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Explaining Pentatonics Through Modes

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User ImageOlmonatron
4:55 pm Monday
October 16, 2006
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One of my teachers just explained this to me last week and it blew my mind. Assuming that you know your modes pretty well, let's first talk about the major modes: Lydian, Ionian, and Mixolydian. Now in each mode there is one or two specific notes that give the scale that feel. In Lydian, the characteristic note is a #4. In Ionian it's the natural 4 and 7. And in Mixolydian it's the b7.

Set that aside and talk about the minor modes now: Dorian, Aeolian, and Phrygian. The characteristic note for a Dorian scale is the natural 6. Aeolian is the natural 2 and the b6. Phrygian it's the b2. And let's leave Locrian on his own over there cuz he's just an outcast.

Now in the Major modes, the characteristic notes are either 4s or 7s. And what is a Major Pentatonic scale? A Major scale with no 4 or 7.

The characteristic notes in the three minor modes are either 2s or 6s. A Minor Pentatonic scale is simply a minor scale with no 2 or 6.

The reason that pentatonics work over any mode is because you never play the characteristic note! And even more ridiculous is that you can use this one fingering position for both major and minor depending on which is the root. If the red circle is the root, it's a minor pentatonic. If the second note on the low E string is the root, then it's a Major pentatonic. (Just find the tonic of the major and move down three frets and play the minor position scale)



So I hope this helps some people out. It took me years for someone to actually explain this to me. I've always just been taught "Here little boy, play this magical scale that works over any key and you'll be fine." It's so satisfying to finally understand how pentatonics work.
User Imagebeerzerker
5:23 pm Friday
October 20, 2006
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[quote:048c068955]The characteristic notes in the three minor modes are either 2s or 6s. A Minor Pentatonic scale is simply a Major scale with no 2 or 6.

I think you meant a minor pentatonic is a minor scale or mode with no 2 or 6.


rock on
User ImageT.A.Z
9:44 am Saturday
October 21, 2006
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This is pretty cool. A magazine Im subscribed to did a feature like this, but the opposite. It was how to play all the modes using the pentatonic shapes. Really helpful stuff Very happy
User ImageOlmonatron
1:18 pm Saturday
October 21, 2006
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Quote From beerzerker:
[quote:25aa23f37e]The characteristic notes in the three minor modes are either 2s or 6s. A Minor Pentatonic scale is simply a Major scale with no 2 or 6.


I think you meant a minor pentatonic is a minor scale or mode with no 2 or 6.


rock on
oh oops. good eye.
User Imagebeerzerker
3:38 pm Saturday
October 21, 2006
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easy typo to make

cool post,btw Cool

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