Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths Wheel is a hands-on tool designed to help you easily grasp music theory, key relationships, and chord structures in a fun and interactive manner. This guide will walk you through the process of using the wheel to reveal major, minor, and diminished chords for a specific major key while also referencing intervals.

Section 1: Understanding the Circle of Fifths Wheel

The Circle of Fifths Wheel is a circular diagram that represents the 12 major keys in music. As you interact with the wheel, you can explore the chords associated with each key. It’s a powerful tool for musicians and music enthusiasts, ready for immediate use.

Section 2: Using the Circle of Fifths Wheel

  1. Selecting a Major Key: Start by choosing a major key on the wheel. This key will be your reference point.
  2. Rotating the Wheel: Gently turn the wheel so that the aperture (the window) aligns with the chosen major key.
  3. Understanding Intervals: Pay attention to the intervals as you rotate. Each step around the wheel represents a perfect fifth interval, which is a crucial aspect of music theory.

Section 3: Revealing Chords for the Major Key

  1. Major Chord: Once the aperture is aligned with the chosen major key, you’ll see the major chord associated with that key. This chord consists of the root note, a major third, and a perfect fifth.
  2. Minor Chord: Once your major key is selected you will reveal the minor chord(s) associated with that key. The minor chord is formed by the root note, a minor third, and a perfect fifth.
  3. Diminished Chord: Continue rotating to the right from the minor chord position to uncover the diminished chord. The diminished chord is composed of the root note, a minor third, and a diminished fifth.

Section 4: Exploring Intervals and Chord Progressions

  1. Understanding Intervals: As you rotate, pay attention to how the interval between keys changes. A perfect fifth interval is five half-steps or semitones apart.
  2. Chord Progressions: Experiment with chord progressions by selecting different major keys and observing the intervals between them. Understanding intervals will help you create harmonically pleasing progressions.

Section 5: Applying Your Knowledge

  1. Compose in the Chosen Key: Take the chords revealed for the selected major key and create a simple chord progression or melody. Use the major, minor, and diminished chords to craft music in that key.
  2. Transposition: Experiment with transposing your composition to different keys using the wheel. Explore how changing the major key affects the mood and tonality of your music.


The Circle of Fifths Wheel is a fantastic tool for both beginners and experienced musicians to explore music theory, chords, and intervals. By following these simple instructions, you can gain a deeper understanding of major, minor, and diminished chords in different keys while grasping the fundamental concept of intervals and their role in music theory. Enjoy your musical journey with this interactive tool!