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Old 07-05-2015, 08:35 PM   #1
liampje
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How to make a pentatonic scale from any mode

Hey all,

My theory book says that the major pentatonic scale has the scale degrees 1,2,3,5,6.

For a minor pentatonic scale it would be 1,3,4,5,7 (A C D E G for A minor pentatonic).

So it's not necessarily the scale degrees, but just removing the half steps right?

But problems occur when I'm trying to write out D dorian pentatonic. What note do I remove?

D dorian contains D E F G A B C D.

To preserve its minor characteristic I have removed E and not F, because no minor third would mean no minor scale. But then there is the B C. Which one would be theoretically more correct to leave out? The 6th or 7th scale degree? It boils down to either D F G A B D or D F G A C D.

Which one would be the theoretically correct D dorian pentatonic?
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:43 PM   #2
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I think you are confused about pentatonic scales. A pentatonic scale is any scale with 5 tones in it. Usually in western music it refers to the particular major and minor pentatonic scales that you described. But it's not like you just go and derive a pentatonic scale from every scale. The idea of using a particular scale is to get particular tonal colors, so trying to arbitrarily create pentatonic scales by shaving out notes without a particular goal in mind isn't really of significant value.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:52 PM   #3
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoMvsEu

Which results into more than five notes in one scale. That's more of a combination of two scales rather than a scale on its own.

Adding a major sixth to the pentatonic scale would give a dorian scale vibe. But that's six tones there, not 5 as the name pentatonics imply.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by second post in linked thread
Code:
Dorian |R|-|o|o|-| |o|-|o|o|-| |o|-|o|-|-| |o|-|R|-|o| |o|-|o|-|o| |R|-|o|o|-|



This refers to how the Dorian mode looks. 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7.

This thread is referenced in the third post and gives the answer:

Quote:
Dorian pentatonic: 1 2 b3 5 6 1
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NeoMvsEu
This refers to how the Dorian mode looks. 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7.

This thread is referenced in the third post and gives the answer:


Okay, that was 100% clear. So you just take the characteristic notes of a scale and use those, omit the ones they have in common with other scales etc.

Thanks
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:50 AM   #7
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If you compare the major Pentatonic scale to the three major modes you'll find that the notes left out of the Pentatonic scale are the ones altered by the modes. Using G as the tonal center, G major Pentatonic is G A B D E, G Ionian is G A B C D E F# G, G Lydian is G A B C# D E F# G and G Mixolydian is G A B C D E F G. You can see that the fourth and seventh degrees of each of the modes are the ones that get altered and those are the ones left out of the Pentatonic scale. The major Pentatonic scale could be thought of as the skeleton and it's the altered notes that determine the actual flavor of a passage, solo or song.

Same thing goes for the minor Pentatonic scale and the three so called minor modes: Aeolian, Dorian and Phrygian. Using A as the tonal center, A minor Pentatonic would be A C D E G, A Aeolian would be A B C D E F G A, A Dorian would be A B C D E F# G A and A Phrygian would be A Bb C D E F G A. Note that it's the second and sixth degrees of the modes that get altered and those are the degrees left out of the Pentatonic scale.

This is why the Pentatonic scale is used so commonly in every popular form of music and should never be thought of as too simple to warrant practice and study.

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Old 07-06-2015, 12:59 AM   #8
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are you really still this thick? didn't we go through this whole conversation for like a year, like, 3 years ago? shouldn't you already have this figured out?
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hail
are you really still this thick? didn't we go through this whole conversation for like a year, like, 3 years ago? shouldn't you already have this figured out?

5 years later and still wasting time with modes smh
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hail
are you really still this thick? didn't we go through this whole conversation for like a year, like, 3 years ago? shouldn't you already have this figured out?

No. 3 years ago it was about modality. Now it's about modes as scales. There is a difference.

I took my theory from scratch again and now I don't just read but I try to use it. If my book says that major pentatonic has scale degrees 1,2,3,5,6, then I'll try to push my self to figure out pentatonic scales for modes. And yes, my theory book does cover modal scales very soon after the first page.

This way I can only move on if I truly understand.

I don't know why you think that asking what a modal scale is equal asking in what mode a song is.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:25 AM   #11
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The D dorian pentatonic would be the same as the D minor pentatonic.

If you don't want to play that, play the D dorian scale, and omit any notes you like.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liampje
No. 3 years ago it was about modality. Now it's about modes as scales. There is a difference.

I took my theory from scratch again and now I don't just read but I try to use it. If my book says that major pentatonic has scale degrees 1,2,3,5,6, then I'll try to push my self to figure out pentatonic scales for modes. And yes, my theory book does cover modal scales very soon after the first page.

This way I can only move on if I truly understand.

I don't know why you think that asking what a modal scale is equal asking in what mode a song is.


i think they're both equally missing the point

go pick up a trombone or something and take private lessons on that and learn to take a practical perspective on music. most musicians, beyond sheet music, don't learn theory for several years. why? because they'd do what guitarists do and focus too much on the wrong stuff.

at the end of the day, nobody cares what scale you are playing. at the end of reading your theory book, are you gonna be able to write a song? if so, i assure you it's not going to be as well if you had spent the last however developing that skillset

i feel like a lot of people spend so much time looking for shortcuts they overlook how simple music is. whether you spent 5 years studying at a prestigious university or you just sat in your bedroom making music you thought sounded good, at the end of the day, it's just a collection of sounds, and as long as it's compelling, people will respond to it

you can try all you want to dissect scales in whatever way you please, but how often does it matter in the real world which 5 notes from which modal scale you play? and even if it did, you should be able to pick that up without having to sit and think about it because you should know every sound of every note on your fretboard far quicker than you should be able to recall the note name and shape.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:00 AM   #13
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There's no reason for "modal pentatonic scales". Minor pentatonic works over any minor mode. Major pentatonic works over any major mode. That's because the scales DON'T have the characteristic pitches of the modes. And that's what makes the pentatonic scales so flexible. That's why you can play them over almost anything.

There's no such thing as a "dorian pentatonic". Or maybe there is, but there's no reason for its existence. You can just play the dorian scale.

Or you can just forget about modes altogether.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
i think they're both equally missing the point

go pick up a trombone or something and take private lessons on that and learn to take a practical perspective on music. most musicians, beyond sheet music, don't learn theory for several years. why? because they'd do what guitarists do and focus too much on the wrong stuff.

at the end of the day, nobody cares what scale you are playing. at the end of reading your theory book, are you gonna be able to write a song? if so, i assure you it's not going to be as well if you had spent the last however developing that skillset

i feel like a lot of people spend so much time looking for shortcuts they overlook how simple music is. whether you spent 5 years studying at a prestigious university or you just sat in your bedroom making music you thought sounded good, at the end of the day, it's just a collection of sounds, and as long as it's compelling, people will respond to it

you can try all you want to dissect scales in whatever way you please, but how often does it matter in the real world which 5 notes from which modal scale you play? and even if it did, you should be able to pick that up without having to sit and think about it because you should know every sound of every note on your fretboard far quicker than you should be able to recall the note name and shape.


You're just making assumptions that aren't correct.

I know how simple the music is I play. I know playing comes first, then theory.

Before I started to learn theory I was playing for five years. With that, there are people who naturally have a vibe to some kind of theory. They will ''automatically'' feel what a cadence is and they know it sounds resolved.

Before I started on theory, I just played. Just playing is boring in my opinion. I want to know what I'm doing. I want to know what others are doing.

Ofcourse I can cook vegetables without knowing I'm breaking up the cell-walls of the cells in the vegetable. So you have people just dumping their vegetables in hot water and there is people like me, who are curious about why we do that. Same goes for music. I want to understand it. I know it's simple, especially the music I typically play.

The only reason I'm posting about scales is because my theory book discusses it.

There is bald theory and there is applied theory. I just wanted to know what the algorithm was of a pentatonic scale. No need to get your panties wet about me trying to learn music theory. I already have a practical perspective of music.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
The D dorian pentatonic would be the same as the D minor pentatonic.

If you don't want to play that, play the D dorian scale, and omit any notes you like.


^ basically this. Minor pentatonic (R-b3-4-5-b7) (and its inversions) are the only standard ones recognized. Any repeating five-note pattern (including the one earlier postulated, R-2-b3-5-6) is technically a pentatonic one, but cutting two notes from the Dorian mode would leave it sounding rather empty from the lack of scale degrees 4 and b7.

Basically, you should worry less about the pentatonic scale and focus more on the chords - major, minor, diminished - in context. If you want to alter the tonality slightly, go for it, but limiting your notes may not be the best idea.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liampje
Before I started to learn theory I was playing for five years. With that, there are people who naturally have a vibe to some kind of theory. They will ''automatically'' feel what a cadence is and they know it sounds resolved.



To be fair, that is more have a good ear than having a "vibe for theory".

I agree with Hail on this one, you are better of just playing and learning than trying to go down the rabbit hole with theory. Theory is great, but it is never the main focus, it is the explanation afterwards.

So let's say you could make a pentatonic scale from any of the modes, then what? Can you use it? What benefit does it give you having a pentatonic over having the full scale? Do you have ideas already that crave the pentatonic? Basically, why?

If you had learned a lot of pentatonic approaches ala Michael Brecker and wanted to expand on that for example i could understand, but pentatonic scales based on modes just for the sake of theory is something i don't get.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:38 AM   #17
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^What Sickz said.

Thinking about like a "Dorian" Pentatonic scale isn't really productive, because pentatonic scales are often used to generalize the harmony.

What you are better off doing, is superimposing them. Imagine Bm pent over Am7. That gives you:

B D E F# A
9 11 5 13 1

That's Dorian-ish. I did a huge Jet Talks Jazz on this, start there.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...=jet+talks+jazz

Unlike most of everyone in here, I'm NOT going to tell you to give up looking into a concept you're interested in. Only to tread carefully and take your time learning.

Everyone chill out.

Ps: I've SEEN this be called a Dorian pentatonic:

1 2 b3 5 6

D E F A B

But I can't disagree more, that's more of a MM thing, also discussed in the JTJ.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickz
but pentatonic scales based on modes just for the sake of theory is something i don't get.


Really learning anything just for the sake of learning it is silly. Why spend time learning something that you won't use when you could learn something of value to you?

If you don't plan on using sweep picking ever, why put it the effort to learn it? If you don't plan on ever fingerpicking, why bother with it? If you don't plan on ever playing slide guitar, there's no point in learning to use a slide.

And it's the same with theory or anything. There is no point in focusing on things you probably won't need just to know them when you could be working on things that you will need.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liampje
No. 3 years ago it was about modality. Now it's about modes as scales. There is a difference.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickz
So let's say you could make a pentatonic scale from any of the modes, then what? Can you use it? What benefit does it give you having a pentatonic over having the full scale? Do you have ideas already that crave the pentatonic? Basically, why?

Pretty much. To me, it's treating theory as prescriptive rather than descriptive. If there's no practical benefit, then why bother?

Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 07-06-2015 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by liampje
This way I can only move on if I truly understand.

Then you better get comfortable cuz it's gonna be a loooooonnng while
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