Fifthinatrix

The Matrix Of Fifths— An Alternative Visualization Of The Circle

A colourful alternative depiction of the Circle Of Fifths which breaks the keys and notes into a matrix for easy reference.

Alternative Visualization of the Circle Of Fifths

I came up with this diagram as part of an effort to help myself better understand the Circle Of Fifths and how it relates to the guitar fretboard. I present it here in the hopes that it may help others as well.

The centre column serves as the legend assigning each note to a colour which then blends slightly as the keys go horizontally from sharp to flat (this blend was necessary to make the chart visually interesting).

Flat keys and their key signatures are indicated at the top right of the chart with the constituent flatted notes stacked vertically below. The other natural notes in the key are not indicated.

Sharp keys and their key signatures are indicated at the bottom right of the chart with the constituent sharped notes stacked vertically above. The other natural notes in the key are not indicated.

For instance, one can see by the key signature that the key of G# (bottom right) has one sharped note — the F#, whereas the key of Db (top left) contains five flatted notes — Bb, Eb, Ab, Db and Gb. All other unnamed notes in those keys are natural.

I add the fretboard diagrams in an effort to remove confusion regarding the relationship between 4th and 5th intervals and their movement on the guitar. With the offset between the 2nd and 3rd strings, two diagrams were necessitated for each relationship.

I have made this diagram available at redbubble for anyone wishing for a larger scale image or poster.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope this visualization is helpful for others!

See also:

My article on learning the guitar fretboard, The Super Cluster Method

My article on teaching the notes of the music staff,

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