Modes and Chords of the Pentatonic Scale (January 2013)

Often Major and minor Pentatonic scales are discussed as separate identities.

The minor Pentatonic scale is actually a mode of the Major Pentatonic scale.

Take 5 applicable degrees/notes from the Major scale, they are,
1 2 3 5 and 6.
4 and 7 of the Major scale are not used.

Looking at the 5 modes of the Major Pentatonic scale, that is,
Mode 1: 1 2 3 5 6, 1.
Mode 2: 2 3 5 6 1, 2.
Mode 3: 3 5 6 1 2, 3.
Mode 5: 5 6 1 2 3, 5.
Mode 6: 6 1 2 3 5, 6.

Each mode will require a chord.

Mode 1:

Mode 1 Major Pentatonic

The chord for mode 1 is the same as the chord for mode 1 or Ionian
mode of the 7 note Major scale. This will be a Major chord.

The mode 1 Major Pentatonic scale is therefore played over the Major chord.

Mode 2:

Mode 2 Major Pentatonic C

The chord for mode 2 is the same as the chord for mode 2 or Dorian mode of the 7 note Major scale. This will be a minor chord.

The mode 2 minor Pentatonic scale is therefore played over the minor chord.

You can follow where we are heading with this for mode 3 and mode 5.

Go to mode 6:

Mode 6 Major Pentatonic

This is the minor Pentatonic scale that we usually hear about as an independant scale.

The chord for mode 6 is the same as the chord for mode 6 or Aeolian mode of the 7 note Major scale. This will be a minor chord.

The mode 6 minor Pentatonic scale is therefore played over the minor chord.

For ease of applying the 5 note scale across the fretboard, make the degrees read 1 2 3 4 5 instead of 1 2 3 5 6.

Now we look at the 5 modes of the Major Pentatonic scale this way:
Mode 1: 1 2 3 4 5, 1.
Mode 2: 2 3 4 5 1, 2.
Mode 3: 3 4 5 1 2, 3.
Mode 4: 4 5 1 2 3, 4.
Mode 5: 5 1 2 3 4, 5.

There is more key information to tell you about how to cover this approach thoroughly.

Please spend $2.95 (App pricing) to find out the easy way to play and understand theory across the fretboard using the Guitarmodes method.

Regards, Ross

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28 Jan 2013