Pentatonic scale?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Every1TookMyName, Jun 10, 2001.

  1. I have a rudimentary grasp of musical theory (I played the tuba for three years), but I don't know what the pentatonic scale is. Can someone help? Thanks.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    First, there isn't a "the" pentatonic scale, because there are actually several. As you are beginning, you will probably be most concerned with just two, the major and minor pentatonic scales.

    A pentatonic scale is a scale with just five notes.

    The major pentatonic scale has a bright or "happy" sound. It is often used in country music, but can also be used in rock, blues, and jazz.

    These are the intervals: Root, 2, 3, 5, 6, Octave
    Or the steps: W, W, W+H, W, W+H

    The minor pentatonic is the most commonly used in blues and rock, also heavy metal and jazz. These are the intervals: Root, b3, 4, 5, b7, Octave
    Or the steps: W+H, W, W, W+H, W

    The minor pentatonic has a "brother" scale, the blues scale, used in blues, rock, jazz and fusion. It adds one note to the five notes of the minor pentatonic.

    Intervals: Root, b3,4, b5, 5,b7, Octave
    Steps: W+H,W, H, H, W+H, W

    The Ws mean whole step (two frets), the Hs mean half step(one step) and the W+H mean a step and a half(three frets).

    Two other five note scales are the Kumoi and the Hirojoshi, but you will have plenty to keep you busy with these major and minor pentatonic scales and the six tone blues scale.

    Please ask if you need further explanation.
  3. D. Matthews

    D. Matthews

    Apr 16, 2001
    I would add one more along with major and minor pentatonic.

    Sus Pentatonic (V7 chord)
    Scale degrees: 1, 2, 4, 5, b7, 1.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    That's cool! Jazzbo's "Pentatonic Scales for Dummies."
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I try and get a plug in there for that thread every now and then. I've still got so much to add to it.
  6. anon5458975


    Apr 5, 2001
    I don't blame ya Jazzbo, that thread was great. You really went all out with it, very cool of ya.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Thank you. Thank you much! :)
  8. Jason OldStead - thanks alot! Your explanation really helped!

    Jazzbo - woohoo! Scales for dummies! Thanks!
  9. Jazzbo: In trying to learn a little theory, that thing is great, I'm still reading it.

    Jason: If a pentatonic means 5, why does it have 7 notes?
  10. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I don't know where you're seeing 7 notes in the pentatonic examples, looking at the Blues scale instead? And, the root and the octave are the same note.