The Pentatonic Scale: The Things You Ought to Know

Pentatonic scales are probably the most commonly used scales throughout the world – you’ll find them used extensively in almost every culture’s music.

Considering every type of music uses them, it’s not a bad idea to understand a little bit about them.

So read on to find out everything you ought to know about pentatonic scales.

What is a pentatonic scale?

A pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale.

There are many different ways a pentatonic scale can be constructed, but if it has 5 notes then it’s a pentatonic scale.

What are the most common pentatonic scales?

In western music there are two pentatonic scales that are used extensively, the major pentatonic scale and the minor pentatonic scale.

What characterises these pentatonic scales?

Perhaps the most important characteristic of these common pentatonic scales is that they do not contain any semitones.

The intervals are all either major seconds or minor thirds.

This makes the scales and the melodies we construct out of them very easy to listen to and sing.

What is the major pentatonic scale?

The major pentatonic scale is constructed from the major scale. It contains scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6.

What is the minor pentatonic scale?

The minor pentatonic scale contains scale degrees 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 from the minor scale.

It can be easy to remember the minor pentatonic scale if we remember that it comes from the major scale’s relative minor. This means that the sixth scale degree from the relative major scale is now the tonic.

Do you have any more questions about the pentatonic scales? If so ask in the questions below and we’ll add them to the article!

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1 Comment

  • Braz

    Reply Reply February 16, 2016

    It is what I was looking for. Thank you

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