~ THE HARMONY WHEEL - An In-Depth Overview ~



The Harmony Wheel, quite simply, is an holistic overview of music theory in one, user friendly format. The front remaining constant, the 2nd, or rear wheel being moveable and for purposes of this explanation, referred to as the "Modes of Operations Wheel". The purpose of the interaction of these two wheels, quite simply stated is to illustrate the intrinsic and exacting laws governing musical harmony theory, and demonstrating to all who use it, that BELIEVE IT OR NOTmusic theory is quite a bit easier to understand than many of you realize. The reasons why this is so and can even be put into a format such as the Harmony Wheel, is simply as follows: ALL MUSIC, regardless of style, follows definite theory rules of thumb that for the most part replicate over and over and when broken down, analyzed and committed to memory, become not the terrifying ugly sinister stepbrother of quantum physics, or the torturous Algebra class you flunked last year, but on the contrary, it is your best friend and roadmap/compass that can guide you to a clear, concise, and frankly, amazing insight into the mechanics of music theory, that those that have used it, with even a minimal understanding of how it works, have been amazed at its ability to clarify so many tenets of music theory in such a fast, effective fashion. This is not a scam, an unneeded, or poorly written book, there are no promises that it will give you perfect pitch in 10 days or"your money back" .

What it does offer, is a schematic, so to speak, of how all music is structured, the relationships all notes have to each other, and how all of that wonderment you hear as MUSIC, whatever it is you love and feel so impassioned to create, and whatever style you love, well, it ALL comes from the same place. In that regard, the Harmony Wheel is both universal and eclectic. And, as we are sure you will agree, after incorporating it into your musical studiesA little bit of Musical Theory goes a long way! In fact, we guarantee it!! So! Let's get started. Journey with us into the realms of Harmony

The Harmony Wheel can make good with its claims of having "every note in Western Music at your fingertips" because it does. The reason is because it is built off the circle of 5th's, the Rosetta stone of music theory seemingly FOREVER! WHAT? You may be asking yourself, is the circle of 5th's? Well. The circle of 5th's is essentially, a very straight ahead schematic (diagram if you will) of how, much like a simple major scale (DO/RA/ME/FA/SO/LA/TI/DO) must come back around to its octave tone, so too must every key in Western Music come full circle back around to the originating key it started on AND is set up to do just that, mathematically. Far from leading one into quantum physics or trig Algebra, the math employed is more akin to grade school flash cards. For instance, can you count to 5? Most among us here on the planet past the age of 3, and several smart animals (Lassie comes to mind on this one) are capable of such a feat, so we assume you are also.

When we count to the 5th degree of any major scale (DO/RA/ME/FA/SO-our 5th tone) We start a new key, then take the 5th tone of that key, and start a new key, and take the 5th of that key etc. Eventually we arrive home to the key we started at. This is all set up to coincide in a very straight forward, logical manner, due to mathematics and the measurement of vibration.

Also see ~The One Page Nashville Number System / Fretboard Chart / Music Theory Guide~ .. totally complements the Harmony Wheel and fits in your 3 ring notebook - great resources to learn or review all aspects of music theory, no matter your instrument played, skill level or musical style. No music reading is necessary to use the "One Page" or the "Harmony Wheel" Unique "Color-CODED" Sections for EASY use.

Not to sound "too complex" or abstract, the vibrations we are talking about are per say, on guitar string vibrations when plucked, the pitch we tune our guitar to. This is what we mean by vibrations. It also just happens to be the case, if you want to play an "A440" note, you better be tuned to A440 (cycles per second) because there is no other way we know of in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE of playing an "A" note. Neither Mozart or Beethoven could, and it's highly probable that EVEN Dr. Duck doesn't know either, though we haven't asked him.

As simply put as is possible, there are basic laws governing the interplay of notes and the most beautiful and amazing thing about music being its wonderful abstractions playing freely over a field of physical laws that are concrete and constant as gravity, as certain as taxes and as unchanging as birth/death. The emotive expression and release, its infinite potentialities (for all practical purposes), its countless melodies ARE ALL MADE POSSIBLE by the fact that our immutable laws (that means unchangeable laws for those of you that had a hard time counting to 5) are the very reason that we can enjoy the freedoms and diversity that musical expression provides us with. It offers us a bedrock solid common ground that frankly serves as the root of the tree giving blossom to the many diverse branches, leaves and fruits.

The study of harmony, is to study the many ways that all the different combinations of notes all fit and work together to create an infinite number of harmonic patterns. As one realizes that all guitars have frets that are the same distance apart relative to scale, looks at a piano and sees the same replicated patterns of white and black keys, realizes that instrument makers have built instruments based on the same unchanging laws governing harmonics, for centuries and that they apply to all instruments everywhere, one then understands that there is a degree of certitude, uniformity and commonality to all music and instruments which resembles that of humanity.

Though no two people are exactly alike, we all have uniformity of body systems, organs, blood, heart , skin etc. As all instruments and musical styles, melody, chords etc, are varied, they all share the same common ground, all made possible by those same laws, inherent throughout the spectrum that the study of theory, regarding music, points to.

For instance, let's dig into the major scale. Pick a key. Any key. Let's go with "C".

Obviously you death metal heads might feel a bit un-hip singing DO/RA/ME/FA/SO/LA /TI/DO. BUT! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING EVERY TIME YOU PICK UP YOUR GUITAR, BASS, OR KEYBOARDS!

Every time you sing a metal song in a major key, that's exactly what you are doing. Picking a succession of notes from the major key and screaming or growling them into the mic. This my friends is a truism - can't escape it.

Far beyond that the Major Scale is very important to Western Music is that it is more or less the mother of all our other scales, so to speak. Many of you have bought instructional books or scale books and if self taught it is a good possibility that you've learned things piecemeal and "on the fly" but have yet to discover that they all fit together in a much larger integrated system that once grasped, clarifies so many things, that it will do nothing short of amaze you!

As we view our major scale in such a way as to see it simplistically enough as the "mother of all scales", we then can start to envision the branches leaves and blossoms which issue forth within very different "harmonic patterns of form, creating the wondrous diversity we have come to recognize as trees, not one tree is anything at all like any other tree, even it's own genus, yet they all are derived from the same abstractions of "tree trunk, branches, leaves, blossoms etc.throw in some bark and roots and depending on whether they are derived from an apple seed or acorn etc., are all trees!

One can use this figurative " imagination logic" to great effect regarding music and music theory as well as comprehending the vast world of myriad form around us. If we can do this, the structural variations of our different scales will be a snap.

For openers, and laid out quite simply are our major and relative (Aeolian) minor key and scale relationships, illustrated via the wheel. If we realize that just by starting on our 6th degree of our MAJOR SCALE we derive our "relative minor scale"(one where we can see that our scale patterns are naturally altered so as our minor scale is AUTOMATICALLY produced. To really grasp a rather simplistic point that once grasped will help one get a handle on many other points governing musical theory, it is important that our major and minor relationships, whether chordal, note-wise, or via the relativity of keys is determined and set up via our relative minor 6th interaction.

TO CLARIFY THIS POINT let us point out that "C" and "Am" have 1,000's of more things in common, harmonically, than "C" and "Cm" do, though to the beginner this might seem a hard thing to grasp. DUE TO THE HARMONIC MINOR 6th RELATIONSHIP, which we can see and understand via our wheel, to find the scale and key that "Cm" interacts with, let's check out our key of "Eb". We will see that melodically, our "Cm" interacts with our "Eb" key sharing the same number of "b's" that our "Eb" has in it's key signature, which is 3.

In reviewing how we arrive at forming our "cm" chord from our "Cmajor" chord, we will see that our 3rd degree of our "C" triad is "E" which we "flat" 1/2 scale tone, arriving at C Minor. Not surprising at all when we become just a little bit familiar with understanding our relative minor connections with "Eb".

The truly cool thing about the Harmony Wheel is that until we can commit these tenets of theory to memory, is that we can follow the Harmony Wheel and it can assist us, much like a compass as we explore and experiment with our different keys and scales, along with our chord relationships.

Experimenting with guitar harmonies like the Allman Bros. and wishing to see how they are formed from a schematic overview to guide you to realizing that every harmony you play or sing with whatever instrument is formed the same way, once you get the hang of it? Let's go simply to any given key on the wheel and play our major scale. If we have a "guitar buddy", band mate or multi track recorder, just go to whatever scale degree we wish and then play to the complete octave note of the major scale, STARTING ON WHATEVER SCALE DEGREE , and play to that SAME SCALE DEGREE AN OCTAVE HIGHER!!! (example: in "C", if starting on "C", and going to our 3rd (Which is "E", and PLAYING OUR SAME SCALE, only ending with an Octave "E" we will see how this creates our 3rd Harmonies in the key of C.

Going to our 5th tone (which we can see is "G") & by repeating the same process, we will see and understand how we form our 5th harmonies. The same holds true for all scale degrees, and if we want to use the color patterns think of them as a great aid in helping us locate our harmony patterns transpose from one key to the next and also help us learn, understand and develop our organizational music memory for how we build our triads.

Moving on to "song construction", possibly the most helpful and coolest thing about the Harmony Wheel is how it aids in comprehending song/compositional construction AND how all of our favorite or ORIGINAL pieces of music are indeed in fact constructed. Here it is probably best to buy or borrow, check out from a library different songbooks with the songs of your favorite artists or bands.

Also see ~The One Page Nashville Number System / Fretboard Chart / Music Theory Guide~ .. totally complements the Harmony Wheel and fits in your 3 ring notebook - great resources to learn or review all aspects of music theory, no matter your instrument played, skill level or musical style. No music reading is necessary to use the "One Page" or the "Harmony Wheel" Unique "Color-CODED" Sections for EASY use.

Here, a good rule of thumb is as follows:

1)- After obtaining the songbook, go to the appropriate song, and view the key signature

2)- Compare it to the key signature on the Harmony Wheel. We can see what key we are in due to the number of sharps(#'s)/flats(b's) on the face of the Wheel.

3)- Once we have that together, let's zero in on the "Consonant Chord mode" and compare it to the letters lined up, we can readily see this by the color band, even if we are rather far away from the Index section.

4)- After finding the patterns of notes let's see what the pattern is. It should be Major/minor/minor/major/major/minor/minorb5 and it's back to our octave, the same tone or corresponding chord we started on.

5)- Now let's review whatever song it is that we are trying to see and understand how it is structured. You will see in most cases it IS or is some form of one of our consonant chords built off of our tones. In some cases the "note" will be the same, but it will be some form of it. Perhaps an A-minor 6th instead of an A-minor, or 7thperhaps it says A-7th instead of following the "consonant chord pattern". This is due to usage of "Accidentals". When viewing our chord structure as it pertains to our 7th tone, we will find our dominant 7th more predominantly than our major 7th (here just use the letter name in parenthesis). Most of you will be UTTERLY SHOCKED TO FIND OUT that one can trace the journey of our chord structures from verse through the Chorus, via our Harmony Wheel and start to see that, quite simply that's how are songs are indeed structured.

As we dissect more complex forms of music we will start to run across modulations(the introduction of new keys etc.) But this should assist you in at least getting started. Believe me, once you start to get the hang of things, what a fun journey it can become!!!

Also, once you start to see that music is comprised of very definite organizational patterns, you will, in most probability, start to amaze yourself how you will quite naturally, pick up on things, and all by yourself.

Again, as pertaining to song construction, when starting out and being a "borderline complete novice", or 100% beginner, it is best to start out with songs of a folkie, slower ballad-like or moderate tempo type nature-even if hard driving up-tempo rock is your music of choice, as for one thing, you can handle the speed of the chord changes, strums etc. much easier, and let's face it, even the drivingest band has slow, ballad-like material.

Some suggestions here are Beatles, Eagles (due to the craftsmanship of the songs), Dylan, James Taylor etc. As there are a lot of ballads, stock chords that can be easily played AND though you might be struggling with the chord changes or strumming, you can still make something that resembles music. Another reason that this is a good idea is that these kind of songs were written in a predominantly "songwriter mode" to begin with, thus they can easily be broken down to a voice, one guitar or piano and a series of stock chords and still retain the character and feeling of the song. Contemporary country, traditional folk & country as well as simple blues, celtic folk and lots of Broadway musical standards lend themselves to this treatment quite readily.

The trouble with much of contemporary rock, pop, hip hop and the like for a beginner, is that the sound of the music relies more on riffs, synthesized and multi-layered synth sounds, as well as multi-layered rythmic tracks, or a recurrent lick that the song is built around, as well as a dependence with some bands and material on "hot-licks" that a beginner simply can't play when they first attempt the guitar. When any of these things are missing, the song loses its character, feeling, and any semblance of resembling it's original sound.

If you are not a beginner, but somewhat intermediate, there are a whole bunch of things the Harmony Wheel can assist you with. A few are as follows:

1)- Improvisation and melody creation: By playing any of your scale tones in ANY ORDER, you can play all day and never run out of melodic invention possibilities or riffs chops and hot licks that are available to you. If you know your blues boxes and major and minor scales mix and match. By utilizing your chord changes for the appropriate key you will see that the scale tones will fit WITH ANY CHORD CONSTRUCTION YOU MIGHT COME UP WITH!!!!! They do so effortlessly and most naturally. This applies to both guitar and piano.

If you can play your blues boxes, dig into them and find the theory behind them and what constitutes your "blue notes" of b3rd, b5th, and b7th in any given key. Check them out via the wheel and then find them on your keyboard or fretboard!

Are you a slave to the tab sites but have not a clue to any QUITE BASIC theory, just parroting what you see, don't shortchange yourself, you can find out "why" what you're learning works in one song and then be able to incorporate it into any key.

Playing songs in the basement with hopes of something "more" down the road? Your lead singer can't sing the song in the appropriate key so once learned in any given key, utilize the color band and find that song in any key (hint here, is just play the chords in the same color band that correspond to the original key.)

2)- If you are attempting to grow out of "garage band status" or R&R gunslinger aspirations, the Harmony Wheel can aid you in growing into a more adept musician, more well versed within different idioms and able to understand more complex chord forms, the modes etc. IT LENDS ITSELF EXTREMELY WELL as a learning addendum to any book, and once having a degree of understanding to how it functions you can cross-reference quite well with any instructional book, and often times things that are hard to grasp in a more linear fashion, are quite easily seen with a more aerial view which the Wheel provides ( by this we mean reading from left to right, via text, tab, and/or instructive diagram.)

By aerial, we mean looking at things from a perspective more akin to an airplane's view of any given topographyl ike seeing the relationships all laid out at once. In some cases the combination of the two working in consort can make many things exceedingly clear like OH, NOW I GET IT !! - An example of this effect is most easily seen by how we view our guitar grids, all you guitar players out there.

Many of you will be quite surprised to think of the limitations accompanying seeing your guitar chords as consisting of a little "box grid". In reality they are hardly that, though when we learn them we see our open "D" a certain way, our "A" another, our "G" and "C" another and so on. Our barre(power)chords another, and so on. When we are playing simple folk or Rock, country or folk, the limitations are not really all that apparent, except possibly in the lack of our soloing ideas.

When we think like this, we really aren't gonna set anybody on fire or have them jump up and take notice. In reality, the way we see our chord formations, or our leads as little series of blues box patterns that we string together, is just a limitation.

What we are playing ARE TRIADS THAT CAN BE SET UP IN ANY VOICINGS, AND CAN BE USED IN ANY COMBINATION OF OCTAVE TONES, PEDAL TONES DRONE 9th's,TONICS, 5th's etc. and our solo's ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME BASIC THINGWE CAN JUMP OCTAVES, WE CAN EMOTE WITH A MELODIC IDEA IN THE LOWER REGISTERS AND RE-INSTATE THE SAME PASSAGE WITH GREAT DRAMATIC EFFECT!!!We can slow down our 1,000 licks a second conception that really goes nowhere, and start to construct meaningful emotive passages, turn the speed on when we wish, but not keep playing fast to merely, so to speak"fill up the measures" as we don't know how to play off our contrasting energies of space, notes, melodic intent and purpose and utilize the dramatic elements awaiting our discovery!.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when we start to build jazz chordings or attempt to transform ourself from a basic rock player to a jazz player (where chord theory and knowledge of textures are EVERYTHING) or a more advanced "chicken pickin'country guitarist extraordinaire", or a Segovia or Randy Rhoades, Steve Vai classically influenced guitar virtuoso. HERE AT ANY OF THESE POINTS WE MUST PITCH THE "BOX". A simple example of this logic is as follows:

If you've ever purchased a chord encyclopedia and tried to memorize all the guitar chords by rote and tried to use them effectively you've found it can't be done without some kind of basic theory knowledge, and even then it won't come off very effectively. How much EASIER to build chords on the spot with tremendously developed chord knowledge. To voice guitar lines with piano lines, to play over implied tonal centers, to have a truck full of substitutions and/or play through keys with the bass players line holding down the tone center and building inversions alone or with keys, horns or other guitarists with common scale tones, common to different keys creating amazing textural possibilities that awaits you once outside of the box!

3)- On a level much more akin to the beginner, many of you do not realize that when we strum an open basic "G" chord on a guitar, we are striking all 6 strings, but only playing 3 notes---we are doubling up on our strings an octave apart, certain notes for desired effect. That is all. The same is true with piano, and in many instances to much greater effect, due to having 10 fingers to converse several given octaves at any given time, not to mention pedal tones in 5th's, a recurring bass line etc.

This is hitting upon what the developers of the Harmony Wheel are pointing to, by getting an overview of basic, functional music theory

Also see ~The One Page Nashville Number System / Fretboard Chart / Music Theory Guide~ .. totally complements the Harmony Wheel and fits in your 3 ring notebook - great resources to learn or review all aspects of music theory, no matter your instrument played, skill level or musical style. No music reading is necessary to use the "One Page" or the "Harmony Wheel" Unique "Color-CODED" Sections for EASY use.

If any questions remain regarding the Harmony Wheels basic use, you can contact me, Robert Creveling. I am the Harmony Wheel's creator, feel free to write me at Robert Creveling c/o Ducks Deluxe - P.O.Box 35677, Las Vegas, Nevada. 89133 - U.S.A. Thanks for checking it out!! Hope this helps you understand the immense world of music a little better!! - Remember, practice makes perfect!! Later, Dude

On-Line Order Form
- or -
Print out PDF Order Form and fax or mail it in - or use for an order worksheet and go shopping for all your guitar supply needs

Phone Toll Free 877-DrDUCK8
Phone 702-878-4948
fax 702-878-4959

[Home] [Guitar Dates] [Guitar Polish][Guitar Strings] [Dr.Ducks T-Shirts] [Guitar Accessories Extravaganza] [Musicians Ultimate Notebook] [Win A Ducky Award] [Musicians Copyright Kit] [Musicians Jokes] [Music Quotes][FREE Booked Dates Calendars] [Hot Web Links] [Our Guarantee] [FREE Set Lists][e-mail Dr.Duck]
Contact ...

P.O.Box 35677-I
Las Vegas, Nv. 89133

fax 702-878-4959
or e-mail ducks deluxe