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> Pentatonic Scales
steve25
post Jul 11 2007, 06:37 PM
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I've been practicing the minor pentatonic scale and finally decided to start looking at the major pentatonic scale and noticed that they are both identical, what is with this? For example the C major pentatonic scale is identical to the A minor pentatonic scale, what is the point in that? How will you be able to tell what key you are playing in if 2 are the same and aren't major and minor supposed to be opposite? I mean minor is supposed to be sad sounding whereas major should be happy sounding if they're the same that's impossible? Can someone help me out with this?
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Andrew Cockburn
post Jul 11 2007, 06:57 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Jul 11 2007, 01:37 PM) *
I've been practicing the minor pentatonic scale and finally decided to start looking at the major pentatonic scale and noticed that they are both identical, what is with this? For example the C major pentatonic scale is identical to the A minor pentatonic scale, what is the point in that? How will you be able to tell what key you are playing in if 2 are the same and aren't major and minor supposed to be opposite? I mean minor is supposed to be sad sounding whereas major should be happy sounding if they're the same that's impossible? Can someone help me out with this?


Hi there - you are touching on an interesting subject - relative minors (and indirectly modes). Theory lessons here, here and here.

The big thing here is not to compare A minor pentatonic with C major pentatonic - why would you do that ? They are completely different keys. Instead, compare A minor Pentatonic with A Major pentatonic and you will see that they sound quite different. And another point is that even if you play C Major P and A minor P together, you are starting on different notes (C and A respectively) so the sequencing of the notes is not identical, meaning one can sound major and the other can sound minor.

The fact that C major Penta and A minor Penta share notes does point the way to some interesting theory, and means you can reuse the paterns, but don't confuse them as being identical.

This post has been edited by Andrew Cockburn: Jul 11 2007, 06:59 PM


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steve25
post Jul 11 2007, 07:10 PM
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Hi Andrew. Ok thanks i will look at those lessons when i get back tonight as there are 3 of them i won't look now. But i kind of see what you're saying already i'll have to mess about a little bit
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fkalich
post Jul 11 2007, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Jul 11 2007, 01:10 PM) *
Hi Andrew. Ok thanks i will look at those lessons when i get back tonight as there are 3 of them i won't look now. But i kind of see what you're saying already i'll have to mess about a little bit

Andrew is correct, the home note being different is key here.

One must keep a distinction between the equal temperament scale, and the theoretical scales that this attempts to approximate. The lowest possible frequency ratio of a major scale (beginning at the home note) are:

24 27 30 32 36 40 45

For a minor scale, again beginning at the home note, they are

120 135 144 160 180 192 216

In fact, for the major scale, the minor chord based at the 2nd note is not a true minor. Furthermore, for a minor scale, the major chord based at the 5th note is not a true major.

So you all don't start thinking I am all that smart here, i just remember this from awhile back, and worked out the ratios just now. I think I got it right, but if I screwed up somewhere, it would be in one of the ratios. the fundamental point is that the true scales are not the same in terms of the frequency relations of the notes of the scale. The same equal temperament scale is used to approximate both scales though, and is off the mark in different ways, depending on which it is trying to approximate. This is a bit of a difficult concept to explain, Andrew can tackle it if he chooses.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Jul 11 2007, 08:14 PM
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Andrew Cockburn
post Jul 11 2007, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jul 11 2007, 03:07 PM) *
Andrew can tackle it if he chooses.


Thanks wink.gif Its a tough one allright but I'll add it to the list.


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fkalich
post Jul 11 2007, 09:45 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jul 11 2007, 03:23 PM) *
Thanks wink.gif Its a tough one allright but I'll add it to the list.


I agree. this is an interesting thing to me. I think it means something significant. Take key of C major. If you fiddle around on an acoustic, and play the C major chords, does it not seem like D minor has a different character to you than A minor and E minor? It does to me. A minor and E minor sound like twins when playing in C major. And they are chords that you can stay on for awhile. But D minor has a sense to me (in C major) of being a chord that wants to be transitional, to move to something else right away from it (when playing in C major.) And that is the chord that has frequency ratios (starting at the base of the chord) of 27 32 40 in that key. The other two minor chords in C major have ratios of 10 12 15.

edit: i am not saying that you don't stay in D minor for a time, when playing in C major, that is interesting. I think that is the kind of thing that say, the Eagles used to do with minor chords. But there seems to me to be a tension there, a pull, different from the other two "true minor" chords of that key.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Jul 11 2007, 09:49 PM
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Andrew Cockburn
post Jul 11 2007, 10:00 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jul 11 2007, 04:45 PM) *
I agree. this is an interesting thing to me. I think it means something significant. Take key of C major. If you fiddle around on an acoustic, and play the C major chords, does it not seem like D minor has a different character to you than A minor and E minor? It does to me. A minor and E minor sound like twins when playing in C major. And they are chords that you can stay on for awhile. But D minor has a sense to me (in C major) of being a chord that wants to be transitional, to move to something else right away from it (when playing in C major.) And that is the chord that has frequency ratios (starting at the base of the chord) of 27 32 40 in that key. The other two minor chords in C major have ratios of 10 12 15.

edit: i am not saying that you don't stay in D minor for a time, when playing in C major, that is interesting. I think that is the kind of thing that say, the Eagles used to do with minor chords. But there seems to me to be a tension there, a pull, different from the other two "true minor" chords of that key.


Yes there is definstely something there - in a similar vein, even when I don't know the pitches, I can identify chords based on their "character" - which is I guess because they all have slightly different compromises to the mathematical ideal.


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fkalich
post Jul 11 2007, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jul 11 2007, 04:00 PM) *
Yes there is definstely something there - in a similar vein, even when I don't know the pitches, I can identify chords based on their "character" - which is I guess because they all have slightly different compromises to the mathematical ideal.


yeah, but like we said, if someone is entirely new to this kind of thing, and that is to be expected for many, like Ricky Ricardo would say "Luuuuuuucy, you got some s'plaining to do!"
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