#1
Hey guys, I'm just a beginner in improvising and just learning some new stuffs like the scales.

I'm just wondering how to use the minor pentatonic scale in improvising/solos, in corresponding with the rhythm chord progression.

Thanks!
#3
You use the pentatonic scale (minor or major) to solo over a specific chord. Say for example you're playing a I-IV-V blues in the key of G - the I covers the first 4 measures. So you'd use the G Minor Pentatonic (any/all of the 5 patterns) to solo over the G chord. Then when you get close to the 5th measure you need to approach the C minor pentatonic and then play C minor for 2 measures, the approach the I again and G minor pentatonic...

See where I'm going with this?? Based on chord you're going to be improvising over, you need to know the associated minor pentatonic patterns for the tonic of that chord for all 5 patterns.

HTH
#4
No, you wouldn't.

TS, most pieces of music will be in a "key" - that's the chord the piece of music resolves to, the one that feels like "home. The key also tells you what other chords are likely to be used in the music and will usually be the same for the whole song, regardless of what chord from within that key is being used.

There's a fair bit you have to learn to understand this properly, but as a very rough overview.

Take a progression in E major, using the chords E A B - it resolves to the E major chord, that's the one that everything is pulling back towards. So if you were soloing over that you'd use the E major scale, regardless of the chord changes as all the chords use the notes of that scale. The major pentatonic scale is just the major scale with 2 notes omitted, so anywhere you can use a major scale you can also use it's pentatonic equivalent.

Same goes for minor keys, that just means it resolves to a minor chord rather than a major chord. A simple E minor progression would be Em Am Bm - if you were soloing over that you'd use the E minor scale, regardless of the chord changes. The minor pentatonic scale is just the minor scale with 2 notes omitted, so anywhere you can use a minor scale you can also use it's pentatonic equivalent.

In short, you need to be able to identify the key of your piece, and from that will tell you which scales you can use. That means learning some basic theory, so...

Learn the notes on the fretboard.
Learn about intervals
Learn how to construct the major scale.
Learn how to harmonise the major scale to derive the chords of the equivalent key.
Learn how to construct the minor scale and also learn it's relationship with the major scale

Have a read of Josh Urban's "Crusade" articles in the columns section, they take you through a lot of this stuff.

Also moved to Musician Talk...might I remind the MT regulars that this guy is asking about starting out with improvisation, not how to hold his own in a free-form atonal jazz jam
Actually called Mark!

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#5
^^ This might be the worst musical explanation I've read on this site.

A song might never hit the I chord of the key it's written in - granted in western music that's not likely, but you could easily write a song that doesn't revolve around the one.

The difference between a minor and major key is that the I is minor - things don't always resolve to the one especially in rock music where traditional chord functions are thrown out the window all the time.

Also you're referring to "progressions" strictly in the I-IV-V sense. Your E-A-B progression is a I-IV-V progression and what is referred to as a "cadence". However what about the common Jazz progression - II-V-I.

Using the minor/major pentatonic scales to improvise requires that the root of the chord being improvised over be located and the notes that are associated to the root be located and used to actually play something that sounds good.

So whatever chord you're improvising over - you have to know where the roots are and play the appropriate notes that sound pleasing to the tone of the chord being improvised over. These notes happen to fall into patterns based on where the root is.

Someone with the authority to move a post on this site should be able to give a better/more detailed understanding of the topic before posting as well. IMO of course.
Last edited by progrmr at May 9, 2011,
#6
Quote by steven seagull
Also moved to Musician Talk...might I remind the MT regulars that this guy is asking about starting out with improvisation, not how to hold his own in a free-form atonal jazz jam

I'll refer you to the bold bit

Please consider the level of knowledge of the guy asking the question over your own need to willy-wave - I've started at the beginning like he asked, you didn't.
Actually called Mark!

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People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#7
Quote by progrmr
^^ This might be the worst musical explanation I've read on this site.



He's right, and you're wrong. He's also one of the most respected regulars and knowledgeable people around here.

Quote by progrmr

A song might never hit the I chord of the key it's written in - granted in western music that's not likely, but you could easily write a song that doesn't revolve around the one.



But, that's the definition of 'the one' (I or i). It will always resolve to that chord.

Quote by progrmr

The difference between a minor and major key is that the I is minor - things don't always resolve to the one especially in rock music where traditional chord functions are thrown out the window all the time.



The I isn't minor in a minor key, it's major. The i in a minor key is minor. You're talking about the tonic chord being major or minor, in respectively major and minor keys.

Quote by progrmr


Also you're referring to "progressions" strictly in the I-IV-V sense. Your E-A-B progression is a I-IV-V progression and what is referred to as a "cadence". However what about the common Jazz progression - II-V-I.



Why the quotation marks? Steven's approach (in fact, the tried and true normal approach), works just as fine over a jazz-like turn-around (which is ii-V-I, or more commonly ii7-V7-I7, and NOT II-V-I). They even have the same functions, where the ii acts as a subdominant, just like the IV does.

Quote by progrmr


Using the minor/major pentatonic scales to improvise requires that the root of the chord being improvised over be located and the notes that are associated to the root be located and used to actually play something that sounds good.



I can't argue with the fact that you should know which chord is being played, and should improvise accordingly over that. Things go bad in the next paragraph though.

Quote by progrmr


So whatever chord you're improvising over - you have to know where the roots are and play the appropriate notes that sound pleasing to the tone of the chord being improvised over. These notes happen to fall into patterns based on where the root is.



Yes, you can play the G major scale over the V in C. But, you're acting as if it is standard approach. Standard approach is to play the C major scale in this case.

Quote by progrmr


Someone with the authority to move a post on this site should be able to give a better/more detailed understanding of the topic before posting as well. IMO of course.


No, you're wrong. Get a theory book or a better instructor before trying to help people.
#8
Quote by kaves
Hey guys, I'm just a beginner in improvising and just learning some new stuffs like the scales.

I'm just wondering how to use the minor pentatonic scale in improvising/solos, in corresponding with the rhythm chord progression.

Thanks!



The scale and chord progression are linked. Where are the progressions coming from? Are you starting slow and basic, like blues patterns? Those are great for exploring your improv with and you should stay with those for a while.

Is the option for getting a private teacher to guide you through all this on the table?

Sean
#9
Quote by Keth
Why the quotation marks? Steven's approach (in fact, the tried and true normal approach), works just as fine over a jazz-like turn-around (which is ii-V-I, or more commonly ii7-V7-I7, and NOT II-V-I). They even have the same functions, where the ii acts as a subdominant, just like the IV does.


Good post apart from this. 7 as in dominant seventh? More like iim7 - V7 - IM7, and there are usually extensions.
#11
Quote by Keth
Ah yeah, you're completely right, thanks for correcting.


No problem.

Though my real contribution to this thread is just a reiteration of the first post:

Listen to solos that use pentatonic ideas and learn them. Off the top of my head Miles' solo on So What has some pentatonic stuff. I think after the modulation he uses more doriany lines. Then of course a lot of rock music uses pentatonic soloing ideas.
#12
Quote by progrmr
^^ This might be the worst musical explanation I've read on this site.


lol u trollin bro

playing the three pentatonic scales based on the three chords in your progression isn't really the height of improvisational creativity -- not to mention it's theoretically incorrect.

lets say you have your progression - a 12 bar blues in the key of Gm. let's make them all minor chords, your post was kind of pointing in that direction.

Gm - G Bb D
Cm - C Eb G
Dm - D F A

and look at the notes in the pentatonic scales:

Gm - G Bb C D F G
Cm - C Eb F G Bb C
Dm - D F G A C D

you're going to notice that the only notes you have are:

G A Bb C D Eb F G

which "just happens" to be the natural minor scale. so while you may think that you're playing the pentatonic scale on three roots, you're actually playing a minor scale on one. any other notes you throw in outside this scale are accidentals. simple as that. extending the chords to include the minor seventh (Gm7 - Cm7 - Dm7) would produce the same results, since the three notes added in this way are F, Bb, and C, respectively -- all are diatonic to the key.

and it doesn't matter if a song in E major never hits an Emaj chord. if the harmony implies E major as the tonal center, E major is the scale to use, even if the tonic chord is never actually played. so this is not relevant.

perhaps you should focus on the flaws in your own understanding, rather than criticizing those of someone else (who happens to have an extensive understanding of theory).
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#13
Quote by progrmr
^^ This might be the worst musical explanation I've read on this site.

A song might never hit the I chord of the key it's written in - granted in western music that's not likely, but you could easily write a song that doesn't revolve around the one.

The difference between a minor and major key is that the I is minor - things don't always resolve to the one especially in rock music where traditional chord functions are thrown out the window all the time.

Also you're referring to "progressions" strictly in the I-IV-V sense. Your E-A-B progression is a I-IV-V progression and what is referred to as a "cadence". However what about the common Jazz progression - II-V-I.

Using the minor/major pentatonic scales to improvise requires that the root of the chord being improvised over be located and the notes that are associated to the root be located and used to actually play something that sounds good.

So whatever chord you're improvising over - you have to know where the roots are and play the appropriate notes that sound pleasing to the tone of the chord being improvised over. These notes happen to fall into patterns based on where the root is.

Someone with the authority to move a post on this site should be able to give a better/more detailed understanding of the topic before posting as well. IMO of course.


You need to stop being stupid. That guy's one of the most knowledgable and respected people around here. You gave me the most horrible explaination that made me question if you even know music to begin with. Please review his post and learn something from it.
#14
Quote by AeolianWolf

......
lets say you have your progression - a 12 bar blues in the key of Gm. let's make them all minor chords, your post was kind of pointing in that direction.

Gm - G Bb D
Cm - C Eb G
Dm - D F A

and look at the notes in the pentatonic scales:

Gm - G Bb C D F G
Cm - C Eb F G Bb C
Dm - D F G A C D

you're going to notice that the only notes you have are:

G A Bb C D Eb F G

which "just happens" to be the natural minor scale. so while you may think that you're playing the pentatonic scale on three roots, you're actually playing a minor scale on one. any other notes you throw in outside this scale are accidentals. simple as that. extending the chords to include the minor seventh (Gm7 - Cm7 - Dm7) would produce the same results, since the three notes added in this way are F, Bb, and C, respectively -- all are diatonic to the key.
...


Oi!! Learned something here - Crazy! How did I never see this?

I come to you all with hat in hand and humbly admit that I have obviously been WAY off on some aspects of musical theory. I will avoid giving advice on the topic - at least until I have a clear understanding of things.

Heck - maybe things will be easier with a fresh frame of reference. I'm probably over-complicating the issue and causing myself a lot of undo stress on the musical process.
#15
Quote by progrmr
Oi!! Learned something here - Crazy! How did I never see this?

I come to you all with hat in hand and humbly admit that I have obviously been WAY off on some aspects of musical theory. I will avoid giving advice on the topic - at least until I have a clear understanding of things.

Heck - maybe things will be easier with a fresh frame of reference. I'm probably over-complicating the issue and causing myself a lot of undo stress on the musical process.


The ability to gracefully admit you're wrong is a quite rare quality in this day and age and for that you have my respect. Good luck in your studies.
#17
Quote by Sóknardalr
The ability to gracefully admit you're wrong is a quite rare quality in this day and age and for that you have my respect. Good luck in your studies.


this. seriously.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#18
Quote by progrmr
I have purchased "Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask" from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/063406651X ). Hopefully this will break the mold of "patterns" based learning of the neck for some real theory!


Just remember, knowledge isn't a license to treat others so arrogantly. It takes no skill at all to be a jerk. While we have our moments, by and large we tend to encourage a culture of respect in this forum, and it's definitely not an immature free for all. I echo the other's sentiments as far as having respect for you about coming clean.

Sean
#19
Hello,

What helped me the most was playing the pentatonic scale with a blues back track, it gave me a chance to see what sounded good and what not. Also try adding diff things to your playing, like vibrato, hammer on's, pull offs. Just try it and after awhile you will just do them naturally

GOOD LUCK!!