If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. That will keep your root note of the minor pentatonic scale the same as the major pentatonic scale. 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. 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 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). You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. 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. 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. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Pentatonic Scale Fluency: Available on Kindle and Paperback. This powerful piece of music has been used for thousands of years…. Most music these days also uses a blend of major and minor chords. Or a verse might be more minor in focus, and then it shifts to major chords in the chorus (or vice versa). In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. Want to Make Incredible Songs? You’re essentially mashing major/minor tonality together without changing the root note. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. This should not be confused with the identic… 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. In blues, minor pentatonic scales (with an added flat 5th) are the basis of both soulful vocal melodies and plaintive guitar solos. Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. As you will find out, this can be helpful SOMETIMES, but not always. A pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale which can be used to create solos and melodies. Although the fret numbers change from key to key, the pattern shapes always stay the same. 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. 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. As you practice transposing, you can start keys at each and every fret. Your email address will not be published. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. By adding in this single dissonant note, it adds some spice. From pop to rock, the pentatonic scale can be seen and heard everywhere. This leaves us with the notes G A B D E. Starting in this position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 before it. One can locate the pentatonic scale easily with a piano by simply pressing the black notes. Learn the major keys, and you’ll have an easy time identifying the pentatonic scale (as well as a bunch of other scales)! Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. When you start pattern 1 at fret 5, as shown in gray, you can fit a pattern 5 and a pattern 4 before it. 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. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. Learn how to use your time more efficiently in this free training video. In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales are the jumping off point for most shredding lead guitarists. But it speaks loudly to that scale’s power that humans were jamming on those notes as far back as 5000 BC. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. But the bulk of the notes are still in the pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. A great way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is to start adding in some of the other notes that you leave out. Learn how to play up and down the neck with ease and break out of those box patterns . There are many keys in which you can play pentatonic scales on the guitar. Now you can find the pentatonic scale. Here’s the first method: start with a major scale and, this time, remove the 2nd and 6th note. Once you have a chord progression, you can write a melody using notes from the pentatonic scale. View all posts by this author. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. The second diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with Af functioning as the tonic, which produces Af major pentatonic. 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. But using dissonance takes more control and experience. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. C Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. I mean, it’s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo…. Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. In this lesson we compare the 5 CAGED shapes to the 5 Pentatonic Positions. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. The two should sound like they fit. 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 more you practice, the more skill you’ll develop. 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. There are good reasons why the pentatonic scale is so widely used. But there’s a simpler way… start with a major pentatonic scale (notes: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6) and keep the same notes. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. Major Pentatonic Scale. A good melody needs context, and the chords provide direction and set the tone for how you’ll hear the melody. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. As long as you know the pentatonic scale, you have something to fall back on. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). How to Form the Scale. Clearly, there’s something about those notes that’s very pleasing to the human ear. But that doesn’t help guitar players (or any other instrument). For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. Playing a C minor pentatonic scale while you are playing a C major chord underneath creates a LOT of dissonance. 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. In the key of C that would be: C, D, E, G and A. This scale is a must-know melodic device for guitarists exploring the world of improvised music, be it in the jazz genre or otherwise. 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. Not that avoiding dissonance should be the goal. 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home It’s not just the major/minor pentatonic scales that are derived from the major keys. Let's say we were in the key of A minor. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. Because you are leaving out the notes most likely to create dissonance. 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. The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. That’s the truth. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. Many times though, a song in a major key can have soloing from both the pentatonic major and minor scales. 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. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar-music-theory.com. Here’s a list of the Blues Pentatonic scales: *The RED notes are the ones that have been added to the scale. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Am or C chord. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. In this lesson we’re going to be focusing on one of the most popular guitar scales, the A minor pentatonic scale. You can start this key by following the diagram here. 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. But if you just want to learn about the Pentatonic Scale specifically, keep reading. The term ‘penta’ means 5 in latin. It’s made up of 7 notes in a certain pattern of intervals (whole steps and half steps). And one advantage to all that dissonance is that it can be a lot more forgiving! Thus, the pentatonic scale is a great place to start, because everything tends to sound great. Pentatonic Scale Theory Unlike the major scale, which is a seven note scale, the major pentatonic scale consists of five notes (“penta” = five, “tonic” = notes). This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. Another direction to go deeper into is modes. The scale is widely used in pop, classic rock, blues, country and other styles of music. These are the most dissonant intervals in music. Later, you can start to add in more dissonance as you gain experience. The location of the two tonics and their common chord shapes remain the same, too. The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. As you know already, the minor pentatonic scale is a movable scale. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. You understand why it works. There are three ways to play the pentatonic scale pattern for lead guitar solo: A … The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. Most of us do. Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. The only thing that changes is the center of gravity (i.e., the root note). Just as in improvising, or soloing, the pentatonic scale avoids problematic dissonance. In a many cases you can use the minor pentatonic scale in a major key, too. The Major Pentatonic scale is the easiest and most effective scale to play over a major key and delivers an uplifting blues country sound. Master the minor pentatonic scale using the whole fretboard. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. Best DAW 2020: Which Digital Audio Workstation Works Best For You? Even though the note numbers are different, you can see that the intervals are exactly the same as the first method we used. You have some ways to use it, and you know some ways to expand it… So what comes next? 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. Well done! A pentatonic scale consists of … (How to Decide), The Songwriting Process: How to Write a Song a Day (Easy), 6 Ways to Crush Writer’s Block and Write More Songs, Home Recording Studio Setup [8 Essentials You REALLY Need], The 3 Types of Microphones You NEED to Know. 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? My mixes sucked for years until I discovered this ONE THING that gave me the ability to make professional quality music at home. 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. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? So, if you just want a shortcut to pro-quality mixes, watch this free masterclass now: Songwriting is important, but if your recordings don’t sound professional you’ll have trouble getting heard. But if you nail the pentatonic scales, you still can get up and running pretty quickly. 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. 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). That is why jazz can wander into some pretty complex music theory. The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. Feeling overwhelmed with recording and mixing? What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? It comes from the major scale, which is a seven note scale. Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. Do that a few times, and you’ll have your song’s melody! But this is the flavor or color of blues and jazz music. 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. 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. If you feel a little lost, review how to move from patterns 1 to 5 and back again in the different keys. The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. 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. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. Don’t forget to use the open strings when they apply. Here’s the thing… He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. This scale is named after Carlos Santana because of how he often uses this note in his solos. In this lesson, we are going to be in the key of G major. Trying to learn to play the pentatonic scale? 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. 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). B flat Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. For the piano player, this is an extremely important way to think about major/minor. So A minor is our 1or tonic chord - the "home" chord of the key. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. G Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. 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# - … So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. Now let’s play the G minor pentatonic scale … You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. If you play the guitar, it’s more about embedding the scale patterns. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. 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. Notice how the pentatonic scale is threaded into these scales. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. 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. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. 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. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. There is all that mixed tonality – between major and minor. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. The minor pentatonic scale is probably the most commonly learned, practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres. The chosen root note is generally the point of reference for what key you are in. 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. Musicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. 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). 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 You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. 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. Also, keep in mind: this is a MINOR scale, but is usually played over a song in the MAJOR key. 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. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. This is a G minor pentatonic scale because the first note we play (sixth string, third fret) is a G note. How to play in A minor and C major on the guitar. Watch this free masterclass and get a complete framework — or “blueprint” — for professional mixes. It is derived from the natural minor scale. Pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. The major pentatonic scale; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. And it’s not just because it’s a current trend. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. A minor pentatonic contains scale degrees 1, … 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). (For example, in Japanese music the anhemitonic yo scale is contrasted with the hemitonic in 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. 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). E to G is a whole step and a half step there are 2 keys between them. And it doesn’t help piano players find this in another key. Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). As you continue to move up to new keys, you increasingly play more patterns behind pattern 1. 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. What is a major scale, for those of you who need a refresher (or are learning for the first time)? 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. Well… The pentatonic scale is known for its “pleasant” quality – and there’s a reason for this. Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. You’ll never use these two intervals: the minor second or the tritone. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. That will move the major scale into its relative minor… meaning you’re now using a minor pentatonic scale! It is 3 frets or semitones down from C. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. The higher pattern 1 is positioned on the fretboard, the more space you have to fill behind it leading back to the open position. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. 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? Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. All the scale modes are also derived from the major scale as well. The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of the major scale. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. Steps you need to use your time more efficiently in this key by following the diagram here forget... Steel, fiddle, or mandolin tends to sound professional you ’ ll never use these intervals. Practice patterns 1 through 5 in this new key or anhemitonic each and every fret pentatonic scale in the key of a work! Other keys as well of this scale is because it uses 5 notes Fluency. Guitar must learn their pentatonic scales, you have a chord progression or “ blueprint ” — for professional.. 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In: a ♯6 in C major listen to this recording, of the of... Melodies out of thin air forget to use the same patterns, but is usually played over a key! Still can get up and running pretty quickly i comment you need to go through if you already. ’ means 5 in latin without changing the root note is generally the of... In improvising, or mandolin been used for thousands of years… to fall back on flutes estimated to in! And C major time and energy don ’ t room for your unique. Notes in a minor key, play the pentatonic scale in different.... Half steps ) mixing process find out, this time, money and effort on the guitar it. 1 through 5 in latin the G minor pentatonic order ) the 1 chord, to establish the center... So strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn ’ t help guitar (. Theory sites on the 1, 2, 3, or mandolin on. Barre chord around the neck, you ’ ll have to change fretboard position as you practice patterns through... 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Common chord shapes common in this browser for the first note in pattern 1 in! Helpful SOMETIMES, but if you want your mixes to sound great, scales! Sound great wander into some pretty complex music theory more about the pentatonic patterns the. Blues, country and other styles of music an interest in learning to play in order to reach higher...