```IMPROVISATION - by Michael Furstner Lesson 6 - THE CIRCLE OF FIFTHS ______________________________________________________________________________ CONTENTS 6-1. The Circle of Fifths 6-2. Circle of Fifths Practice 6-3. 'Swing Time' 6-4. Improvisation 6-5. The Woodshed 6-6. Quiz 6 (and Answers to Quiz 5) ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-1. THE CIRCLE OF FIFTHS The Circle of Fifths is a continuous string of notes that are a perfect 5th apart. C is a perfect 5th above F, F is a perfect 5th above Bb, Bb is a perfect 5th above Eb, and so on. This string of perfect 5th eventually leads back to its starting point (C), and so becomes a circle. Going up rather than down : C is also a perfect 4th BELOW F, F is a perfect 4th below Bb, Bb is a perfect 4th below Eb, and so on. The Circle is therefore also called the Circle of Fourth. They are both the same thing. I always refer to it as the 'Circle of Fifths' to avoid confusion. <------------ C - - F G - - Bb D - - Circle Eb of A Fifths - - Ab E - - Db B - - Gb -------------> The Circle of Fifths is a Diagram portraying NATURAL ACOUSTIC RELATIONSHIPS between adjacent tones on the Circle. Going anti-clockwise : each note represents Overtone Nr.3 followed by its Fundamental. C for example is Overtone Nr.3 of the Fundamental F. F is Overtone Nr.3 of the Fundamental Bb, etc. The Circle of Fifths underlies numerous principles and elements of all styles of Western Music. For the purpose of improvisation it is important to know that : The Circle of Fifths has been the most POWERFUL ENGINE of HARMONY MOVEMENT (chord progressions) in Western Music for the past 300 years. Meaning that chord progressions tend to move along segments of the Circle. SOME TYPICAL EXAMPLES * In J.S.Bach's Prelude Nr.1 of his 'Weltempered Clavier Album 1' the chord progression for the first 12 bars is as follows : C - Dm7 - G7 - C - Am - D7 - G - Cmaj7 - Am7 - D7 - G - Go - * In Serenade (Standchen) by Franz Schubert the Chord progression (after 4 bars introduction) starts like this : Dm - Gm6 - A7 - Dm - A7 - Dm - Dm - Gm6 - C7 - F - * Chopin's very simple but beautiful Prelude No.7 (Op.28) goes like this : E7 - E7 - A - A - E9 - E9 - A - A - E7 - E7 - A - A - F#7 - Bm7 - E9 - A - A. * The I - VIm - IIm - V7 progressions of 'Hey There !' and 'Where's Woody ?' (from Lesson 2) are also continuous Circle of Fifths segments. 'Hey There !' : C - Am - Dm - G7 - C - 'Where's Woody ?' : F - Dm - Gm - C7 - F - * The three chords for the 12 bar Blues are also three adjacent members on the Circle of Fifths : Blues in C : V = G I = C IV = F Blues in F : V = C I = F IV = Bb Blues in A : V = E I = A IV = D etc. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-2. CIRCLE OF FIFTHS PRACTICE It is essential for any musician to develop an intimate knowledge and understanding of the Circle of Fifths. MEMORISE this Circle and play it on your instrument in : (DEMO 28) A, B, C A. SINGLE TONES Rather than going down in perfect Fifths all the time (which is impossible on most instruments) : ALTERNATE going down a 5th and up a 4th, like this : -------------------------------------------------------------------- ||. f eb db B A G .|| ||. c Bb Ab Gb E D .|| -------------------------------------------------------------------- B. SIMPLE SCALE PATTERNS For example play the first two or three notes of each major scale in Circle of Fifths order. Below the 1 2 3 1 pattern. Each note is 1 beat. 1 2 3 1 1 2 3 1 1 2 3 1 ----------------------------------------------- | | f g a f | | eb f g eb | | c d e c | | Bb c d Bb | | ----------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------- | | db eb f db | | B c# d# B | | Ab Bb c Ab | | Gb Ab Bb Gb | | ----------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------ | | A B c# A | | G A B A | || | E F# G# E | | D E F# D | | C || ------------------------------------------------------ Keyboard players play single Circle of 5ths tones in the left hand, the scale pattern in the right hand. C. CHORD TONES Take one chord quality, for example the major triad and play it in broken chord tones for all 12 chords around the Circle of Fifths. The major triad. 1 3 5 3 1 3 5 3 --------------------------------------------- | | f a c a | | eb g bb g | | c e g e | | Bb d f d | | --------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------- | | db f ab f | | B d# f# d# | | Ab c eb c | | Gb Bb db Bb | | ---------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------- | | A c# e c# | | G B d B | || | E G# B G# | | D F# A F# | | C || ----------------------------------------------------- Keyboard players play single Circle of 5ths tones in the left hand, the chord pattern in the right hand. There are more patterns in Chords Book 1. You can also make some up yourself. Practice like this is most useful. It helps you to know and memorise the note sequence of the Circle of 5ths. This in turn will enable you to recognise Circle segments in the chord progressions of tunes you play. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-3. SWING TIME 'Swing Time' is a 32 bar song in the familiar AABA format (like 'A Happy Day' in Lesson 1). The A section is once again a I - VIm - IIm - V7 progression as in 'Hey There !' and 'Where's Woody'. The Bridge features the famous 'Rhythm Bridge' named after George Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm'. This Bridge consists of a string of dominant 7th chords in Circle of 5ths order. Each chord occupies 2 bars : A7 - D7 - G7 - C7 III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 (for tonic chord I is F) Other famous songs that feature the 'Rhythm Bridge' include : * Oleo (Sonny Rollins) * Anthropology (Charlie Parker) * Scrapple from the Apple (Charlie Parker) * Perdido (Duke Ellington) * Crazy Day (Gerry Mulligan) * And what if I Don't ? (Herbie Hancock) (DEMO 29) SWING TIME (by Michael Furstner) F (I) Dm (VIm) Gm (IIm) C7 (V7) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 4 F A c - - | F A c - - | F G A - G | | 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (a1) F Dm Gm C7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ | F A c d f | - - d c A G | D C | || | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 || ------------------------------------------------------------------------ F Dm Gm C7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ | F A c - - | F A c - - | F G A - G | | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------------------ (a2) F Dm Gm C7 F ------------------------------------------------------------------------ | F A c d f | - - d c A G | D C G F | || | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 || ------------------------------------------------------------------------ A7 D7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | - - c# e c# A - - |c# e c# A - - - - |- - c d c B - - |c d c B - - - -| | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +| ------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Bridge) G7 C7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | - - B d B G - - | B d B G - - - - | - e c B - G | || | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + || ------------------------------------------------------------------------- F (I) Dm (VIm) Gm (IIm) C7 (V7) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ | F A c - - | F A c - - | F G A - G | | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------------------ (a3) F Dm Gm C7 F ------------------------------------------------------------------------ | F A c d f | - - d c A G | D C G F | || | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 || ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright 1995 Michael Furstner. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-4. IMPROVISATION We look at two aspects this lesson, one old, one new. A. CRITICAL TONES. The Swing Time Bridge section provides a good opportunity to use the Critical Tones Concept. Four Mixolydian modes cover the Bridge. First practise these. (DEMO 30) A7 (III7) D7 (VI7) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4 A B c# d e f# g a |g f# e d c# B A |D E F# G A B c d |c B A G F# E D | 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------------------ (Bridge) G7 (II7) C7 (V7) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | G A B c d e f g | f e d c B A G | C D E F G A Bb c | Bb A G F E D C || | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 || ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Then find the Critical tones : From A7 to D7 C# --> C. From D7 to G7 F# --> F. From G7 to C7 B --> Bb. Practise : A7 D7 ---------------------------------------------------------- 4 C# | C# C# | C | F# F# | 4 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | ---------------------------------------------------------- G7 C7 ---------------------------------------------------------- 4 F | B B | Bb | Bb || 4 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 || ---------------------------------------------------------- Then try to improvise using these tones. B. ACCENTS Placement of accents can make or break a musical phrase. The natural accents in a bar fall on the down beats 1 and 3 : > > ------------------- | 1 2 3 4 | ------------------- This is very predictable. It creates boring phrases that have no energy or forward drive. But no matter how simple it may appear, it is difficult for the beginning improviser to get away from it. It needs some serious and sustained practice. In Jazz improvisation aim to place accents on down beats 2 and 4 and on any of the off beats : > > ^ ^ ^ ^ ------------------- -------------------------- | 1 2 3 4 | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | ------------------- -------------------------- accents on 2 and 4 accents on off beats There are two ways you can practise accents : 1. Use the Rhythm Patterns provided (1 to 20) and focus on playing deliberate and strong accents on off beats and beats 2 and 4. Treat songs in the same way. Swing Time is a good example. Below five more Patterns to add to your collection. (The occasional accent on 1 or 3 is quite OK, it can provide a good contrast, but it should be the exception, not the rule.) (DEMO 31) (I play each pattern twice, going around the Cicle of Fifths, selecting a new note each 4 bars.) Pattern 26 ^ ^ ^ > ------------------------------------------------------------ | O o o - | O o o - | O o o - O | | | 1 2 3 + 4 | 1 2 3 + 4 | 1 + 2 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------ Pattern 27 > ^ > ^ > -------------------------------------------------------------- | O o o o O | o o - o O | o o - o O | | | 1 2 3 + 4 + | 1 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 + 3 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | -------------------------------------------------------------- Pattern 28 ^ ^ ^ ^ > ------------------------------------------------------------------- | o o o o - o o - | o o o o - o o - | o o o o o o o O | | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------------- Pattern 29 > ^ ^ ^ > ^ > ------------------------------------------------------------------ | O O o - |O o o - o o - |O O o - | o - o O | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 4 | ------------------------------------------------------------------ Pattern 30 ^ > > ^ > ----------------------------------------------------------------- | o o o o o o - | O O | o o o o o o - O | | | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 4 | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 2 3 4 | ----------------------------------------------------------------- Music notation for Rhythm Patterns 26-30 Work on these Rhythm Patterns. If you find them at first too tricky for improvisation play them with a single note around the Circle of Fifths (as I did on DEMO 31). Select simpler patterns for the song improvisation. On the Swing Time DEMO (29) I first play the melody of 'Swing Time', and then one chorus improvisation with scale-tones only, using Rhythm Patterns 29 (A sections) and 30 (Bridge). 2. Practise scales in swing quavers with strong accents on all off beat notes. See the Woodshed below. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-5. THE WOODSHED Keep practising the Mixolydian mode in all keys. Place strong accents on all off beat notes. Here is a Practice Routine combining mode and corresponding chord. (The accents may not come out that well on the Demo midi when played through your browser.) (DEMO 32) <------------------- play 2 times --------------------> ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4 C D E F G A Bb c | d Bb G E C D E F | G A Bb c d Bb G E :|| C | || 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + :|| 1..4|1..4 || --------------------------------------------------------------------------- <----- scale ---> <-chord-> You can also reverse the order, playing first the chord up to the 9th, then the mode back down. Good luck. See you next Lesson, Michael. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6-6. QUIZ A. Place the the following notes in proper Circle of 5ths order. 1. C D E G A 2. D E F# A B 3. C Eb F G Bb 4. G Bb C D F 5. F G A Bb C D E 6. Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C 7. E F# G# A B C# D 8. Eb F G Ab Bb C Db What can you conclude from the above eight exercises ? B. What are the three chords (I, IV and V) for the Blues : 1. In the key of Bb 2. In the key of Eb 3. In the key of A 4. In the key of B 5. In the key of D C. 'Oleo' is a song in the key of Bb. It contains the 'Rhythm Bridge'. Which are the chords in the Bridge section. D. 'And what if I don't' is a song in the key of Eb. It contains the 'Rhythm Bridge'. Which are the chords in the Bridge section ? E. Identify all Circle of Fifths segments (of 2 or more successive chords) in the following popular Jazz Tune. Mark each segment by placing brackets around it (as shown). F - F#dim - (Gm7 - C7) - Am7 - Dm7 - Gm7 - C7 - F - F#dim - Gm7 - C7 - Am7 - Dm7 - Cm7 - F7 - Bb - Abm7 - Db7 - Gbmaj7 - Em7 - A7 - Dmaj7 - Abm7 - Db7 - Gbmaj7 - Gm7 - C7 - F - F#dim- Gm7 - C7 - Bb7 - Am7 - D7b9 - Gm7 - C7 - F - Dm7 - Gm7 - C7 - F. ANSWERS IN NEXT LESSON -------------------------------------- Answers to Quiz 5 A. Convert these major scale into Mixolydian modes with the same tonic note (1st note) by altering one note of the scale. 1. F G A Bb C D (Eb) F 2. D E F# G A B (C) D 3. Bb C D Eb F G (Ab) Bb 4. G A B C D E (F) G 5. E F# G# A B C# (D) E B. Convert these major scales into Mixolydian modes by using all the same notes and placing them in the correct order. 1. F G A Bb C D E F ----> C D E F G A Bb C 2. D E F# G A B C# D ----> A B C# D E F# G A 3. Bb C D Eb F G A Bb ----> F G A Bb C D Eb F 4. G A B C D E F# G ----> D E F# G A B C D 5. E F# G# A B C# D# E ----> B C# D# E F# G# A B C. Which Mixolydian mode consists of white notes on the keyboard only ? G Mixolydian mode : G A B C D E F G D. Fill in the missing notes in these Mixolydian modes. 1. A B (C#) D E F# (G) A 2. D E (F#) G A B (C) D 3. F G (A) Bb C D (Eb) F 4. Eb F (G) Ab Bb C (Db) Eb 5. B C# (D#) E F# G# (A) B ______________________________________________________________________________ JAZCLASS - www.jazclass.aust.com Copying permitted for personal use only. Copyright 1997 Michael Furstner. All rights reserved. ```