Want to Make Incredible Songs? Here’s the thing… With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. In solfege, this would be do, re, mi, sol, and la in major and la, do, re, mi, and sol in minor. Remember that with writing music, everything is a remix. It’s made up of 7 notes in a certain pattern of intervals (whole steps and half steps). Author: Lee Nichols Creator of www.guitar-chords.or.uk 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. 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. Pattern 5 starts at the 3rd fret of the 6th string. The only thing that changes is the center of gravity (i.e., the root note). The reason we refer to it as the ‘pentatonic’ scale is because it uses 5 notes. 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. 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 Well done! Translating Pentatonic Scale into different Keys. The scale shapes we learned above are all movable. Inside this new free masterclass, you’ll learn the secret to making radio-ready music at home. 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. Because you are leaving out the notes most likely to create dissonance. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The scale is widely used in pop, classic rock, blues, country and other styles of music. Songwriting is important, but if your recordings don’t sound professional you’ll have trouble getting heard. This leaves us with the notes G A B D E. Major Pentatonic Scale. B flat Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. Here’s a list of the Blues Pentatonic scales: *The RED notes are the ones that have been added to the scale. 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. Let's say we were in the key of A minor. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Am or C chord. Most music these days also uses a blend of major and minor chords. E to G is a whole step and a half step there are 2 keys between them. 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. As you practice transposing, you can start keys at each and every fret. Read on for more about the pentatonic scale and why it’s so powerful in the general music classroom. Hi Jonathan, thank you for such an in-depth and thorough article on the pentatonic scale. You could end up with music that sounds amateur if you’re missing a crucial step. 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.. You’re essentially mashing major/minor tonality together without changing the root note. When you play pattern 5 in this position, you use two open strings — the 4th and 3rd. But this is the flavor or color of blues and jazz music. After getting a Masters in Education, he founded Forte Music School – where 180+ students receive private lessons with a focus on recording/arranging pieces they learn. The TAB above shows how movable pattern 4 can be used at the 1 st fret in order to play a B flat pentatonic scale. It comes from the major scale, which is a seven note scale. If you play the guitar, it’s more about embedding the scale patterns. 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. That will move the major scale into its relative minor… meaning you’re now using a minor pentatonic scale! Removing those dissonant intervals gives the pentatonic scale it’s “sing-songy” quality. That is, challenge yourself to change keys while using pentatonic scales. Because transposition is usually pretty easy. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for your own unique combination. Now let’s play the G minor pentatonic scale … A pentatonic scale consists of … As long as you know the pentatonic scale, you have something to fall back on. This is why it works so well in so many chord progressions – in major or minor. Another direction to go deeper into is modes. What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? This should not be confused with the identic… Here’s the first method: start with a major scale and, this time, remove the 2nd and 6th note. Pentatonic scales tend to sound good despite random orders due to the absence of dissonant intervals between them. 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 pentatonic scale is known for its “pleasant” quality – and there’s a reason for this. To find this scale, we’re going to start with a minor pentatonic scale and add in another note: a ♯6. Learn how to make radio-ready music at home… without wasting hundreds of hours on YouTube. This scale is named after Carlos Santana because of how he often uses this note in his solos. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. The notes in a G major scale are G A B C D E F#. View all posts by this author. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. 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. 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. The second diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with Af functioning as the tonic, which produces Af major pentatonic. 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. 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? The pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales used in music. Learn the major keys, and you’ll have an easy time identifying the pentatonic scale (as well as a bunch of other scales)! But instead of starting on the 1, shift the scale down to the 6 (notes: 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5). 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# - … This note is borrowed from the Dorian mode. But the bulk of the notes are still in the pentatonic scale. The major pentatonic scale; The minor pentatonic scale; Let’s take a look at what notes make up these two scales. 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. In this case, the minor tonic is F, and the major is Af. 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. You can see an example in Transposing Pentatonic Patterns. For example, if you use the C Major Pentatonic Scale, the matching minor pentatonic scale is the A minor pentatonic scale. Learn how to use your time more efficiently in this free training video. Thus, the pentatonic scale is a great place to start, because everything tends to sound great. Listen to this recording, of the flutes being played, and you’ll hear a D major pentatonic scale. Clearly, there’s something about those notes that’s very pleasing to the human ear. Or a verse might be more minor in focus, and then it shifts to major chords in the chorus (or vice versa). As you know already, the minor pentatonic scale is a movable scale. Pentatonic scale is really easy to transcribe and shift to other keys as well. You’ll have to change fretboard position as you play in order to reach the higher notes of this scale. If you are stuck in the pentatonic box then this is the way out of it. So if you know the major pentatonic scales, you automatically know the notes for the relative minor pentatonic scale. You’ll never use these two intervals: the minor second or the tritone. It’s really hard to come up with great melodies out of thin air. It’s interesting to learn about the scale’s usage thousands of years ago and how it’s still prevalent in modern music making. Here are the pentatonic patterns in the key of A minor and C major. You can usually determine the key of a song by where it starts or ends. A pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale which can be used to create solos and melodies. 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). It is derived from the natural minor scale. The Pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is used in ALL types of music. 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. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either an Fsm or A chord. 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. Just as in improvising, or soloing, the pentatonic scale avoids problematic dissonance. As the "penta-" in the name would suggest, this scale has five notes. Do that a few times, and you’ll have your song’s melody! In blues, minor pentatonic scales (with an added flat 5th) are the basis of both soulful vocal melodies and plaintive guitar solos. 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). In this lesson we compare the 5 CAGED shapes to the 5 Pentatonic Positions. Use this diagram as you practice patterns 1 through 5 in this new key. Credit:     Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna, How to Play the Pentatonic Scale in Other Keys on the Guitar. The location of the two tonics and their common chord shapes remain the same, too. 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. One can locate the pentatonic scale easily with a piano by simply pressing the black notes. The black keys on your piano are pentatonic and they’re in the key of G flat and its relative minor, E flat minor. Although the fret numbers change from key to key, the pattern shapes always stay the same. It’s so strongly associated with jazz and blues that it doesn’t stylistically fit with other genres. Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones. For the piano player, this is an extremely important way to think about major/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. The first diagram shows you what the interval structure looks like with F as the tonic, which produces F minor pentatonic. I mean, it’s not exactly a Jimmy Hendrix solo…. That’s the truth. Often, the easiest way to write a song is to begin with a chord progression. Plus, it’s a bit more flexible so it can be used in many different genres of music. My mixes sucked for years until I discovered this ONE THING that gave me the ability to make professional quality music at home. Essentially, the pentatonic scale is a condensed version of the major/minor scale. Imagine playing the pentatonic scale, jumping from note to note (in any order). Not only does it sound great, pentatonic scales are also easy to learn. Many times though, a song in a major key can have soloing from both the pentatonic major and minor scales. Musicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. In a many cases you can use the minor pentatonic scale in a major key, too. The term ‘penta’ means 5 in latin. If you feel a little lost, review how to move from patterns 1 to 5 and back again in the different keys. 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. You can start this key by following the diagram here. About 20 years ago, researchers in China discovered flutes estimated to be 7000–9000 years old. There is only one disadvantage to this scale. And it doesn’t help piano players find this in another key. A minor pentatonic contains scale degrees 1, … 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 actually pretty overwhelming. Then flat the 3rd and the 7th note. Watch this free masterclass now: Great songwriting is important, but you won’t get anywhere if your recordings don’t sound good. Finally, another direction might be to get a lot more experimental with your chord progressions. The Major Pentatonic scale is the easiest and most effective scale to play over a major key and delivers an uplifting blues country sound. The first note in pattern 1 is still your minor tonic, and the second note in pattern 1 is your major tonic. Check out this chart to see what intervals are used in the major scale: If you remove the 4th and 7th note, the pattern of intervals in the pentatonic scale is this: Here’s the pentatonic scale across the major keys: You can find a minor pentatonic scale in one of two ways. The two should sound like they fit. But if you nail the pentatonic scales, you still can get up and running pretty quickly. 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. Just as you can move a barre chord around the neck, you can shift the pentatonic patterns on a different tonic note. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. Even though blues songs are almost always in a major key. 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). But using dissonance takes more control and experience. The minor pentatonic scale is probably the most commonly learned, practiced and used scale by guitarists of all genres. Music will end up sounding flat and boring if you remove all the tension and spice from it. In the key of C that would be: C, D, E, G and A. In a minor key, play the minor pentatonic scale. This is a G minor pentatonic scale because the first note we play (sixth string, third fret) is a G note. 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. 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. Most of us do. Memorizing the major keys is such a fundamental element for any instrument you play. 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. Once you have a chord progression, you can write a melody using notes from the pentatonic scale. 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. You can play these pentatonic scale patterns over any piece of music that centers on either a Gm or Bf chord. There is SO MUCH that goes into a good song and a professional mix. 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 this lesson we’re going to be focusing on one of the most popular guitar scales, the A minor 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. From pop to rock, the pentatonic scale can be seen and heard everywhere. And it’s not just because it’s a current trend. So for blues, if the song is in C major, then you’ll be soloing using the C minor pentatonic scale. That is why jazz can wander into some pretty complex music theory. A Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. Notice how the pentatonic scale is threaded into these scales. It’s actually pretty overwhelming. The pentatonic scale comes in two keys/variations: Minor and Major. The five notes of the major pentatonic scale are the root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th intervals of the major scale (the 4th and 7th scale degrees are left out). You won’t lose your place. 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. Inside are the only 7 steps you need to go through if you want your mixes to sound professional. As you continue to move up to new keys, you increasingly play more patterns behind pattern 1. Knowing the pattern of white/black keys for the 12 major scales tells you the pattern for the relative minor scales. And by the end of this article, you’ll understand all the ins-and-outs you need to use it in your own music. In this example, pattern 1 is in gray just to make it easier for you to see your starting point. There are three ways to play the pentatonic scale pattern for lead guitar solo: A … I just told you that you can use the same patterns, but the difference is where they start. Learn how to play up and down the neck with ease and break out of those box patterns . 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. What is a major scale, for those of you who need a refresher (or are learning for the first time)? The chord shapes common in the E minor and G major key are common in this key and all others. It’s likely that you’ve already wasted time, money and effort on the wrong things. You understand why it works. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. There are good reasons why the pentatonic scale is so widely used. In heavy metal, minor pentatonic scales are the jumping off point for most shredding lead guitarists. You have some ways to use it, and you know some ways to expand it… So what comes next? 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. That will keep your root note of the minor pentatonic scale the same as the major pentatonic scale. 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). How to Form the Scale. The key of A minor and C major is one of the most popular guitar keys. It creates a more happy and uplifting sound. Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. A good melody needs context, and the chords provide direction and set the tone for how you’ll hear the melody. We waste years focusing on the wrong things. When playing in the next key, G minor and Bf major, you begin pattern 1 at the 3rd fret, as shown here. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. So you could start with notes that are lower in the scale like the 1, 2, 3, or 5. C Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. He then focused on composing for film/TV and has most recently started to write/release work as a solo artist. The blues scale is built upon the minor pentatonic scale but with one additional note thrown in: a ♭5. Minor Pentatonic Scale in Different Keys. Most often, songs will start and end on the 1 chord, to establish the key center. Well… The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of the major scale. 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. And one advantage to all that dissonance is that it can be a lot more forgiving! Trying to learn to play the pentatonic scale? G Pentatonic Scale Bass TAB. 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. So you get to immediately make music, with only knowing a bit of theory. You’ll no longer feel confused and overwhelmed by the recording and mixing process. When you start pattern 1 at fret 5, as shown in gray, you can fit a pattern 5 and a pattern 4 before it. Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. Guitarists with an interest in learning to play lead guitar must learn their pentatonic scales. The next best way is simply to identify a major scale and then remove the 4th and 7th note in the 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. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. 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). Also, all the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) and minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) can be condensed into the pentatonic scale as well. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. Using the pentatonic scale is a great foundation for improvising or soloing. How to play in A minor and C major on the guitar. The major pentatonic scale is mostly used in country, folk country rock, blues and jazz. 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home Conservatory trained in both piano performance and composition, with a minor in painting, Jonathan brings a wide range of artistic influences to his music. Pattern 4 starts on the 6th string open. The higher pattern 1 is positioned on the fretboard, the more space you have to fill behind it leading back to the open position. And where the modes diverge from the pentatonic scale. As you continue to move up the fretboard, get used to playing the pentatonic scale patterns in other keys. Through if you nail the pentatonic patterns in other keys as well way simply... Up with music that sounds amateur if you want fast results either hemitonic or anhemitonic note ) open —. Hear a D major pentatonic scale. ) of G major scale,. Be a lot more forgiving learn their pentatonic scales are also easy to transcribe and shift to keys... 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