Harmonic circles

Now that you have an idea of how to use both notes and chords, there is only one more topic to learn. I am talking about harmonic circles of chords. After all, these are perhaps the most frequent combinations of chords you will play during a song.

Circles are three: major, minor and harmonic.

Major circle

It includes major do, minor la, major fa and major sol chords. Transpose from there:

C – Am – F – G
D – Bm – G – A
E – Cm# – A – B
F – Dm – A# – C
G – Em – C – D
A – Fm# – D – E
B – Gm# – E – F#

Minor circle

It includes minor la, minor re and major, minor or seventh mi chords. Transpose from there:

Am – Dm – E
Bm – Em – F#
Cm – Fm – G
Dm – Gm – A
Em – Am – B
Fm – Am# – C
Gm – Cm – D

Harmonic circle

The harmonic circle includes the following chords: major do, minor re, minor mi, major fa, major sol, minor la and minor flat fifth ti. This last chord includes the notes ti, sharp fa and sharp re.

C – Dm – Em – F – G – Am – Bmb5
D – Em – Fm# – G – A – Bm – C#mb5
E – Fm# – Gm# – A – B – Cm# – Dmb5
F – Gm – Am – Bb – C – Dm – Emb5
G – Am – Bm – C – D – Em – F#mb5
A – Bm – Cm# – D – E – Fm# – G#mb5
B – Cm# – Dm# – E – F# – Gm# – A#mb5

Harmonic circles during songs

In many songs you start with a harmonic circle and end with the same harmonic circle, yet this doesn't mean you cannot make a change if you want. Composers do it all the time.


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