Kevin's on-line chord wheel
This is a simulation of a chord wheel — a simple tool that musicians
sometimes use to figure out the relationships between chords in a specific key.
Chord wheels are particularly useful for improvising in unfamiliar keys,
or assisting when playing by ear something that you only know in a different
Of course, it's better if you can remember without hesitation that,
for example, D major is the submediant triad of of F# minor, but
many people can't, especially in rarely-used keys.
Unlike the cardboard versions, however, which usually deal only with
major keys, mine lists minor keys as well, which tend to be rather
more complex. The reason for this is that there are two forms of
minor scale in common use (three if you count the ascending and descending
arms of the melodic minor as separate scales). So a larger numbers of
notes is considered diatonic (i.e., within the key) in a minor scale
than a major.
Cardboard chord wheels are usually, well, wheel-shaped, but that's
a bit tricky on a Web page, so mine is rather more like a chord strip.
In fact, there's no real reason to display the chords at all except
for the diatonic ones — cardboard chord wheels only do this because
that's how they work. But presenting all 12 columns does make it
easier to see when you 'spin' the wheel.
Other points to note:
1. There is no particularly significance to the colours of the notes.
They are just different so that it gives more immediate feedback when
you spin the wheel.
2. Similarly, there is no particular significance to the layout of the
rows. Each is in circle-of-fifths order, but that's only to put
the connected chords near each other. I've picked the starting
points for each row purely to group the related chords in the middle.
3. Only diatomic triads are shown. In minor keys, the same root note
may support more than one triad and still be diatonic — this is a
consequence of the multiple minor scales with the same root note.
In practice, larger chords than triads will often be used.
4. 'dim' means diminished fifth, not diminished 7th (which is not a triad).
5. 'aug' means augmented fifth.
6. '#VI' and '#VII' denote the fact that, in minor keys, there may
be more than one version of the sixth and seventh scale degrees.
#VI denotes the sharper of the two possible sixth degrees, while VI alone
represents the flatter. This is a purely arbitrary sharp/flat distinction,
and in pratice you won't usually see the two chords together in the same
Unlike the roman numerals, the actual chord names are not ambiguous.