Every Musician’s Mandala


The Circle of Keys a/k/a The Circle of Fifths

Memorize it as an analog clock. Twelve hours in a day, twelve keys in our system of music.

It is an order of notes, a parallel order of keys (key signatures) as well as a corresponding sequence pattern for very common harmonic progression possibilities composed throughout the history of Western music.

Listen to what all twelve tones sound like with the resonance and overtones ringing on a grand piano, going around clockwise beginning with the lowest C on the piano and going up eleven intervals of a perfect fifth to the highest F:

On a deeper level, this all-important mandala  resonates a self-organized tonal gravity field where all tones are in unity with the tonic (the “DO” or scale step one). This refers to all 12 tones are related by their inherent vibration as a building block of the interval of a perfect fifth as explained in George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization.

Here are some of the best examples of the circle of 5th. You’re welcome to download the images you like best.


Watch a very informative, animated, narrated history and detailed explanation of the musician’s mandala in this video:

footnote: The “Featured Image” mandala showing the Circle of Fifths illustrated as an interval matrix polygon at very top of this blog post is credited courtesy of Marshall Lefferts, where he explores the fractal holographic nature of the cosmos. Check out his profound work at the COSMOMETRY website.