Use the Circle to Find NNS Chord Progressions

by Jess Dickinson
(Madison, Mississippi, USA)

I have constructed a circle of numbers outside the circle of fifths. The numbers correspond with the scale notes, so that if C is at the top of the circle, a 1 is above the C; above the D is 2; above the E is 3, etc.

The numbers are on the outside and do not move. The circle of fifths is on the inside on a grommet, and I can rotate it so that whatever key I put below the 1, the chords in that key are easy to find. So if I am in the key of D, I rotate the circle of fifths until the D is at the top, below the 1.

I then easily can see that B is the 6 chord, etc. It works for every key, and is a helpful aid for persons learning to play music using the NNS numbers, rather than chord names.

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Jun 19, 2016
Keeping the Notes, Moving the Numbers
by: John

Thanks, Jess! That's a great tip, and one I use a lot myself, only not as sophisticated as what you just described!

I would recommend, though, to make the "number circle" be the one that moves so that the notes stay in position. It may not keep the numbers where you expect them (1 always at the top), but by keeping the notes (letter names) in position, we can still tell what the flats/sharps are by looking at where they are on the circle just like usual, and that ultimately gives us more information.

Thanks for this great tip! Go try it, people!

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