# Question about soloing / improvising over a chord progression (using pentatonics)

Ok, I'm starting to learn theory, and this area has always interested me- it's pretty much why I wanted to learn theory to begin with.

I just read a lesson on this site about major pentatonics which was very useful, but I'm confused about one thing.

The lesson had an example about improvising over a C E G progression, using major pentatonics. It had about 8 notes from the C pentatonic scale descending as the C chord was played, a bunch of noted of the E pentatonic while the E chord was played and same with G.

This all made sense to me, playing C's scale over the C chord. but what about if the rhythm is really fast? What if that C E G progression is played within the time of a second or 2, then just repeated over and over again... Rather than playing one chord for a bit, then switching to a new chord after a few seconds.

I hope that makes sense, I'm thinking mostly of stuff like Metallica. Master of puppets' riff (if in standard tuning) has a few palm muted E's, then a G/A followed by Bb\A then G/A again.
So if you were to improvise over this and followed the same logic (playing G's scale while the G chord is playing, A during A, etc...) you'd only have time for a note! So would you kind of just... play a note from G's scale followed right after by a note from A's scale? Also what about during the palm muted E's? Play the E pentatonic scale?

I'm really sorry if this doesn't make sense- if it doesn't don't worry, I'm just hoping somebody would know what I'm talking about...

Thanks a lot
you have to figure out what key the part is in and play notes from that key. i'm not 100% sure which riff you're talking about but lets just say it's in the key of Em, then you would play notes from the Em scale. make sense?
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Soloing in the key of the backing chords is fine, and is just another way to solo over a chord progression. When the chords are going too fast for any meaningful lead to be played over it in its key, then you have to change your approach because the speed is just too fast.

In this case, you have to take the tonality of the whole song (or at least the part you are playing over) and solo in an appropriate scale. In this case, the tonality is Em, so E minor or E minor pentatonic would work.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

Ok - soloing under E minor makes sense because that's the tonality or key.

But how do you know it's in E minor?

This is how I think you would know- please let me know if I'm wrong.

The E major scale = E F# G# A B C# D# E
and Aeolian mode = minor = 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b 1
So E minor = E F# G A B C D E
And that contains most of the riff (E, G, and A anyway)

So did I do that right? Is there an easier way/ faster way to do it? Or would that just come with practice?

While we're talking about it, does this follow any kind of chord progression? I haven't looked at progressions too much so bear with me, but:
In E minor, if the riff goes: palm muted E's, then a G/A followed by Bb\A then G/A again, that chord progression would be:
1 3 / 4 5b \ 4
Right?
Or
I III IV Vb IV (I don't understand completely yet why only some numerals are supposed to be capitalized- I know the it's the majors that are but I still can't "identify" those, but that's for another day)

Is that some kind of progression that's similar to a scale that somebody could use to come up with this riff? Like using a progression to get that riff similar to using a scale to come up with a solo? If so, what exactly would that progression be?

Thanks a lot for all your help and patience, I know it's probably tricky to make sense out of what I'm asking here....
I know the tonality if Em because the main scale that is used is Em, it resolves to Em and that is a Metallica song, so Em would be a good guess.

I doubt that they came up with a chord progression, they just played around the Em scale with power chords for the most part.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer the rest though.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.