Minor Pentatonic Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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As the name suggests, the Minor Pentatonic Scale has five notes and a minor quality…

… and yet another existence proof that scales are not made up of “half-steps” and “whole-steps”.

The simple, primitive minor quality of the Minor Pentatonic Scale makes it very useful in folk, rock, and blues.

Theory

Here, for example, are the notes in the C Minor Pentatonic Scale identified by letter name, scale degree (numbers), and Solfege syllable…

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  1. The scale structure of the Minor Pentatonic Scale is always 1-b3-4-5-b7-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Minor Pentatonic Scale are always Do-Me-Fa-So-Te-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

All five notes in the Minor Pentatonic Scale are used in the Minor Blues Scale. Don’t try to “memorize” this fact, but do realize how much certain scale types have in common.

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For extra credit, notice that the C Minor Pentatonic Scale is a mode of the Eb Major Pentatonic Scale and vice versa.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale in Action

Native American Music

Blues-Rock Improv

Solfege Ear Training

Reading and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is an extremely effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in any musical scale.

Reminder: It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud… and to play and sing slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Minor Pentatonic Scale: Linear, Ascending…

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C Minor Pentatonic Scale: Linear, Descending…

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

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

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learn more… Minor Blues Scale: Theory & Ear Training