Pure pentatonic scales, rising or falling ‘straight’ over many octaves, are comparatively rare in live performance. We more often hear melodies of pentatonic scales tones, or soloing patterns made of repeated, overlapping segments rising or falling overall.
The Musicarta pentatonic scale-tone practice patterns and finger drills rehearse these practical music-making elements. They get you used to hearing the tones of the major and minor pentatonic scales, and cultivate fingering habits which will help you play pentatonic lines freely up and down the keyboard
This is the first of the scale-tone practice pattern pages accompanying the Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook. The patterns are all in G major pentatonic.
The eight-note pattern covers five pentatonic scale-tones. First, the first two scale-tones (T, 2) alternate before going on (up, up, up, down). Next (bars 3 and 4, the next pair (2, 3) alternate before going on, and so on. The fourth pattern is not to type but shows how a nice up-and-down run emerges from practice like this.
This is Pattern 1 but extending over three octaves. The music is all written on the same stave with clef changes.
Pattern 3 adapts the previous pattern to nine-eight time signature. Make sure you ‘get’ the rhythm. Count along “One-and-a two-and-a three-and-a One-and-a two-and-a three-and-a…” until you feel it.
This pattern dips below the starting tonic on the turn – the kind of thing you want to notice to minimise confusion and put you more in charge.
Pattern in six-eight – count “One-and-a two-and-a, one-and-a two-and-a…”.
The six-note groups here are pure zigzag. They overlap first by four notes, then by two, then finally by only one tone (the most difficult), giving a pure zigzag pattern overall.
Pattern 5 is like Pattern 4 but the last pair of notes in the groups of six is inverted. The groups of six notes overlap first by four notes, then two.
Try making a pattern which inverts the first and second pairs of notes in turn.
Click through to the second page of major pentatonic practice patterns here.