Build a Major chord

by Chuck
(Charlottesville, VA)

Any two adjacent notes moving clockwise around the circle are a perfect fifth (seven semitones). If you start from the first, count four more clockwise around the circle, this is the note between them.


For example, F -> count 4 from F (F C G D A) so A goes between them (F A C) for the major chord. It gets confusing at the bottom of the circle, but if you work through it you will find it still works.

For example C# F Ab (C# E# G#).

**Note:You must take the notes that are the same into account: C#/Db, Gb/F#, Cb/B. The progression through this part of the circle is a compressed B F C G D so the fifth progresses to the next note past the duplicates.

For example Bmaj is B Eb F# (B D# F#). The progression around the bottom of the circle is either E B F# C# Ab or E Cb Gb Db Ab which are the same. Alternately, you can convert the flats to sharps and keep the pattern of F A C E and E G B D F (spaces & lines in treble clef) -- B D# F#, F# A# C#, Eb G Bb, Ab C Eb, E G# B for your major triads. Make sense? Work through it once and it’s easy from then on. :-)

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Aug 08, 2014
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by: Ballen

Building on your useful observation, note that the fourth semitone presents in the Circle of Fifths as the Natural Minor (the sixth note) of the note adjacent (clockwise) to the tonic (root note) selected:

Chord Chord 5th/ Chord 3rd/
Tonic Adjacent Note Adjacent's Minor

C G e
G D b
D A f#
A E c#
E B g#
B F#/G-flat d#/e-flat
F#/G-flat D-flat b-flat
D-flat A-flat f
A-flat E-flat c
B-flat F d
F C a

Enjoy!

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