The Pyramids Variations
Pyramids with the Circle of Fifths

The circle of fifths is the most powerful chord sequence in Western harmony. You cannot study popular music harmony for long without learning about it. You will recognise it when you hear it, and once you know about it, you will hear it in music all the time.

Here's an audio performance of Pyramids with circle-of-fifths chord changes.

Pyramids_CF_M1

Here is the scrolling MS module video performance.

Watch it on MisterMusicarta YouTube

Adapting the Pyramids bass line

The Pyramids bass line can easily be adapted to show the circle of fifths in action by lowering every other note an additional third. Look at the bass line of Pyramids as we have played it so far.

(The audio file covers both examples.)

Pyramids_CF_M2

This is the zigzag line of bass notes you have seen in many diagrams. The bass note falls a third then rises a second. Nine of the thirteen chord changes in Pyramids (underlined in the example above) follow this pattern.

Now compare the new circle of fifths bass line.

Instead of falling a third then rising a second, the bass note now falls a fifth or rises a fourth. (Falling a fifth and rising a fourth both get you to a note of the same name.) All but one of the chord changes follow the new pattern.

Adapting the Pyramids chord sequence

To adapt the Pyramids left hand part to show the circle of fifths, we only need to change five bass notes in a 16-bar A1A2 version.

The next music example shows the ‘old’ left hand version with the stems up, plus the ‘new’ circle of fifths version with the stems down, both on the same stave. You will play stems-down notes to create the new version. Notice the five bars that are different.

At this point, using the down-stem music above for the left hand, and any right hand Pyramids music, you could play a 16-bar A1A2 version Pyramids which incorporates the circle of fifths. Here are the first four bars of a simple-melody circle of fifths version. Try to complete it, comparing how it sounds to the original version.

Pyramids_CF_M1

The Pyramids circle of fifths chord sequence

Of course, if we change the bottom note of a left hand Pyramids chord, we will have changed the root, and therefore the chord will have a new name.

These new chords are called seventh chords. Here are all the seventh chords in the Pyramids circle of fifths version. The shaded diamond marks the old root.

 Dmin7 (bars 2 and 10)

Key: L = LH chord  R = RH chord  M = melody note

Pyramids_CF_M3

 Cmaj7 (bars 4 and 12)

Pyramids_CF_M4

 Bm7ë5 (bar 6)

Pyramids_CF_M5

You already know major and minor seventh chords from the 'B section'.

The Bm7ë5 (B minor seven flat five) chord is the only new type of chord here. It looks like a D minor chord with B in the bass.


Pyramids_CF_M6

Previous versions of Pyramids and the circle of fifths

It’s easy to over-use the circle of fifths. For practice, play the Pyramids version on page 116 of the Workbook, which uses all the possible circle of fifths chords. Then play the versions shown in the chord charts on this page, which use only some of the possible circle of fifths chords.

In a way, versions with fewer circle of fifths chords sound more sophisticated than ones that use every possible circle of fifths chord.

Pyramids_CF_M7

A 32-bar AABA version incorporating the circle of fifths might look like this.

Pyramids_CF_M8

Now go on to the Suspensions module.



Thanks for studying with MUSICARTA!
- Come again soon! -

PYRAMIDS
VARIATIONS
MEMBER’S NAV


MUSICARTA
PUBLICATIONS

exciting keyboard
creativity study


THE MUSICARTA
- HANON -

video course
The Musicarta Hanon cover
Introductory offer
price on Udemy
$10.95 ONLY
BUY NOW!

GREENSLEEVES
Creative Keyboard

video course
GREENSLEEVES

THE MUSICARTA
BEAT AND RHYTHM
WORKBOOK
12-bar Styles Workbook
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

PIANO SOLOS
- Volume 1 -
Piano Solos Vol. 1
ONLY $19.95
Buy Now
Browse the contents

THE MUSICARTA
12-BAR PIANO
STYLES WORKBOOK
Musicarta 12-bar Piano Styles
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

THE
MUSICARTA MODES
WORKBOOK
Musicarta Modes Workbook
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

MUSICARTA EASY
PIANO STYLE
Musicarta Easy Piano Style
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

THE
CANON PROJECT

video course
The Canon Project
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
ALSO ON UDEMY!
FIND OUT MORE

THE PYRAMIDS
VARIATIONS

video course
The Pyramids Variations
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
ALSO ON UDEMY!
FIND OUT MORE
KEY CHORDS VOL.1
Key Chords Vol.1
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

'Chords for Carl'
- Piano Solo -

video course

Chords for Carl
ONLY $12.95
Buy Now
ALSO ON UDEMY!
FIND OUT MORE

‘Mariaan’
- Piano Solo -

ONLY $12.95
Buy Now
FIND OUT MORE!

All the Musicarta
YouTube playlists
Pyramids
Pentatonics
Canon Project
Key Chords
Modes
Musicarta
Easy Piano
Musicarta
Blues & 12-bar
Beat & Rhythm
Solos
'Mariaan'
Chords for Carl
Songbook
Basic Music-
making Position
Left-hand-over
Style
Suspensions
Enya Solos
Scales
Technical Exercises
Triads and Inversions