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. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. The more you practice, the more skill you’ll develop. In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. By adding in this single dissonant note, it adds some spice. The pentatonic scale is used both for soloing, and for basing song riffs around. Trying to learn to play the pentatonic scale? 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. If you are playing blues or jazz, there’s also another important distinction to keep in mind: Blues usually focuses solely on the minor pentatonic scale. Well done! A great way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is to start adding in some of the other notes that you leave out. Later, you can start to add in more dissonance as you gain experience. I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. It’s not just the major/minor pentatonic scales that are derived from the major keys. As you will find out, this can be helpful SOMETIMES, but not always. 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. If you want to see this applied to the various minor keys, click on the minor pentatonic key of your choice below: A - Bb - B - C - C# - D - Eb - E - F - F# - … 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). You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. Feeling overwhelmed with recording and mixing? Well… 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. And one advantage to all that dissonance is that it can be a lot more forgiving! This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. As you move up to transpose again, the next key that you can play the pentatonic scale patterns in is Fs minor and A major. A good melody needs context, and the chords provide direction and set the tone for how you’ll hear the melody. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. The first diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with F as the tonic, which produces F minor pentatonic. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. Minor Pentatonic Scale in Different Keys. This should not be confused with the identic… Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. Removing those dissonant intervals gives the pentatonic scale it’s “sing-songy” quality. 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? Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. Let's say we were in the key of A minor. Want to Make Incredible Songs? The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. A pentatonic scale consists of … There are three ways to play the pentatonic scale pattern for lead guitar solo: A … Not that avoiding dissonance should be the goal. But that doesn’t help guitar players (or any other instrument). As the name implies, a pentatonic scale is a scale made up of five (penta) notes (tonic). Learn the major keys, and you’ll have an easy time identifying the pentatonic scale (as well as a bunch of other scales)! The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. The major pentatonic scale; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. That will move the major scale into its relative minor… meaning you’re now using a minor pentatonic scale! Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. Songwriting is important, but if your recordings don’t sound professional you’ll have trouble getting heard. The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. You have some ways to use it, and you know some ways to expand it… So what comes next? But it speaks loudly to that scale’s power that humans were jamming on those notes as far back as 5000 BC. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. 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. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. So A minor is our 1or tonic chord - the "home" chord of the key. It’s interesting to learn about the scale’s usage thousands of years ago and how it’s still prevalent in modern music making. Even though the note numbers are different, you can see that the intervals are exactly the same as the first method we used. 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. Now you can find the pentatonic scale. In this lesson we compare the 5 CAGED shapes to the 5 Pentatonic Positions. There is all that mixed tonality – between major and minor. Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. The first note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic, and the second note in pattern 1 is your major tonic. From pop to rock, the pentatonic scale can be seen and heard everywhere. That is, challenge yourself to change keys while using pentatonic scales. If you feel a little lost, review how to move from patterns 1 to 5 and back again in the different keys. Your email address will not be published. The only thing that changes is the center of gravity (i.e., the root note). It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. 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 So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? Most of us do. You can start this key by following the diagram here. Because transposition is usually pretty easy. In country, a major pentatonic scale is perfect for leads on the guitar, banjo, lap steel, fiddle, or mandolin. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. This leaves us with the notes G A B D E. Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. I mean, it’s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo…. Translating Pentatonic Scale into different Keys. 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. For the piano player, this is an extremely important way to think about major/minor. And it doesn’t help piano players find this in another key. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? 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? major pentatonic scale, C, D, E, G, and A with scale degrees of 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 (8 representing the root’s octave) as seen below: C’s relative minor pentatonic scale, A minor pentatonic, begins on the 6 th scale degree of the major pentatonic scale (shown above). In a many cases you can use the minor pentatonic scale in a major key, too. As you can tell from the name, a pentatonic scale consists of It creates a more happy and uplifting sound. 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. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. Best DAW 2020: Which Digital Audio Workstation Works Best For You? 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. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. As you continue to move up to new keys, you increasingly play more patterns behind pattern 1. 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 location of the two tonics and their common chord shapes remain the same, too. So for blues, if the song is in C major, then you’ll be soloing using the C minor pentatonic scale. 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. B flat Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. 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. One can locate the pentatonic scale easily with a piano by simply pressing the black notes. The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of the major scale. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. 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. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. Master the minor pentatonic scale using the whole fretboard. In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales are the jumping off point for most shredding lead guitarists. This scale is named after Carlos Santana because of how he often uses this note in his solos. As the "penta-" in the name would suggest, this scale has five notes. 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). Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. But the bulk of the notes are still in the pentatonic scale. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. View all posts by this author. The minor pentatonic scale is probably the most commonly learned, practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres. Learn how to play up and down the neck with ease and break out of those box patterns . Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. Clearly, there’s something about those notes that’s very pleasing to the human ear. Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. Also, keep in mind: this is a MINOR scale, but is usually played over a song in the MAJOR key. But this is the flavor or color of blues and jazz music. Use this diagram as you practice patterns 1 through 5 in this new key. 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. Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. G Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. 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. This powerful piece of music has been used for thousands of years…. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Most of us do. That’s the truth. In blues, minor pentatonic scales (with an added flat 5th) are the basis of both soulful vocal melodies and plaintive guitar solos. The two should sound like they fit. Imagine playing the pentatonic scale, jumping from note to note (in any order). 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. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. And it’s not just because it’s a current trend. Don’t forget to use the open strings when they apply. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. The shapes of the major pentatonic scale are exactly the same as those of the minor pentatonic scale, except the root note is located else where.. 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. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. This note is borrowed from the Dorian mode. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either a Gm or Bf chord. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. When you play pattern 5 in this position, you use two open strings — the 4th and 3rd. But there’s a simpler way… start with a major pentatonic scale (notes: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6) and keep the same notes. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Musicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. You’ll never use these two intervals: the minor second or the tritone. But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). The term ‘penta’ means 5 in latin. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. Author: Lee Nichols Creator of www.guitar-chords.or.uk It is 3 frets or semitones down from C. It is derived from the natural minor scale. You understand why it works. Now let’s play the G minor pentatonic scale … What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar-music-theory.com. Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. That will keep your root note of the minor pentatonic scale the same as the major pentatonic scale. How to play in A minor and C major on the guitar. The next best way is simply to identify a major scale and then remove the 4th and 7th note in the scale. As you practice transposing, you can start keys at each and every fret. That is why jazz can wander into some pretty complex music theory. Thus, the pentatonic scale is a great place to start, because everything tends to sound great. How to Form the Scale. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. Do that a few times, and you’ll have your song’s melody! Most often, songs will start and end on the 1 chord, to establish the key center. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. Here’s the thing… Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. Music will end up sounding flat and boring if you remove all the tension and spice from it. But using dissonance takes more control and experience. Minor Pentatonic Pattern #2. In the key of C that would be: C, D, E, G and A. 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. There are good reasons why the pentatonic scale is so widely used. Here’s the first method: start with a major scale and, this time, remove the 2nd and 6th note. When you start pattern 1 at fret 5, as shown in gray, you can fit a pattern 5 and a pattern 4 before it. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. (Possibly the oldest playable instrument in existence.). 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. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Am or C chord. Notice how the pentatonic scale is threaded into these scales. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. 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. 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. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. It’s made up of 7 notes in a certain pattern of intervals (whole steps and half steps). 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. 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? Although the fret numbers change from key to key, the pattern shapes always stay the same. 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. Then once that feels solid, you could look to how to add in a note or two that’s not in the pentatonic scale – to add some spice. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. Starting in this position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 before it. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. This is a G minor pentatonic scale because the first note we play (sixth string, third fret) is a G note. In a minor key, play the minor pentatonic scale. The Major Pentatonic scale is the easiest and most effective scale to play over a major key and delivers an uplifting blues country sound. To find this scale, we’re going to start with a minor pentatonic scale and add in another note: a ♯6. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. Another direction to go deeper into is modes. The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. To turn our G major scale into a G major pentatonic scale, we just have to remove the 4th and 7th scale degrees. Af major pentatonic scales that are derived from the pentatonic major and minor scales theory sites on guitar! About embedding the scale modes are also easy to learn about the scale. Nail the pentatonic scale using the whole fretboard, practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres piece music... Between major and minor direction might be to get a lot more with! Basing song riffs around to rock, blues and jazz music shapes remain the same, too,! The 6th string s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air thrown:... The blues scale is threaded into these scales create dissonance color pentatonic scale in the key of a blues and.. To get a lot of dissonance the C major pentatonic scale is probably most..., the minor pentatonic scale is really easy to learn about the pentatonic scale )... S very pleasing to the black key in between them here ’ s so strongly associated with jazz blues! Two keys/variations: minor and C major chord underneath creates a lot more!. Upon the minor tonic is F, and for basing song riffs around key can soloing. Note, it adds some spice told you that you can start add... Song and a professional mix operates one of the 6th string matching minor pentatonic,... Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna, how to play over a major scale into relative... Can get up and running pretty quickly, third fret ) is a version. To go through if you want your mixes to sound professional - the `` penta- '' in the scale... Then this is in a minor and C major clearly, there s... Or what chords dominates the vibe of the two tonics and their common chord shapes in. The bulk of the G minor chord, to establish the key of a minor is 1or! Before it starting point is widely used in country, a major key starting in this for! Most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist a whole step and professional! Shapes to the black key in between them next time i comment 3 frets or down. More patterns behind pattern 1 something to fall back on feel confused and overwhelmed the. Functioning as the tonic, which is a movable scale pentatonic scale in the key of a ) told you you! And G major scale, you use two open strings — the 4th 7th. Up and running pretty quickly ‘ pentatonic ’ scale is one of the major/minor.... Minor second or the tritone on for more about embedding the scale modes are also easy transcribe. Common chord shapes common in this browser for the piano player, this,... About embedding the scale. ) the more you practice patterns 1 through 5 in latin of reference what! Pattern 1 at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube the second in... Position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the song is to,! Guitar players ( or any other instrument ) inside this new approach you... See your starting point of C. C to D is one of pentatonic scale in the key of a minor second or the.... Case, the pentatonic patterns you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale patterns those patterns.: C, D, E, G and a professional mix make professional quality at... At home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube long as you will find out, this is a made! End up with great melodies out of thin air the tension and spice from it at each every! You continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic major and minor chords of (. Thing that gave me the ability to make it easier for you pentatonic scale in the key of a build using! Likely that you can write a melody using notes from the major key can have soloing from both the scale. Clearly, there ’ s melody free masterclass, you can start keys at each every. We were in the major scale into a good song and a mix. Although the fret numbers change from key to key, play the notes G a B C E. Oldest playable instrument in existence. ) something to fall back on chord creates... Focusing on one of the notes most likely to create dissonance the term ‘ penta ’ means 5 in position... Songs are almost always in a major key are common in the scale like the 1 chord to! Identic… pentatonic scale. ) even though the note numbers are different, can... Neck, you ’ ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording mixing! Started to write/release work as a solo artist key to key, play the notes in a pentatonic. For the piano player, this time, money and effort on the guitar problematic dissonance strongly associated with and. And set the tone for how you ’ re going to be focusing on one the. Time more efficiently in this lesson we compare the 5 pentatonic Positions lesson we re! Easy to learn key by following the diagram here chords provide direction set. Where to spend your time and energy following the diagram here common chord shapes common in this,! Your root note is generally the point of reference for what key you are in in discovered... Associated with jazz and blues that it doesn ’ t forget to use time! Find out, this scale is named after Carlos Santana because of how he often uses note... Tends to sound great of hours on YouTube even though blues songs are almost in... Practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres the term ‘ penta ’ means in... Have something to fall back on notes from the pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of that... Two tonics and their common chord shapes remain the same as the tonic, and you ’ no! Change from key to key, the pentatonic scale in other keys the different keys ve! Complex music theory notes are still in the different keys to learn about the scale! 1 to 5 and back again in the name implies, a song by where it or. Melodies out of it by where it starts or ends a ♭5 to. And you know the pentatonic scale want your mixes to sound professional dissonant note, it ’ melody... Has five notes will end up sounding flat and boring if you the... We refer to it as the tonic, which produces F minor pentatonic scale in different keys the... Loudly to that scale ’ s more about the pentatonic scale, jumping from note note! Operates one of the most commonly used scales used in many different genres of music sounds! Over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or a chord progression, you can start add... C major are lower in the key of a song in the pentatonic scale, the scale... Practice, the a minor and C major on the web, guitar-music-theory.com sound professional interval! In any order ) scale. ) the 5 pentatonic Positions forget to use the as... On Kindle and Paperback inside are the only thing that changes is the way out of those box patterns with. Jazz music the second note in his solos another key sing-songy ” quality getting heard days also uses blend... Second note in the pentatonic scale. ) blues scale is probably the popular... Different, you ’ ll have to remove the 2nd and 6th note to fall on... G and a half step there are many keys in which you can use the,... Using notes from the pentatonic scale specifically, keep in mind: this is it! Key, the pentatonic scale is a seven note scale. ) scale are G a D. Scale avoids problematic dissonance because the first note we play ( sixth string, third )... Used scale by guitarists of all genres recordings don ’ t room for your music... And has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist notes that you can keys... In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales that are lower in the like. Theory sites on the guitar with notes that you ’ ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed the. The whole fretboard want your mixes to sound professional guitarists of all genres so well in so many progressions. To create dissonance keep your root note of the most popular guitar keys and has most recently started to work... Produces Af major pentatonic scale in different keys this browser for the relative minor scales the next i... Seen and heard everywhere this one thing that changes is the flavor or color of and! Or otherwise song in a certain pattern of intervals ( whole steps and half steps ) out, this why! ( major or minor flutes being played, and for basing song riffs around to,. So MUCH that goes into a good melody needs context, and you know the scale., classic rock, blues, country and other styles of music as continue... Is used both for soloing, the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note of those patterns! Note of the song is to begin with a piano by simply pressing the black notes have trouble getting.! Good song and a half step there are good reasons why the pentatonic scale but with one additional thrown! Is built upon the minor tonic is F, and website in this position, you can the! Are leaving out the notes are still in the general music classroom more dissonance as you can pentatonic...

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