If J.R.R. Tolkien had invented the circle of fifths

30 May 2018, 17:34 | Updated: 30 May 2018, 19:59

Tolkien Circle of Fifths
Tolkien Circle of Fifths. Picture: Odd Quartet

By Kyle Macdonald

One ring to rule them all (in music theory). Here's what might have happened if Tolkien had been a music professor…

The Circle of Fifths is essentially a map of keys. It starts at the top in C major and moving clockwise in fifths, the adjacent keys are the most similar to each other. As you go around the circle clockwise you keep adding sharps, and in the other direction you add flats. Amazing.

This *ring* of keys is esential stuff for any music theory student, unlocking those pesky key relationships within music.

Illustrator Josh Wells, from Odd Quartet had the (frankly genius) idea of fusing it with another famous ring, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Josh said: “Tolkien had a great talent for making the mundane seem epic. Imagine if Tolkien had been a professor of music instead of literature – music theory/music history textbooks would be so much more interesting.”

If you're a Tolkien geek who loves your music theory, this is for you.

View it on the Odd Quartet website and see more of Josh's creations here.

View it on the Odd Quartet website and see more of Josh's creations here.