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CATALOG NO. 361-2016
The Free Circle
Improvisations on the Circle of Fifths


A book in two parts
Part one - Six circular panels (8.5 in. dia.) with (4 color) illustrations printed with hand-cut polycarbonate plates rotated around a central axis in a different position for each color. Center freehand text and cover printed from polymer plates.
Part two - Two circular panels (8.5 in. dia.) with text and circluar staff illustration and cover printed from polymer plates with Music CD and companion video DVD.

Printed on the Luminice Press on Mowhawk Superfine Cover smooth. Covers are Classic Linen. Tyvek hinged accordion binding that opens to display all panels in a 25.5 in. dia. circle
Edition of 25

Click on the images for an enlarged view of the work and more information.

Copies are in private collections
Permanent collection - Swarthmore College, McCabe Library, Special Collections

Creative Commons License
The Free Circle Improvisations on the Circle of Fifths by Thomas Parker Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Free Circle – Improvisations on the Circle of Fifths was designed, composed, performed, printed and bound by Thomas Parker Williams.

Free Circle open

The Circle of Fifths illustrates the relationships of all of the major and relative minor scales in even-tempered music. All possible key signatures are produced by moving through the circle with each scale starting a perfect fifth or seven semitones above the previous scale.

The Free Circle is a musical composition that has six improvised solo passages performed by the artist with an electronic wind instrument and alto saxophone over a pattern of perfect fifths in all possible key signatures. Each solo passes through at least four key signatures arranged as follows:

Major no. 1 (4 bars) Relative Minor no. 1 (8 bars) Major no. 1 (4 bars)
Major no. 2 (4 bars) Relative Minor no. 2 (8 bars) Major no. 2 (4 bars)

The musical structure of the composition is illustrated by the chart with the bass clefs indicating the rolling pattern of fifths in the major and minor key signatures and the treble clef indicating the sustained harmony notes that are played serially, in any order, to make each sixteen-bar pattern.

The solos are illustrated as shapes and colors, relating to the instrument choice as well as the lightness or darkness that I assigned to the key signatures. There are colors for each solo demonstrating major and relative minor keys. Each of the six solo panels has a central text area identifying the key signatures of the solos.

Books closed

Part one open

Part one open

Part one cover

Part one panel 1

Part one panel 2

Part one panel 3

Part one panel 4

Part one panel 5

Part one panel 6

Part two cover

Part two open

Part two staff