|The Cycle of Fifths||| print this page | close this window ||
Harmony organizes itself into patterns of relationships that, to a degree, can be anticipated and predicted. These patterns are most easily seen and discussed in terms of the root motion. The Cycle of Fifths occurs with great frequency in Western Harmony, and therefore in American Music.
This root motion pattern creates a very strong forward momentum, demonstrated in the primary dominant-to-tonic (V7-to-I) / authentic cadence, and in the sub-dominant-to-dominant-to-tonic (IIm7-to-V7-to-I) cadence.
|Dominant to Tonic||Sub-dominant to Dominant to Tonic|
In fact, any dominant chord completes its strongest resolution by moving one step forward through the cycle of fifths to a target. This includes secondary and extended dominants.
|| I V7/II--> |
IIm7 V7/III--> |
IIIm7 V7/IV--> |
IVmaj7 V7/V--> |
V7 V7/VI--> |
VIm7 V7/VII--> |
V7/3rd V7--> |
|| C A7 | Dm7 B7 | Em7 C7 | F D7 | G E7 | Am7 F#7 | G/B G7 | C ||
|| V7--> V7--> |
V7--> V7--> |
V7--> V7--> |
V7/V--> V7--> |
|| G#7 C#7 | F#7 B7 | E7 A7 | D7 G7 | C ||
The Cycle of Fifths can create strong root motion in any circumstance. This includes diatonic harmony and the whole-step II - V series.
|| IIIm7 | VIm7
| IIm7 | V7
| Imaj7 | IVmaj7 ||
|| Em7 | Am7 | Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7 | Fmaj7 ||
|Whole-Step II - V Series|
| IIm7--V7--> ||
|| Cm7 F7 | Bbm7 Eb7 | Abm7 Db7 | F#m7 B7 | Em7 A7 | Dm7 G7 ||
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