Pentatonic Scales

The pentatonic scales are divided into two types: hemitonic and anhemitonic. Hemitonic scales contain half steps (or semitones) while anhemitonic scales contain only whole tones. If you would like to review scales, click here.

Major Pentatonic

The major pentatonic scale consists of five notes per octave. It is very common to hear this scale in folk, gospel, jazz, blues, and even ancient Greek music. Recall that we can number a note's relation to the root (the tonic would be 1). The major pentatonic scale is comprised of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th notes. A great example of a song that incorporates the major pentatonic is "My Girl" by the Temptations. The notes at the beginning of the song (C,D,E,G,A) beautifully demonstrate the C major pentatonic.
$6 $5 3 5 $4 2 5 $3 2 5 $2 $1

Minor Pentatonic

The relative minor pentatonic scale uses a minor 3rd and minor 7th, so the C minor pentatonic scale would be C, E-flat, F, G, B-flat.
$6 $5 3 6 $4 3 5 $3 3 $2 $1
Please click here to play along with the pentatonic scale.