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#1
Why is the pentatonic scale so popular?
Is it because it's a great beginners scale using 5 instead of the standard 7 notes?
Because you can divide it into nice boxes?

I mean, why?
#2
here's a better question why just focus on the pentatonic when there are so many other great scales? who cares if its popular? its a scale that is uses in pretty much any music today and thats all there is to it
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#3
Its popular because it has a straight up rock n roll sound that most people like (i get annoyed when people play it tho because i like metal but...) and its easy to play because of what you said. 5 note scale instead of 7 or 8, box patterns make it easy to remember, etc.

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#4
I guess the next question is why don't people use the full minor scale?
It's two more notes full of possibilities!
#5
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
Why is the pentatonic scale so popular?
Is it because it's a great beginners scale using 5 instead of the standard 7 notes?
Because you can divide it into nice boxes?

I mean, why?


It sounds good.
#6
There's a logical reason.

Each pentatonic Major/minor scale notes work over every chord, without clashing or creating a dissonant tension.

This is also the reason why it can sound stale, because it's to easy, and is uninteresting to the ear if you just use the notes (to consonant and not dissonant enough).

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#7
There's a logical reason.

Each pentatonic Major/minor scale note work over every chord, without clashing or creating a dissonant tension.

This is also the reason why it can sound stale, because it's to easy, and is uninteresting to the ear if you just use the notes (to consonant and not dissonant enough).

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#8
how about like this: pentatonic scale has only 5 notes (so the possibility of playing 'wrong' notes are less) and when well used u can play basically anything ? and u can think that the other scales come from 'the pretty boxes that r easy to remember' with two more notes, which makes it alot easier imo. just my thought
#10
Quote by VIO-LENT
some of the greatestsons ever were written using it.


Every band that I listen to uses the pentatonic scale with the occasional blues or natural minor note.
#11
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. ~ Frédéric Chopin.

Pentatonics can create some powerful melodies also, see for instance here.
#12
Well, the real technical reason for pentatonics not creating "wrong notes" is that they dont have half steps. Thats how they make Pentatonic scales. You take a regular major or minor scale and take out all the half steps. That way, nothing EVER sounds wrong!
#13
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. ~ Frédéric Chopin.


To be honest, i doubt he meant pentatonics specifically. He probably meant playing fast doesn't make something good. Quite relevant to nowadays!

TS: I'm not a big fan of using the pentatonics, but it can have a sound all on it's own because of the box systems most people stick to.
#14
Because they're easy to use and easy to make sound good over most proggressions. Also, in the hands of a creative player, Pentatonics aren't that stale.
#16
Our music evolved from Greeks and before that from Chinese.
Chinese used pentatonic scales, the most important one being "Yu" or D minor pent (or similar).

Various european (Scotland, then Greece and others) and south american countries (Perú, Mexico, etc) then adopted the chinese's pentatonic (or pentaphonic) system, and developed it from there...

Then eventually that system came to us, and we use it..

The reason it's so popular is maybe because it sounds good, or what everyone is saying in this thread, and maybe other reasons too...
#17
Quote by gonzaw
Our music evolved from Greeks and before that from Chinese.
Chinese used pentatonic scales, the most important one being "Yu" or D minor pent (or similar).

Various european (Scotland, then Greece and others) and south american countries (Perú, Mexico, etc) then adopted the chinese's pentatonic (or pentaphonic) system, and developed it from there...

Then eventually that system came to us, and we use it..

The reason it's so popular is maybe because it sounds good, or what everyone is saying in this thread, and maybe other reasons too...


Pentatonic scale has the most chord tones and "perfect" intervals over any chord that is diatonic in it's respective key.

Aka it's the most consonant scale that we have/use/know.

Not a lot of dissonance so it often sounds stale/normal/cheap or w/e term you wanna give to it..

Then we got the blues note which is extremely dissonant.

This adds spice, because you got this beautiful consonant scale, and then a very dissonant interval, which just gives a very strong texture.

black and white, fire and water, ying and yang.

how more opposite the 2 are the more power they get individually and combined.

/

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 29, 2009,
#18
Quote by cbursley346924
Well, the real technical reason for pentatonics not creating "wrong notes" is that they dont have half steps. Thats how they make Pentatonic scales. You take a regular major or minor scale and take out all the half steps. That way, nothing EVER sounds wrong!


is this why the augmented(whole tone) scale sounds so pleasant?
#19
the pentatonic scale goes back hundreds of years. It has always been the easiest scale to play and write with
#20
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Pentatonic scale has the most chord tones and "perfect" intervals over any chord that is diatonic in it's respective key.

Aka it's the most consonant scale that we have/use/know.

Not a lot of dissonance so it often sounds stale/normal/cheap or w/e term you wanna give to it..

Then we got the blues note which is extremely dissonant.

This adds spice, because you got this beautiful consonant scale, and then a very dissonant interval, which just gives a very strong texture.

black and white, fire and water, ying and yang.

how more opposite the 2 are the more power they get individually and combined.

/



I don't think dissonance/consonance were terms refered by chinese...


Anyways, that's not a reason (or not the only one) that it is popular, just a reason that it sounds good (if it sounding good is a reason it is popular)...
#21
Quote by gonzaw
I don't think dissonance/consonance were terms refered by chinese...


Anyways, that's not a reason (or not the only one) that it is popular, just a reason that it sounds good (if it sounding good is a reason it is popular)...


TS clearly means why the pentatonic is nowadays so popular.

It's because of the consonance.

Mainstream people like consonance. How many pop songs do you know that feature b2's and/or diminished chords as opposed to pop songs that are consonant?

Dissonance is mostly an acquired taste if ur used to growing up to pop songs (which most people are, think radio/tv etc.)

I've analysed pop music for past few years and these are my theoretic findings why I think it is what it is.

Blues
is the quite popular, because it is pentatonic, but it has 1 dissonant interval added. Through this texture, there is a relativity added between consonance and dissonance. Because of this if you use the b5 note, a consonant note is perceived as "Stronger"

It is fact that people base stuff on relativity;
If you eat apple pie everyday it becomes "normal", but if you eat a pile of **** everyday, and then eat apple pie, it taste like the best thing ever)


Major should be first by this logic, but it's too consonant which leads to people finding it to obvious/cheesy, although I bet 100 bucks most people still find it sounding pleasant even though it's considered "Cheesy". (examples are classical mozart tunes and child tunes/jingles)

All music in the western world is based on the major scale, so dissonance will most likely lead to going down on the "popular ladder"

Too consonant can lead to "uninteresting".

Minor
has more dissonant intervals added, but it still is quite consonant, so it's also quite popular, but still major tunes are the most popular.

Harmonic minor/Eastern kind of stuff (phrygian dominant) is popular because of the neoclassical/"eastern" fad going on (mostly in the guitarworld), but it's not "pleasant" sounding and contains dissonant intervals and that's probably the reason why there are hardly any pop songs which feature this note set.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 30, 2009,
#23
Quote by bangoodcharlote
The V7 chord is kind of common.


Yes, but in pop music it mostly functions as V in it's major scale.

Where's based on Harmonic minor scale progression it functions as either the tonic or Vi chord if based of it's relative major.

I was aiming more as using the harmonic minor as a scale on it's own, and building chords on it's intervals.

Melodically it's used, but mostly again as part of the leading tone in a V chord of it's major scale.

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#24
The V7 chord is common in major key music, but I meant in a minor key. Most pop songs are written in major keys, but California Dreaming, for example, is in a minor key and uses the V7 chord.
#25
Pentatonic is dumb. It's too limited, if you plan to keep yourself to that scale. Even Blues scale is better. However, I like Diminished, Lydian, and Mixolydian. That's basically all I use with metal.
#26
Quote by xxdarrenxx
I was aiming more as using the harmonic minor as a scale on it's own, and building chords on it's intervals.
That isn't a pop sound at all, but using the scale like that is maybe 30 years old, while much of pop music is based on classical music, as odd as that sounds.

Quote by xxdarrenxx
Melodically it's used, but mostly again as part of the leading tone in a V chord of it's major scale.
If it's used to go back to a major scale, it's not harmonic minor, though it could be if used to go to the i chord for most of the song and then the song ends with a picardy third.
#27
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That isn't a pop sound at all, but using the scale like that is maybe 30 years old, while much of pop music is based on classical music, as odd as that sounds.


That was the whole point of my initial theory post, why that scale is NOT populary used in Pop music

I see now it is a bit misleading, but ye I meant popular in the "Guitarworld".


Quote by bangoodcharlote
The V7 chord is common in major key music, but I meant in a minor key. Most pop songs are written in major keys, but California Dreaming, for example, is in a minor key and uses the V7 chord.



Ur right;

I also heard pop tunes on occasion with b2's and chromatic pop songs.

My analyses was just based on the majority, since that post was my theory on why one scale is popular then another.

Still a theory, not a fact eh

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 30, 2009,
#29
Quote by Bornlivedie UK
Cause it's easy and most guitarists are lazy and unimaginative.



Yeah, Hendrix was completely unimaginative.


The pentatonic scale has a certain sound. Alot of people find that sound to be appropriate for their music....thats why they use it.

It's foolish for us to look down our noses and harshly judge guitarists who use it or any other particular scale.


It is what it is. If you don't like the sound of pentatonic scales, don't use them in your music.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 30, 2009,
#30
if you aint playing phrygian dominant youre just downright lazy
#31
Mixing in scales with the pentatonic minor scale = win.
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#32
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
Why is the pentatonic scale so popular?
Is it because it's a great beginners scale using 5 instead of the standard 7 notes?
Because you can divide it into nice boxes?

I mean, why?

because it can be used in pretty much any style of music. i like it because its a good "base" scale. in that i mean its good because from the pentatonic, you can alter it in ways to mix in different modes depending on what you want. but then you can always go back to it and know it will sound fine.
#33
Quote by GuitarMunky
It sounds good.


this and only this.

you can analyze music using this scale and try to find mathematical or compositional or physical reason why it's so popular... but the real reason is that it just sounds good. It's easy to play by default because it's only five notes, but it's more that the intervals used to construct the scale sound very appealing to people's ears.

some scales are more usable in certain genres than others, but there is no rule tying any scales to a type of music, or excluding any scales from a type of music. even the scale commonly referred to as the "blues scale" or the "pentatonic blues scale" is not exclusive to blues. so it makes sense that the most popular scale can be found in all types of music.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Feb 2, 2009,
#34
Each pentatonic Major/minor scale note work over every chord, without clashing or creating a dissonant tension.


This and the simple box pattern. Easy to learn, easy to use, easy to remember.
#35
Quote by Freepower
This and the simple box pattern. Easy to learn, easy to use, easy to remember.


wut someone agrees with me finally.

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#36
I agree with you most of the time, and when I don't you're usually trying to be helpful (and in a second language at that). I never see you ego-padding or talking down to people, and I respect that.
#37
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
Why is the pentatonic scale so popular?
Is it because it's a great beginners scale using 5 instead of the standard 7 notes?
Because you can divide it into nice boxes?

I mean, why?


I'll just say this, don't mess with history. It's popular because some of the best licks in Blues/Rock/Pop history have been put down by using it.

Not so much for, *sigh*, Metal users though.
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#38
Quote by frigginjerk
this and only this.

you can analyze music using this scale and try to find mathematical or compositional or physical reason why it's so popular... but the real reason is that it just sounds good. It's easy to play by default because it's only five notes, but it's more that the intervals used to construct the scale sound very appealing to people's ears.

some scales are more usable in certain genres than others, but there is no rule tying any scales to a type of music, or excluding any scales from a type of music. even the scale commonly referred to as the "blues scale" or the "pentatonic blues scale" is not exclusive to blues. so it makes sense that the most popular scale can be found in all types of music.



good post, 9/10.

would have been a ten if you'd not said 'this and only this', cos that just made you sound like a twat
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#39
Quote by xxdarrenxx
TS clearly means why the pentatonic is nowadays so popular.

It's because of the consonance.

Mainstream people like consonance. How many pop songs do you know that feature b2's and/or diminished chords as opposed to pop songs that are consonant?

Dissonance is mostly an acquired taste if ur used to growing up to pop songs (which most people are, think radio/tv etc.)

I've analysed pop music for past few years and these are my theoretic findings why I think it is what it is.

Blues
is the quite popular, because it is pentatonic, but it has 1 dissonant interval added. Through this texture, there is a relativity added between consonance and dissonance. Because of this if you use the b5 note, a consonant note is perceived as "Stronger"

It is fact that people base stuff on relativity;
If you eat apple pie everyday it becomes "normal", but if you eat a pile of **** everyday, and then eat apple pie, it taste like the best thing ever)


Major should be first by this logic, but it's too consonant which leads to people finding it to obvious/cheesy, although I bet 100 bucks most people still find it sounding pleasant even though it's considered "Cheesy". (examples are classical mozart tunes and child tunes/jingles)

All music in the western world is based on the major scale, so dissonance will most likely lead to going down on the "popular ladder"

Too consonant can lead to "uninteresting".

Minor
has more dissonant intervals added, but it still is quite consonant, so it's also quite popular, but still major tunes are the most popular.

Harmonic minor/Eastern kind of stuff (phrygian dominant) is popular because of the neoclassical/"eastern" fad going on (mostly in the guitarworld), but it's not "pleasant" sounding and contains dissonant intervals and that's probably the reason why there are hardly any pop songs which feature this note set.



haha I love you anal fcukers and your 'dissonance' and 'resolution'

IT SOUNDS GOOD, AND IT'S BEEN PROVEN TIME AFTER TIME.

END OF CHAT.
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