The Circle of Fifths

The most useful tool in music theory is the circle of 5ths. This is a wheel or clock-like diagram which helps you to remember lots of different aspects of music theory including:

  • Key signatures
  • Order of flats and sharps
  • Number of flats and sharps
  • Key relationships

If you are taking a music theory exam, you will probably find that sketching a circle of 5ths on your scrap paper will help you to answer or check several questions quickly.

If you’re a composer, the circle of 5ths can help you to visualise related keys quickly, as well as helping you with key signatures.