesting chord progressions and learn more about borrowed chords, key changes (modulations) and intervals.

You can access the circle of fifths now on the ToneGym website.

Donald E. Patel