Major Pentatonic Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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As the name suggests, the Major Pentatonic Scale has five notes and a major quality–and is yet another existence proof that scales are not made up of “half-steps” and “whole-steps”.

C Major Pentatonic Scale Theory…

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  1. The scale structure of the Major Pentatonic Scale is always 1-2-3-5-6-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Major Pentatonic Scale are always Do-Re-Mi-So-La-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

Notice that the Major Pentatonic Scale is a subset of the Major Scale...

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The absence of the two most harmonically active notes (Fa and Ti) give the Major Pentatonic Scale a relaxed and dreamy quality.


Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege Syllables out loud is an extremely effective way to tune up your ears and to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in the scale with respect to the key center Do. Make sure to do this slowly enough for the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege Syllable to make a meaningful impression on your mind’s ear.

C Major Pentatonic Scale: Linear, Ascending…

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C Major Pentatonic Scale: Linear, Descending…

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C Major Pentatonic Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…

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C Major Pentatonic Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…

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Note: While it’s possible to continue by singing a bunch of other musical patterns, the 80-20 Principle teaches us that a more efficient approach is to get your ear training material directly from the music that YOU want to play!


learn more… Minor Pentatonic Scale: Theory & Ear Training