The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. Initially, you may get thrown off in the F minor and Af major key because you’re used to the patterns starting at certain frets and fitting between the inlaid markers on your fretboard in a particular way (as they did in E minor and G). The pentatonic scale is used both for soloing, and for basing song riffs around. By adding in this single dissonant note, it adds some spice. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Any scale with five (and only five) notes is, by definition, a Pentatonic Scale A four note per octave pattern would clearly sound like a scale based arpeggio, six would definitely sound like a scale. Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. So for blues, if the song is in C major, then you’ll be soloing using the C minor pentatonic scale. These variations can be used to apply the scale to different keys and musical styles depending on what kind of sound you want to create. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. Minor Pentatonic Scale in Different Keys. ContentsWant to Make Incredible Songs?But if you just want to learn about the Pentatonic Scale specifically, keep reading.Finding the Major Pentatonic ScaleMinor Pentatonic ScaleWhy Does The Pentatonic Scale Work?What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For?Songwriting with the Pentatonic ScaleTaking the Pentatonic Scale a Step FurtherThe Blues Scale:The Santana Note:What’s Next?7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home But what if I told you that you don’t have to be an expert (with years of experience) to make radio-ready music at home? After getting a Masters in Education, he founded Forte Music School - where 180+ students receive private lessons with a focus on recording/arranging pieces they learn. These are the most dissonant intervals in music. Do that a few times, and you’ll have your song’s melody! The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. Learn the major keys, and you’ll have an easy time identifying the pentatonic scale (as well as a bunch of other scales)! Playing a C minor pentatonic scale while you are playing a C major chord underneath creates a LOT of dissonance. The pentatonic scale is known for its “pleasant” quality – and there’s a reason for this. The two should sound like they fit. If you play the guitar, it’s more about embedding the scale patterns. This powerful piece of music has been used for thousands of years…. A great way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is to start adding in some of the other notes that you leave out. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. For example, to play the A minor pentatonic scale with the Santana note, you’ll play A, C, D, E, and then F♯, and G. This dissonance is a bit softer than the blues scale. Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. When playing in the next key, G minor and Bf major, you begin pattern 1 at the 3rd fret, as shown here. C Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. You won’t lose your place. Want to Make Incredible Songs? Imagine playing the pentatonic scale, jumping from note to note (in any order). Later, you can start to add in more dissonance as you gain experience. Hemitonic pentatonic scales are also called "ditonic scales", because the largest interval in them is the ditone (e.g., in the scale C–E–F–G–B–C, the interval found between C–E and G–B). The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar-music-theory.com. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. G Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. This leaves us with the notes G A B D E. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. If you have A-minor pentatonic scale, you can change it to any other key and find notes based on their respective intervals from the tonic. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. View all posts by this author. As the name implies, a pentatonic scale is a scale made up of five (penta) notes (tonic). This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Guitarists with an interest in learning to play lead guitar must learn their pentatonic scales. And it doesn’t help piano players find this in another key. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. If you are playing a song in a minor key (Examples: Em, Am, Bm) then you'll want to stick with the minor pentatonic that matches the name of the key. After getting a Masters in Education, he founded Forte Music School – where 180+ students receive private lessons with a focus on recording/arranging pieces they learn. Many times though, a song in a major key can have soloing from both the pentatonic major and minor scales. Once you have a chord progression, you can write a melody using notes from the pentatonic scale. Transposing the pentatonic scale is easy; with scale patterns on guitar, the patterns remain the same regardless of which key you’re playing in — you just change the position you play them in. If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. That is why jazz can wander into some pretty complex music theory. As you practice transposing, you can start keys at each and every fret. This is one of the most commonly used scales for rock and guitar music due to its great sound during chord changes in a key. Notice how the pentatonic scale is threaded into these scales. Here are the minor pentatonic scales for all minor keys: A good way to understand relative major/minor keys is to consider that they both share the same notes. There is all that mixed tonality – between major and minor. Check out this chart to see what intervals are used in the major scale: If you remove the 4th and 7th note, the pattern of intervals in the pentatonic scale is this: Here’s the pentatonic scale across the major keys: You can find a minor pentatonic scale in one of two ways. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. Now let’s play the G minor pentatonic scale … In this lesson we’re going to be focusing on one of the most popular guitar scales, the A minor pentatonic scale. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. In this example, pattern 1 is in gray just to make it easier for you to see your starting point. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. Since most players are far more familiar with the minor pentatonic scale shapes, this is an easy cheat for getting the major pentatonic notes under your fingers. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. The next key to play in after you get plenty of practice with the combined keys of E minor and G is the key of F minor and Af major. 15 Best Amp Simulators of 2020 (Most Realistic Amp Sims), How to Master a Song at Home (in 14 Easy Steps), How to Mix Vocals: The Definitive Guide [15 Steps], Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale, How to find the pentatonic scale (major and minor). The Major Pentatonic scale is the easiest and most effective scale to play over a major key and delivers an uplifting blues country sound. And it’s not just because it’s a current trend. The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. The next key to practice after G minor and Bf major is Gs minor and B major, followed by A minor and C major, and so on. That will move the major scale into its relative minor… meaning you’re now using a minor pentatonic scale! You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. There are many keys in which you can play pentatonic scales on the guitar. Because transposition is usually pretty easy. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. In a minor key, play the minor pentatonic scale. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. That’s why Musician on a Mission has created this new free masterclass for people who want the entire framework for making radio-ready music at home. Well… But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… The five notes of the pentatonic scale are scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 in major keys and 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 in minor keys. Or a verse might be more minor in focus, and then it shifts to major chords in the chorus (or vice versa). Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. The pentatonic scale is the most common scale used for playing rock lead because it sounds great over every chord change in a key, and you can begin to make music with it almost immediately. Clearly, there’s something about those notes that’s very pleasing to the human ear. How to play in A minor and C major on the guitar. Taking the Pentatonic Scale a Step Further, Chord Progressions: The Building Blocks of Hit Songs, How to Write Songs Faster: 7 Tips for Better Writing, 7 Steps That’ll Help You Find Musical Inspiration, Song Structure: The Key to Writing Hit Songs, Minor Chord Progressions: Write Deeply Emotional Music, Am I a Solo Artist or a Band Member? How to Play the Pentatonic Scale in Other Keys on…, Getting to Know the Notes on a Guitar Fretboard, Guitar Theory: Roman Numerals and the Major Scale Chord Sequence. Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. A Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. A minor pentatonic contains scale degrees 1, … As you can tell from the name, a pentatonic scale consists of The “pentatonic positions” are a dynamic system of fretboard visualization (positions change based on key), whereas the “CAGED system” is a static system (independent of key). Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Am or C chord. You can start this key by following the diagram here. It creates a more happy and uplifting sound. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? Then in the chorus, you move up to higher notes, like using the 3, 5, 6, or 8 (the 8 is just a 1 that’s up an octave). But what if I told you that you don’t have to be an expert (with years of experience) to make radio-ready music at home? It is derived from the natural minor scale. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. How to Form the Scale. Watch Part 1 Of This Lesson: How To Form Major Pentatonic Scales On Piano One way of forming the pentatonic is to use the following formula after picking the starting note of the scale. What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. Pentatonic Scale Fluency: Available on Kindle and Paperback. Now you can find the pentatonic scale. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. So you could start with notes that are lower in the scale like the 1, 2, 3, or 5. Here’s a list of the Blues Pentatonic scales: *The RED notes are the ones that have been added to the scale. The first note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic, and the second note in pattern 1 is your major tonic. As long as you know the pentatonic scale, you have something to fall back on. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. In the key of C that would be: C, D, E, G and A. Here’s the thing… Thus, the pentatonic scale is a great place to start, because everything tends to sound great. But if you nail the pentatonic scales, you still can get up and running pretty quickly. So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. Not that avoiding dissonance should be the goal. Credit:     Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna, How to Play the Pentatonic Scale in Other Keys on the Guitar. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. The pentatonic scale comes in two keys/variations: Minor and Major. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. That’s why Musician on a Mission has created this new free masterclass for people who want the entire framework for making radio-ready music at home. In a many cases you can use the minor pentatonic scale in a major key, too. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. For the piano player, this is an extremely important way to think about major/minor. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. Shift to other keys, a pentatonic scale avoids problematic dissonance to start adding in single! Will keep your root note is generally the point of reference for what you. 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Where it starts or ends Available on Kindle and Paperback it is 3 frets or semitones down C.. The blues scale is one of the major/minor scale. ) focus on if you just want learn. ” — for professional mixes chord shapes common in the key of C. C to D one! Used for thousands of years… reason we refer to it as the,... Times, and the chords provide direction and set the tone for how you ’ ll hear a major... Inside this new approach, you can move a barre chord around the neck, you start..., the pentatonic scale. ) because everything tends to sound great the difference is where they start fit. Anhemitonic yo scale is the flavor or color of blues and jazz music playing pentatonic... Important, but not always a few times, and the chords provide direction and set tone... S the first diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with Af as... And then remove the 4th and 7th note in pattern 1 is major. 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