Music Theory For Bass – Key Signatures & The Cycle Of Fifths

2017-10-26T14:34:00+00:00October 19th, 2013|Categories: Music Theory For Bass Guitar|17 Comments

This latest lesson on Music Theory for the Bass Guitar covers the concept of key and key signatures as well as the Circle Of Fifths.

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  1. jay December 29, 2013 at 1:19 am - Reply

    I really enjoy your lessons. I am glad I found this website. thanks

  2. […] Lesson 5 – Key Signatures & the Cycle Of Fifths   […]

  3. shawn May 13, 2014 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Besr teacher i have seen on any instrument

  4. Rich June 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Wow Mark another great lesson. Easiest to understand over any I’ve seen.. thanks

  5. joe June 4, 2014 at 5:13 am - Reply

    thx, Mark for that impressive lesson, it blows my mind 🙂

  6. kili June 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    hi Mark-I never write comments,just feel I need to say thanks.I’ve just restarted last year and you’re the only one out there who makes sense.Please don’t stop and thanks again

  7. Anand June 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    hey Mark

    great lesson and a very organised progression of lessons.Thanks a lot.

    However the pdf material attached does not seem to be relating to this I right ?could you please upload again ?

    all the very best


  8. mike December 26, 2014 at 6:47 am - Reply

    great lessons thanks

  9. kili January 1, 2015 at 3:47 am - Reply

    Happy New Year,all the best to you and thanks

  10. Sowad Haque January 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    it’s only because of you i know how to play bass 🙂 you are the best 🙂

  11. abraham mccarthy February 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    thank u for this great lesson

  12. Andrew Stephens July 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm - Reply


    I think your videos are great and your ability to teach is some of the best that I’ve ever seen. There is one thing that I am a little confused about and that is determining what sharps are within a key (video at 11:53). The example on how to find how many sharps are within a key for F#maj and then the transition to figuring out which sharps are in F starting at the F is what’s confusing me. Why does the pattern start at the F? Could you give another example? Also, what are some advantages that are associated with know how many sharps are within a key signature?


  13. Russell Allen August 24, 2015 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Thanks Mark
    Great lesson, finally i get the circle of fifths and how it works.
    easy when someone explains it to you in lay-mans terms

  14. trevor french August 26, 2015 at 12:17 am - Reply

    i noticed that the order of sharps FCGDAEB, is BEAD GC F backwards. so that makes it easier to memorise.

  15. Vitalij Mojsejiv March 18, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Thanks, Mark!
    I’m going to present this Circle of 5th theory lesson to my son. He is studying sax in music school and the Circle is the big problem, as usual. 🙂
    I think your explanation will help much – his main teacher is very good musician, but he didn’t mention those magic word “BEAD”. 🙂
    Thanks again!

  16. Pat Calabrese April 4, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I’ve gone cross eyed

  17. Chris Hughes August 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Great lesson and super web site. Really enjoy your lessons.

    Another way of getting to know the sharps and flats is to use the second tetrachord of the major scale to build the scales while keeping the same distance between each intervals (W-W-H-W-W-W-H) starting with the C major scale.

    Example (first tetrachord: C-D-E-F and second tetrachord: G-A-B-C) gives:

    G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G (G major – one sharp: F#)

    Take the second tetrachord of the G major scale:

    D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D and so on.

    For the flats, you have to remember that the F major scale has one flat (B flat) and use the same principle.

    This is why we get, starting from C and sharps, a circle of fifths and, starting from C and flats, a circle of fourths.

    Sharps (Fifths: 7 semi-tones)

    Flats (Fourths: 5 semi-tones)
    C-F-B flat-E flat-A flat-D flat-G flat-C flat

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