Circle of Fifths

A way of thinking of the twelve major and minor keys as a circle, arranged in steps of a fifth, which can be read in either direction. Starting from Cmaj and proceeding clockwise, the key signature of each new key gains one sharp until Fmaj is reached. At that point, FA becomes GBmaj and the cycle continues, removing a flat at each step until back to C. If one goes counter-clockwise, the circle is a series of perfect cadences, with each new tonic key becoming the dominant of the next. For this reason, the Circle of Fifths is often used for modulation, especially to or back from a remote key, i.e., a key on the far side of the circle.