A pentatonic scale is a musical scale that consists of five notes.
Pentatonic scales are very common and we can find them from folk music to jazz, blues and rock music. We classify them as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. Hemitonic scales contain one or more half steps between notes while anhemitonic scales contain no half steps.
Major Pentatonic Scale
Major pentatonic scale is thought to be an incomplete major scale. We can build a major pentatonic scale in several ways. Let’s see an example.
C Major Pentatonic Scale
Let’s say we want to build C major pentatonic scale. The first way is starting on C, then adding the four consecutive notes from the circle of fifths. So C major pentatonic scale consists of C, G, D, A and E.
Notice that these are the first five notes of the circle of fifths. You can build the other major pentatonic scales by just transposing this scale.
The second way to build a major pentatonic scale is building the major scale with the same name and then removing 4th and 7th degrees of it. Let’s have a look at this method.
In this figure, you can see C major scale. As you can see from the marked notes, 4th degree of C major scale is F and the 7th degree is B.When you remove these degrees, C major pentatonic scale remains.
All Major Pentatonic Scales
Now let’s have a look at all major pentatonic scales.
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Minor pentatonic scale is another pentatonic scale which contains five unique notes. The name minor comes from relative minor scale. The most common way of building a minor pentatonic scale is building a natural minor scale and then removing its 2nd and 6th degrees. Let’s have a look at this method.
This is A natural minor scale. When you remove 2nd and 6th degrees of it, A minor pentatonic scale remains.
All Minor Pentatonic Scales
Now that you have learned how to build a minor pentatonic scale, let’s have a look at all minor pentatonic scales that you can build.