The Circle of Fifths Chart

The Circle of Fifths Chart

The circle of fifths is a reference chart that summarizes the relationship between major and minor scales and displays all the key signatures into one easy to understand diagram.

circle of fifths chart

The outside are the major keys in uppercase letters. Each major key is associated with a relative minor key in lowercase letters. Both share the same corresponding key signature.

Let’s take a look at the C major key on top of the chart. The C major key is in between F major and G major in the circle of fifths chart. It is because F major and G major are closely related keys to C major. Hence, these keys (C major, F major and G major) have very similar key signatures. (C major has no sharp or flat, while F major has only one flat and G major has only one sharp.)

Going clockwise, every key is a perfect fifth interval above the previous key. The key is always one sharp more or one flat less than the previous key when going clockwise. For instance, G is the perfect fifth interval above C, and G major has one sharp while C has no sharp or flat.


The Order of Sharps and Flats in Key Signatures

The order of sharps in the sharp key signatures appear in the following order: F | C | G | D | A | E | B

Sharp key signatures
F – C – G – D – A – E – B is the order of sharps in all sharp key signatures

and the order of flats in the flat key signatures is backward of order of sharps: B | E | A | D | G | C | F

Flat key signatures
B – E – A – D – G – C – F is the order of flats in all flat key signatures.

From the circle of fifths charts, you can also find the order of sharps  F | C | G | D | A | E | B  and flats  B | E | A | D | G | C | F   for easy reference.

Enharmonic Scales

The circle of fifths also display the enharmonic scales. Enharmonic scales are scales that have the same pitches but have different note names.

Enharmonic Major scales:

B Major Scale: B | C♯ | D♯ | E | F♯ | G♯ | A♯ | B
C Flat Scale: C♭ | D♭ | E♭ | F♭ | G♭ | A♭ | B♭ | C♭

F Sharp Major Scale: F♯ | G♯ | A♯ | B | C♯ | D♯ | E♯ | F♯
G Flat Major Scale: G♭ | A♭ | B♭ | C♭ | D♭ | E♭ | F | G♭

C Sharp Major Scale: C♯ | D♯ | E♯ | F♯ | G♯ | A♯ | B♯ | C♯
D Flat Major Scale: D♭ | E♭ | F | G♭ | A♭ | B♭ | C | D♭

Enharmonic Minor scales:

G Sharp Minor Scale: G♯ | A♯ | B | C♯ | D♯ | E | F♯ | G♯
A Flat Minor Scale: A♭ | B♭ | C♭ | D♭ | E♭ | F♭ | G♭ | A♭

D Sharp Minor Scale: D♯ | E♯ | F♯ | G♯ | A♯ | B | C♯ | D♯
E Flat Minor Scale: E♭ | F | G♭ | A♭ | B♭ | C♭ | D♭ | E♭

A Sharp Minor Scale: A♯ | B♯ | C♯ | D♯ | E♯ | F♯ | G♯ | A♯
B Flat Minor Scale: B♭ | C | D♭ | E♭ | F | G♭ | A♭ | B♭

The circle of fifths chart provides a lot of music scale information and is a helpful tool when learning the fundamentals of music theory.  Here you can download the free printable circle of fifths diagram pdf. If you want a large poster size circle of fifths wall chart, get this 24″ x 36″ circle of fifths poster from Amazon. This handy reference chart is perfect for teachers, tutors and students.

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