Just another weblog

I’m Back (Pentatonic Scales)

Posted by Ian on March 31, 2008

Well… it turns out a colony of ants decided that it was to their benefit to eat our phone line and make a nest in its space… stupid things.

However, the problem has been taken care of, and I am back in action.

Sadly, I don’t have anything ready for posting today and I have a long day ahead tomorrow so I’m going to get to bed early, so I can’t throw anything together, really.

So, in the meantime…well… what the heck is a couple minutes less sleep.

Intro to Pentatonic Scales (thrown together in about 4 minutes..)

Pentatonic scales are scales in music that contain only 5 notes, as opposed to the typical 8 used in most music. These scales can be found in many ethnic types of music, such as Indonesian Gamelan music. Some of them are, however, commonly used in various western styles of music, including classical, jazz, blues, and a lot of rock.

To find the most basic type of pentatonic scale, all you have to do is right out a normal scale…


and remove the fourth and 7th tones from it…


Pentatonic scales may sound somewhat odd to your ears when you play them… rather incomplete… but there are various uses for them.

Firstly, when you stick to a key and only use one pentatonic scale, accompanying chords are very easy to write in, as the choices are limited. Secondly, it is very easy to improvise over a chord progression if you understand pentatonic scales. You can play any of the notes of a chord’s root’s pentatonic scale over the chord, and it will sound fine (almost always… chords with extensions can make things sound a tad strange).

And that is all that I have time for… I will most likely expand on Pentatonic Scales further within the next few days, but I plan on getting more tabs out, as I haven’t had many of those lately.


One Response to “I’m Back (Pentatonic Scales)”

  1. What you describe is the major pentatonic scale, which is common in all sorts of music, and is a big part of the country sound.

    The minor pentatonic scale consists of the root, flat 3rd, 4th, 5th, and flat 7th notes. So the C minor pentatonic scale is C Eb F G Bb. This scale is huge in the bluesy sound and in a lot of rock. In fact most guitarists know this one for sure. I know a great uke player who can wail with both scales!

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