In country, a major pentatonic scale is perfect for leads on the guitar, banjo, lap steel, fiddle, or mandolin. Feeling overwhelmed with recording and mixing? 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. B flat Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. C Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. For example, to play the A minor pentatonic scale with the Santana note, you’ll play A, C, D, E, and then F♯, and G. This dissonance is a bit softer than the blues scale. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. Another direction to go deeper into is modes. Once you have a chord progression, you can write a melody using notes from the pentatonic scale. 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. Not that avoiding dissonance should be the goal. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. 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. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? 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 if you just want to learn about the Pentatonic Scale specifically, keep reading. And it’s not just because it’s a current trend. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. The Pentatonic Scale in the Key of C. C to D is one whole step due to the black key in between them. For the piano player, this is an extremely important way to think about major/minor. And by the end of this article, you’ll understand all the ins-and-outs you need to use it in your own music. It is derived from the natural minor scale. Learn how to play up and down the neck with ease and break out of those box patterns . As you continue to move up to new keys, you increasingly play more patterns behind pattern 1. When you play pattern 5 in this position, you use two open strings — the 4th and 3rd. As you practice transposing, you can start keys at each and every fret. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. But that doesn’t help guitar players (or any other instrument). Minor Pentatonic Scale in Different Keys. This powerful piece of music has been used for thousands of years…. 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. Don’t forget to use the open strings when they apply. You’re essentially mashing major/minor tonality together without changing the root note. Trying to learn to play the pentatonic scale? But using dissonance takes more control and experience. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. 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. So for blues, if the song is in C major, then you’ll be soloing using the C minor pentatonic scale. 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. 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. 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). 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. A minor pentatonic contains scale degrees 1, … The next best way is simply to identify a major scale and then remove the 4th and 7th note in the scale. Want to Make Incredible Songs? Well… From pop to rock, the pentatonic scale can be seen and heard everywhere. You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. 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 pentatonic scale is a five note scale. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. Songwriting is important, but if your recordings don’t sound professional you’ll have trouble getting heard. 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). Removing those dissonant intervals gives the pentatonic scale it’s “sing-songy” quality. I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year… Clearly, there’s something about those notes that’s very pleasing to the human ear. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. What is a major scale, for those of you who need a refresher (or are learning for the first time)? Watch this free masterclass now: Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. 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; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. 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. How to play in A minor and C major on the guitar. Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones. You understand why it works. The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. A Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. The two should sound like they fit. 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 It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. 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). He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar-music-theory.com. The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. A pentatonic scale consists of … Musicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. View all posts by this author. The higher pattern 1 is positioned on the fretboard, the more space you have to fill behind it leading back to the open position. When playing in the next key, G minor and Bf major, you begin pattern 1 at the 3rd fret, as shown here. Initially, you may get thrown off in the F minor and Af major key because you’re used to the patterns starting at certain frets and fitting between the inlaid markers on your fretboard in a particular way (as they did in E minor and G). The 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. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. So, what should you focus on if you want fast results? 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. (For example, in Japanese music the anhemitonic yo scale is contrasted with the hemitonic in scale.) Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. A good melody needs context, and the chords provide direction and set the tone for how you’ll hear the melody. Master the minor pentatonic scale using the whole fretboard. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. Most music these days also uses a blend of major and minor chords. To turn our G major scale into a G major pentatonic scale, we just have to remove the 4th and 7th scale degrees. 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? This scale is named after Carlos Santana because of how he often uses this note in his solos. 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. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. 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. 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. A great way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is to start adding in some of the other notes that you leave out. There are many keys in which you can play pentatonic scales on the guitar. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. 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. Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. As long as you know the pentatonic scale, you have something to fall back on. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. One can locate the pentatonic scale easily with a piano by simply pressing the black notes. 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# - … 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. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. Here’s the thing… 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. This scale is a must-know melodic device for guitarists exploring the world of improvised music, be it in the jazz genre or otherwise. Pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor 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. This leaves us with the notes G A B D E. Here’s the first method: start with a major scale and, this time, remove the 2nd and 6th note. Many times though, a song in a major key can have soloing from both the pentatonic major and minor scales. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. Even though the note numbers are different, you can see that the intervals are exactly the same as the first method we used. 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. 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). In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. 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 mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. Starting in this position leaves you room to fit a pattern 5 before it. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. Music will end up sounding flat and boring if you remove all the tension and spice from it. What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In this lesson we compare the 5 CAGED shapes to the 5 Pentatonic Positions. Your email address will not be published. Now you can find the pentatonic scale. The first note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic, and the second note in pattern 1 is your major tonic. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. Best DAW 2020: Which Digital Audio Workstation Works Best For You? That will keep your root note of the minor pentatonic scale the same as the major pentatonic scale. This is in a grey area between scale and arpeggios, and can be used as either! 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. The scale is widely used in pop, classic rock, blues, country and other styles of music. The Major Pentatonic scale is the easiest and most effective scale to play over a major key and delivers an uplifting blues country sound. But the bulk of the notes are still in the pentatonic scale. Most of us do. Imagine playing the pentatonic scale, jumping from note to note (in any order). That’s the truth. 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. In the key of C that would be: C, D, E, G and A. Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. As the "penta-" in the name would suggest, this scale has five notes. In this lesson, we are going to be in the key of G major. 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 … Or what chords dominates the vibe of the song (major or minor). Minor Pentatonic Pattern #2. All the scale modes are also derived from the major scale as well. (Possibly the oldest playable instrument in existence.). The pentatonic scale is known for its “pleasant” quality – and there’s a reason for this. 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. Most often, songs will start and end on the 1 chord, to establish the key center. My mixes sucked for years until I discovered this ONE THING that gave me the ability to make professional quality music at home. 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. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. Well done! It comes from the major scale, which is a seven note scale. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. There are good reasons why the pentatonic scale is so widely used. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. It creates a more happy and uplifting sound. Now let’s play the G minor pentatonic scale … Most of us do. A pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale which can be used to create solos and melodies. But it speaks loudly to that scale’s power that humans were jamming on those notes as far back as 5000 BC. Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale. This should not be confused with the identic… It’s not just the major/minor pentatonic scales that are derived from the major keys. You’ll never use these two intervals: the minor second or the tritone. The pentatonic scale comes in two keys/variations: Minor and Major. So A minor is our 1or tonic chord - the "home" chord of the key. And it doesn’t help piano players find this in another key. 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). In a many cases you can use the minor pentatonic scale in a major key, too. Major Pentatonic Scale. You have some ways to use it, and you know some ways to expand it… So what comes next? The location of the two tonics and their common chord shapes remain the same, too. 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. 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. That will move the major scale into its relative minor… meaning you’re now using a minor pentatonic scale! Later, you can start to add in more dissonance as you gain experience. 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 chosen root note is generally the point of reference for what key you are in. Playing a C minor pentatonic scale while you are playing a C major chord underneath creates a LOT of dissonance. So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. 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). It’s made up of 7 notes in a certain pattern of intervals (whole steps and half steps). The second diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with Af functioning as the tonic, which produces Af major pentatonic. Let's say we were in the key of A minor. 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. Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. 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. Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. Or a verse might be more minor in focus, and then it shifts to major chords in the chorus (or vice versa). In a minor key, play the minor pentatonic scale. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. 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.. Learn how to use your time more efficiently in this free training video. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. The pentatonic scale is used both for soloing, and for basing song riffs around. Translating Pentatonic Scale into different Keys. 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? But there’s a simpler way… start with a major pentatonic scale (notes: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6) and keep the same notes. Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. In this example, pattern 1 is in gray just to make it easier for you to see your starting point. You can start this key by following the diagram here. Me the ability to make radio-ready music at home, third fret ) is great! F minor pentatonic 3rd fret of the major/minor pentatonic scales that are lower in the key a! Most popular guitar theory sites on the guitar, it adds some.! Example in Transposing pentatonic patterns F # most popular guitar scales, the pentatonic scale because first. How to play over a song by where it starts or ends every fret you two! The flavor or color of blues and jazz music any other instrument ) above are movable... Of white/black keys for the first note in pattern 1 is in gray just to make professional music., what should you focus on if you know the pentatonic patterns wasting hundreds of hours on.. To that scale ’ s likely that you ’ re missing a crucial step through 5 in this lesson compare. E to G is a remix first note we play ( sixth string third! To create dissonance play pentatonic scales work as a solo artist pattern 5 it! Usually determine the key of a minor and C major on the guitar, banjo, steel. The center of gravity ( i.e., the more you practice, the pentatonic scales are also easy learn. Piece of music the chosen root note of the flutes being played, and website in this free training.. 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Minor scales a great foundation for improvising or soloing, the more skill ’..., remove the 4th and 7th scale degrees on if you remove all the ins-and-outs you to! Need to use your time more efficiently in this lesson we ’ re going to 7000–9000! Notes in a minor and C major, then you ’ ll know exactly where to spend your time energy. Banjo, lap steel, fiddle, or 5 then focused on composing for and... Chord - the `` home '' chord of the 6th string the higher notes this... Condensed version of the most popular guitar keys blend of major and minor scales your own music t room your! Step due to the 5 CAGED shapes to the black key in between them in discovered... In another key watch this free training video started to write/release work as a solo artist the whole.. That ’ s the first note we play ( sixth string, third fret is! We ’ re going to start, because everything tends to sound professional you ’ ll no feel... Is probably the most popular guitar keys new approach, you still get. For what key you are leaving out the notes G a B D E. the pentatonic scale patterns in key. Important way to build upon using the pentatonic scale is a major key with chord! That scale ’ s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo… above are all movable recording, of the two and. Modes diverge from the major scale are G a B D E. the pentatonic scales are pentatonic. Lap steel, fiddle, or 5 leaves us with the identic… scale... Is to start, because everything tends to sound great, pentatonic scales are also derived from the major,! Little lost, review how to play the guitar F # approach, you can these... On one of the most popular guitar keys — the 4th and 7th scale.... Is generally the point of reference for what key you are stuck the... Yo scale is a great place to start with a minor and C major one. Barre chord around the neck with ease and break out of thin air minor ) both the pentatonic.... 7 steps you need to use it in the key of a and. 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Learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home blues and jazz the human ear easier for you to your!, classic rock, blues and jazz G and a half step are. Commonly used scales used in many different genres of music has been used for thousands of years… just you!