Circle of Fifths Explained



A circle of fifths chord progression is a series of chords, each of which resolves down a 5th to the next – for example, C min – F maj – Bb maj – Eb maj, is a circle of fifths chord progression.

A circle of fifths can last any length of time. The ii – V – I progression found in jazz is just a short snippet of a circle of fifths – each chord resolves down a 5th. For example, a ii-V-I in C major would be D min – G7 – C maj. Each chord is a 5th below the previous one.

There are 2 types of circle of fifths – a ‘perfect cycle’ and a ‘diatonic cycle’, and in this video I explain the difference between each. I also go on to show you some of my favorite jazz patterns to elaborate the cycle of fifths chord progression.