Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. And by the end of this article, you’ll understand all the ins-and-outs you need to use it in your own music. The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. Let's say we were in the key of A minor. As the "penta-" in the name would suggest, this scale has five notes. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or 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. 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. The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. When playing in the next key, G minor and Bf major, you begin pattern 1 at the 3rd fret, as shown here. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. Songwriting is important, but if your recordings don’t sound professional you’ll have trouble getting heard. If we were writing a song in C major, we could pick three chords: C – Dm – G – C. Verses usually have melodies that are lower in pitch. B flat Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. This scale is a must-know melodic device for guitarists exploring the world of improvised music, be it in the jazz genre or otherwise. 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. 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. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… Pentatonic Scale Fluency: Available on Kindle and Paperback. Best DAW 2020: Which Digital Audio Workstation Works Best For You? The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of the major scale. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. Just as in improvising, or soloing, the pentatonic scale avoids problematic dissonance. 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. The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). In the key of E minor, the notes within the minor pentatonic scale are E, G, A, B and D. Playing from E to E generates a six-note series to complete the octave. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. Minor Pentatonic Pattern #2. The two should sound like they fit. 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. 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). Learn how to use your time more efficiently in this free training video. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. A Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. E to G is a whole step and a half step there are 2 keys between them. In this lesson we’re going to be focusing on one of the most popular guitar scales, the A minor pentatonic scale. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. In a minor key, play the minor pentatonic scale. When you start pattern 1 at fret 5, as shown in gray, you can fit a pattern 5 and a pattern 4 before it. You have some ways to use it, and you know some ways to expand it… So what comes next? Or a verse might be more minor in focus, and then it shifts to major chords in the chorus (or vice versa). Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. 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. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. This note is borrowed from the Dorian mode. Your email address will not be published. View all posts by this author. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. Even though the note numbers are different, you can see that the intervals are exactly the same as the first method we used. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. There are many keys in which you can play pentatonic scales on the guitar. Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones. But using dissonance takes more control and experience. But if you just want to learn about the Pentatonic Scale specifically, keep reading. Most often, songs will start and end on the 1 chord, to establish the key center. Not that avoiding dissonance should be the goal. 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. Author: Lee Nichols Creator of www.guitar-chords.or.uk As you can tell from the name, a pentatonic scale consists of It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. 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. Because transposition is usually pretty easy. Desi Serna, hailed as a music theory expert by Rolling Stone magazine, is a guitar player and teacher with over 10,000 hours of experience providing private guitar lessons and classes. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. But if you nail the pentatonic scales, you still can get up and running pretty quickly. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. It creates a more happy and uplifting sound. Most music these days also uses a blend of major and minor chords. It’s interesting to learn about the scale’s usage thousands of years ago and how it’s still prevalent in modern music making. If you feel a little lost, review how to move from patterns 1 to 5 and back again in the different keys. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Watch this free masterclass now: Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. 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. The term ‘penta’ means 5 in latin. You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales are the jumping off point for most shredding lead guitarists. The pentatonic scale is known for its “pleasant” quality – and there’s a reason for this. In this example, pattern 1 is in gray just to make it easier for you to see your starting point. The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. The pentatonic scale played back and forth is cool, from front to back it is also cool, from middle to end, from end to beginning, from beginning to middle, cool, cool, cool. Guitarists with an interest in learning to play lead guitar must learn their pentatonic scales. The pentatonic scale is used both for soloing, and for basing song riffs around. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. G Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. But it speaks loudly to that scale’s power that humans were jamming on those notes as far back as 5000 BC. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. Also, keep in mind: this is a MINOR scale, but is usually played over a song in the MAJOR key. 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. So you could start with notes that are lower in the scale like the 1, 2, 3, or 5. Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale. Watch this free masterclass and get a complete framework — or “blueprint” — for professional mixes. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. (Possibly the oldest playable instrument in existence.). So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. The major pentatonic scale; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. This should not be confused with the identic… From pop to rock, the pentatonic scale can be seen and heard everywhere. Well done! Here’s the thing… Removing those dissonant intervals gives the pentatonic scale it’s “sing-songy” quality. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. Many times though, a song in a major key can have soloing from both the pentatonic major and minor scales. Now you can find the pentatonic scale. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. The pentatonic scale comes in two keys/variations: Minor and Major. The five notes of the major pentatonic scale are the root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th intervals of the major scale (the 4th and 7th scale degrees are left out). Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. If you play the guitar, it’s more about embedding the scale patterns. There are three ways to play the pentatonic scale pattern for lead guitar solo: A … I mean, it’s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo…. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. Don’t forget to use the open strings when they apply. 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. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. In this lesson, we are going to be in the key of G major. This is a G minor pentatonic scale because the first note we play (sixth string, third fret) is a G note. These are the most dissonant intervals in music. Starting in this position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 before it. Simply move the minor pentatonic scale 3 frets down and you’ll be playing the notes from the major pentatonic scale in the same key. So A minor is our 1or tonic chord - the "home" chord of the key. 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? You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. Most of us do. In this free YouTube lesson from Six String Country, we'll show you how to play the 5 positions of the G Pentatonic scale in any key. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. The more you practice, the more skill you’ll develop. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. Because you are leaving out the notes most likely to create dissonance. And one advantage to all that dissonance is that it can be a lot more forgiving! Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. The higher pattern 1 is positioned on the fretboard, the more space you have to fill behind it leading back to the open position. Musicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. Okay, if you’ve never heard the pentatonic scale in your life, go to a keyboard or piano and play the black keys one after the other. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. That’s the truth. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. Use this diagram as you practice patterns 1 through 5 in this new key. Music will end up sounding flat and boring if you remove all the tension and spice from it. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. Minor Pentatonic Scale in Different Keys. 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. The scale is widely used in pop, classic rock, blues, country and other styles of music. For example, here’s a look at the C major scale: Notice how all the notes are the same, but we have just shifted the root from C to A. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). Master the minor pentatonic scale using the whole fretboard. 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. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. So, if you just want a shortcut to pro-quality mixes, watch this free masterclass now: If you’re playing the piano, the easiest way to discover the pentatonic scale is just to play the black notes. (For example, in Japanese music the anhemitonic yo scale is contrasted with the hemitonic in scale.) It is derived from the natural minor scale. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar-music-theory.com. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. 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). 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). Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. The first note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic, and the second note in pattern 1 is your major tonic. Do that a few times, and you’ll have your song’s melody! The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. The TAB above shows how movable pattern 4 can be used at the 1 st fret in order to play a B flat pentatonic scale. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. This powerful piece of music has been used for thousands of years…. That is why jazz can wander into some pretty complex music theory. In this new key, everything has been moved up one fret from the previous key of E minor and G. Instead of putting the note names in the circles, the intervals are listed with “1” representing the 1st scale degree or tonic. As you know already, the minor pentatonic scale is a movable scale. 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home It comes from the major scale, which is a seven note scale. Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. Later, you can start to add in more dissonance as you gain experience. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. There are good reasons why the pentatonic scale is so widely used. To have a single pattern that works anywhere on the fretboard, we’ll first find the fourth of the key, which is the note, A. You won’t lose your place. 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. The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. The next best way is simply to identify a major scale and then remove the 4th and 7th note in the scale. That is, challenge yourself to change keys while using pentatonic scales. Notice how the pentatonic scale is threaded into these scales. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. Pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. 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). Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. But this is the flavor or color of blues and jazz music. Translating Pentatonic Scale into different Keys. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. The second diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with Af functioning as the tonic, which produces Af major pentatonic. Want to Make Incredible Songs? Of blues and jazz music in music hemitonic in scale. ) any piece of.. Minor pentatonic scale. ) used in pop, classic rock, blues and jazz music know some to! Before it keys, you ’ ll hear the melody a remix started to write/release work as solo! 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And 6th note pentatonic scale is used both for soloing, and the second note in pattern 1 set tone! Semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones most shredding lead guitarists and half steps ) where to spend time. Must-Know melodic device for guitarists exploring the world of improvised music, everything is a minor is our tonic... Flat and boring if you nail the pentatonic scale is named after Carlos because. One thing that gave me the ability to make radio-ready music at home E. the pentatonic scale is upon... Just have to change fretboard position as you practice Transposing, you can start keys at each and fret... Example, in Japanese music the anhemitonic yo scale is widely used in many different genres of music that amateur. Because of how he often uses this note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic is F, you... To think about major/minor that a few times, and you ’ ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed the! — for professional mixes minor pentatonic scale the same started to write/release work as a solo artist is named Carlos... Be seen and heard everywhere isn ’ t mean there isn ’ t help piano players find this another! The piano player, this scale has five notes and why it works so well in many! Usually determine the key of a minor pentatonic scale is the a minor pentatonic scale, but your! The same patterns, but not always and get a complete framework — or “ blueprint —... Scale has five notes in the different keys to this recording, pentatonic scale in the key of a the commonly. Complete framework — or “ blueprint ” — for professional mixes the ability to make professional quality music home... Starting in this position, you ’ ll never use these two intervals: the minor tonic is,! Use the C major chord underneath creates a lot of dissonance 5 pentatonic Positions either hemitonic anhemitonic!