Behold and Hearken! The Blessèd Circle of Fifths…
Beginning at the top with a low A and following clockwise, we cycle through the 12 tones of Equal Temperament, spanning seven octaves, ascending a fifth at a time, till we return once again to the octave and back to the A. Drag your mouse in clockwise circles to experience the incredible power of the octave harnessed in circular high-fives.
Here it is on a piano, using the full range.
The Circle of 5ths is a classic visualization of the 12 tones and their relationships first illustrated by Russian theorist Nikolay Diletsky in his 1679 treatise Grammatika.
If we draw a straight line down from the A, we divide the octave in half, and get the half-octave, or tritone. Inscribing a cross inside the circle, we get the symmetrical diminished scale (A F# D# C), which divides the octave into 4 equal minor third intervals.
The tritone interval is exactly 600 cents, used to be called ‘Diabolus in Musica’ in the Middle Ages, and was long avoided in musical practice for being too dissonant. It flourished in modernism and metal music, and continues to be popular today anytime a composer wants to invoke the dark lord in song without having to reverse the tape.
Keeping with our occult mindset, if we combine some geometry with some music we get the fledgling pseudoscience of geomusic. That’s not geo-music, like Earthy Music, like the Hum of our Planet, or the Lightning Tones of the Atmosphere, but geomusic. Pronounce it like geometry, and then never say it again.
The octave divided into 3 equal intervals gives us the augmented chord, as well as a curious symbol of esoteric traditions.
The circumscribed triangle above is a popular symbol of Occultists, Kabbalists, Rosicrucians, Masons, Satanists, and Uroborosists etc. The equilateral triangle inside a circle has been used as the AA logo, and can be seen on the back of a $1 in the Great Seal of the US. In the occult it is called the Devil’s Door, and used to summon daemons. It is a symbol of authoritative agencies, ritual magickal practitioners, and math students.
The tones found at the vertices of the triangle form an augmented chord (A C# F). While the above circumscribed cross divided the octave into 4 minor thirds, the circumscribed triangle divides the octave into 3 equal major thirds.
The stacking of happy-sounding Major Third intervals results in a very scary-sounding chord. It almost sounds like a triangle trapped inside a circle. The dissonance hides behind consonance, like evil lurking beneath a thin veneer of goody-two-shoeness.
Men have found the dark lord in backwards pop songs, detuned intervals, and now smack dab in the holiest of holies, the Circle of Fifths.
The dissonance draws out our delusion. In both the augmented chord and the diminished chord, there is the need for resolution, and since none is provided, there is tension. Tense sweet tension.
It reminds of what the Yellow Emperor used to say,
Music begins with fear, and because of this fear there is dread, as of a curse. Then I add the weariness, and because of the weariness there is compliance. I end it all with the confusion and because of the confusion there is stupidity. And because of the stupidity there is the Way, the Way that can be lifted up and carried around wherever you go.
Musical Geometry – the circumscribed triangle idea as applied to the circle of 5ths comes from this very questionable documentary (though it probably originated elsewhere). Seriously, don’t click that.
Tritone Paradox – Satanic Psychotronic Ritual. Do it with friends!
How to Circumscribe Yourself – a triangle is born inside a circle
The Turning of Heaven – by Chuang Tzu