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. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. The major pentatonic scale; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. 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. Removing those dissonant intervals gives the pentatonic scale it’s “sing-songy” quality. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. 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. 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? A minor pentatonic contains scale degrees 1, … As the name implies, a pentatonic scale is a scale made up of five (penta) notes (tonic). But that doesn’t help guitar players (or any other instrument). 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. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. This is a G minor pentatonic scale because the first note we play (sixth string, third fret) is a G note. As long as you know the pentatonic scale, you have something to fall back on. Because you are leaving out the notes most likely to create dissonance. So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. A great way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is to start adding in some of the other notes that you leave out. I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. 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. It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. View all posts by this author. Just as in improvising, or soloing, the pentatonic scale avoids problematic dissonance. 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. The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of the major scale. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. 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 this lesson we compare the 5 CAGED shapes to the 5 Pentatonic Positions. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? The first diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with F as the tonic, which produces F minor pentatonic. It’s not just the major/minor pentatonic scales that are derived from the major keys. Another direction to go deeper into is modes. 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. It is derived from the natural minor scale. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. 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. 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). 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. It’s interesting to learn about the scale’s usage thousands of years ago and how it’s still prevalent in modern music making. Your email address will not be published. Well done! 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. In country, a major pentatonic scale is perfect for leads on the guitar, banjo, lap steel, fiddle, or mandolin. That’s the truth. But using dissonance takes more control and experience. As you continue to move up to new keys, you increasingly play more patterns behind pattern 1. Minor Pentatonic Pattern #2. Trying to learn to play the pentatonic scale? A pentatonic scale consists of … 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. Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones. The minor pentatonic scale is probably the most commonly learned, practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres. But there’s a simpler way… start with a major pentatonic scale (notes: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6) and keep the same notes. (Possibly the oldest playable instrument in existence.). Because transposition is usually pretty easy. When you play pattern 5 in this position, you use two open strings — the 4th and 3rd. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. 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). Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. 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. But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). Most often, songs will start and end on the 1 chord, to establish the key center. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. As you know already, the minor pentatonic scale is a movable scale. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. Once you have a chord progression, you can write a melody using notes from the pentatonic scale. You understand why it works. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. 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. This scale is a must-know melodic device for guitarists exploring the world of improvised music, be it in the jazz genre or otherwise. You won’t lose your place. Pentatonic Scale Fluency: Available on Kindle and Paperback. Credit:     Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna, How to Play the Pentatonic Scale in Other Keys on the Guitar. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. It comes from the major scale, which is a seven note scale. 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). My mixes sucked for years until I discovered this ONE THING that gave me the ability to make professional quality music at home. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. To find this scale, we’re going to start with a minor pentatonic scale and add in another note: a ♯6. Most of us do. You’re essentially mashing major/minor tonality together without changing the root note. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. This is in a grey area between scale and arpeggios, and can be used as either! Use this diagram as you practice patterns 1 through 5 in this new key. The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. The more you practice, the more skill you’ll develop. 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. What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? Playing a C minor pentatonic scale while you are playing a C major chord underneath creates a LOT of dissonance. 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 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# - … If you play the guitar, it’s more about embedding the scale patterns. Although the fret numbers change from key to key, the pattern shapes always stay the same. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. Thus, the pentatonic scale is a great place to start, because everything tends to sound great. In this lesson we’re going to be focusing on one of the most popular guitar scales, the A minor pentatonic scale. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. In a minor key, play the 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. 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. In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales are the jumping off point for most shredding lead guitarists. Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. Feeling overwhelmed with recording and mixing? 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. By adding in this single dissonant note, it adds some spice. But if you nail the pentatonic scales, you still can get up and running pretty quickly. You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. E to G is a whole step and a half step there are 2 keys between them. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. I mean, it’s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo…. The two should sound like they fit. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either a Gm or Bf chord. 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.. Pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale. Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. 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? It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. One can locate the pentatonic scale easily with a piano by simply pressing the black notes. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. But it speaks loudly to that scale’s power that humans were jamming on those notes as far back as 5000 BC. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home Most of us do. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. (For example, in Japanese music the anhemitonic yo scale is contrasted with the hemitonic in scale.) Major Pentatonic Scale. The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. Starting in this position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 before it. The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. 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 is, challenge yourself to change keys while using pentatonic scales. It is 3 frets or semitones down from C. Want to Make Incredible Songs? 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. But if you just want to learn about the Pentatonic Scale specifically, keep reading. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. 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). 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… Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. Also, keep in mind: this is a MINOR scale, but is usually played over a song in the MAJOR key. 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