Circle Harmony is an applied music theory curriculum designed to introduce core concepts of key relations and basic harmony around the circle of fifths. The approach focuses on exploring scales, fifth relations and primary chords through playing as well as writing. Lesson slides are designed in a clear and visually attractive way and can be used as teaching guides or given to students as handouts.


The curriculum for Circle Harmony 1 is downloadable as a 127-page ebook and is divided into three parts:


  • Part 1: The Circle of Fifths - tetrachords, building major scales, fifth relations, sharp key signatures, flat key signatures, relative minor scales
  • Part 2: Primary Chords - scale degrees 1 - 4 - 5, tonic - subdominant - dominant, I - IV - V(7) chords, i - iv - V(7) chords, playing primary chord cadences in all positions, transposition of primary chords, harmonisation and creative discovery activities, quick study activities
  • Part 3: Scales & Chords Around the Circle of Fifths


Parts 1 and 2 present lessons and activities around scale building, key relations, chord building and Roman numeral analysis. Part 3 includes checklists for applying these concepts at the instrument at 3 different difficulty levels. This approach can be used to seed theoretical understanding at the earliest stages of learning through to developing a full understanding of tonal diatonic harmony. Circle Harmony is designed to provide the groundwork for more formal music theory studies up to and including grade 5 of the various exam boards. This resource can be used for teaching from an Elementary to a Late Intermediate level.


The Circle Harmony curriculum and workbooks are created by the School of Music Theory. You can read more about the School of Music Theory by going to:

Circle Harmony 1 - Scales and Chords Around the Circle of Fifths