Today we will be looking at playing the 6-2-5-1-4 (Circle of Fifths) progression in the key of E. You will be able to play 6 different ways at the end of this lesson, of which 2 are for those playing left hand bass, and the rest are for those playing with a bass player.
So here I have added the video lesson:
For those who love reading, we will start by looking at the number system and scale in the key of E:
Ok now that we have that covered, let's examine the different options...
Option 1With this option, it is assumed that no bass player is playing with, so the bass notes should be played with the left hand. The first chord is played on 6:
It is normal to play an octave in the left hand to make it sound full. Next, you move to the 2 chord. This is how you can play it:
If you playing with a 88 key instead of a 61, feel free to play the F# an octave lower and without the E note. Both ways will work.
Now to play the 5 chord. It can be played like this:
Next, you move to the 1 chord. Please note that if you add the D on the left hand, you cannot play that an octave lower. It will not sound clear. So rather play it as shown in the picture, otherwise you can exclude the D and play the E an octave lower, if you play with an 88 key.
And lastly you can play the 4 chord:
The above option is the 101 version of the circle of fifths movement. In the next option you can add a little bit of change, but still keeping the left hand bass notes.
With this option there's a slight variation on the right hand chords. The first chord is exactly the same as in option 1, so please refer to that chord again. On the 2 chord, your right hand will change to this chord:
Please note the difference in the right hand in comparison to option 1.Next you move to the 5 chord. This is also different on the right hand, and it looks like this:
When you move to the 1 chord, you can start off by playing a melody in your right hand before you play the chord. The melody starts on Ab and moves chromatically down where it meets the chord at F as shown in the picture below:
Once you've landed on the 1 chord, you can play an arpeggio, by going to the inversion of the right hand chord. Please refer to the video tutorial for more on that.
Now to move to the 4 chord. This chord has a bit more going on in the left hand. Again try to play it as shown, if you have an 88 key...
That's it for option 2. Let's move to option 3.
This option must be used when you're playing with a bass player who covers the bass notes. So with the first chord in this option, which is the 6 chord, you will do a left hand walk up that goes from B-C# and ends on Eb. When you play Eb, you play the chord with your right hand, like this:
Please look at the video lesson, if you want to hear how it will sound.
Next you move to the 2 chord. On this chord you can also do a left hand move before you play the chord. You can play B on your left hand before you play the chord. Here is the chord:
Then you move to the 5 chord. This time you can play the chord without the left hand movement, but if you want, you can also add a walk up from A-B and then play the chord like this:
On the 1 chord, which is next, you can see a tri-tone is being played on the left hand. If you don't understand Tri-tones, you can read up more on it or wait for my lesson that's coming soon. So the 1 chord will look like this:
And then lastly you move to the 4 chord:
Ok great. So far so good! Now we can build on option 3 by using some of the chords from option 2, but just an octave higher since we add left hand chords. Let's see...
In this option, you will be playing full two hand chords. On the 6 chord you can play the chord like this:
Add a melody B-C# on the RH before playing the chord. Now for the 2 chord. On this chord you can see that the right hand still plays an Ab major just as in option 2, but differently. This is how it looks:
Don't forget to add the grace note from Bb to C in your right hand. Nice! Let's move on the 5. On the 5 chord you can play this chord:
You can also add a melody A-B on the right hand before you play the chord.
Next you play the 1 chord:
Again, you can play a grace note from Ab-Bb on your right hand. Lastly the 4 chord. This time you can play it like this:
Awesome! We are almost home. Now we can expand on this option by playing around with our right hand chords. The left hand chords remains the same. Let's see what I mean...
In this option the 6 chord is exactly the same as in option 4:
Instead of playing the melody from B-C# you can also play a melody from F# downwards to Eb.
The 2 chord only changes on the right hand like this. If you look closely, you only inverted the right hand chord. This is the only difference.
Next, you move to the 5 chord. Again, it only changed on the right hand like this:
Now for the 1 chord. On this chord you have the option of either playing the F# or F on your right hand making the chord sound different. Let's see...
Did you pick up the difference? Ok great! Then lastly you can play the 4 chord. This is how you can play it:
Nice! Personally, Option 5 is a real keeper. Out of all the options, I would encourage this one and even the last option, which we will look at next.
With the last option you will notice that the right hand moves chromatically down instead of moving upwards as shown in option 5. The left hand movements remains the same as in the previous two options. So let's look at the 6 chord first.
This time, the right hand chord on the 6 is different. Next you can move to the 2 chord:
OK, we are almost there! Now onto the 5 chord...
Second to last, you can play the 1 chord looking like this:
And lastly, we have the 4 chord which is also slightly different on the right hand. Here is how it looks:
WOW!!! We made it to the end. The only thing in this last option was the chromatic movement on the right hand. I hope you picked that up. You can even tell the bass player to play the same chromatic from the 6 all the way to 4.
That's it! Now you have 6 different ways of playing this progression. Also try and play around with inverting your left hand chords and see what you can come up with. You don't have to always play the left hand chords the same, although I do most of the time.
I hope you had fun, and please feel free to comment, like or share this if you did find it helpful. Also don't forget to subscribe to my email to receive reminders to my lessons.