Weekly Workouts: Full Circle


In this Weekly Workout, you’ll learn about modulations in circle-of-fifths progressions. Scott Nygaard explains in his lesson introduction:


Most folk, country, and rock songs remain in one key, allowing soloists to wrap their head around one tonality at a time for at least eight measures or so. But some songs are based on circle-of-fifths progressions that change tonalities rather rapidly, and often. Partial circle-of-fifths progres­sions can be heard in bluegrass (“Salty Dog Blues”), jazz (“Sweet Georgia Brown,” “I Got Rhythm”), country (“Hey, Good Lookin’”), and folk/pop (“Alice’s Restaurant,” “Mrs. Robinson”). There are circle-of-fifths progressions that stay in one key, but also ones that rely on dominant-seventh chords and undergo changes in tonal­ity or in the underlying scale with each chord that make them trickier to navigate for soloing. Here are some ways to navigate these quick tonality changes.

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