Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 3, last updated 6/25/2013
21
Figure 3.22 Circle of fifths
A fifth is a type of interval. We’ll discuss intervals in more detail in Section
3.1.6.2, but for now all you need to know that a fifth is a span of notes that includes
five lettered notes. For example, the notes A, B, C, D, and E comprise a fifth, as do C,
D, E, F, and G.
If you start with the key of C and move clockwise by intervals of fifths (which
we call “counting up”), you reach successive keys each of which has one more sharp
than the previous one the keys of G, D, A, and so forth. For example, starting on C
and count up a fifth, you move through C, D, E, F, and G, five lettered notes
comprising a fifth. Counting up a fifth consists of moving up seven semitones C to
C#, C# to D, D to D#, D# to E, E to F, F to F#, and F# to G. Notice that on the circle, moving
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