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The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook
'Ambling Around'

The Major Pentatonic Scale, Part Two

This module continues to develop your performance of 'Ambling Around', the Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook piece designed to teach you the basic sounds and shapes of the major pentatonic scale.

Here's a reminder of the final performance we're aiming for.

The ending

We start off learning the the full, descending pentatonic scale ending you've been hearing and seeing at the end of the module performance.

This means you can play a one-chorus performance with the proper ending instead of the pattern-at-the-top from the Part One.

First and second time endings

In the music (in your lesson notes/Workbook), you see first and second time endings, like this.

The brackets 1. and 2. tell you, the first time to play the bar marked "1.", then repeat from the beginning, and the second time, when you get there again, to skip bar "1." and play bar "2.".

You have just learned the second time, final ending. Now you learn the first time ending to go round and double the length of your performance.

A full-length, two-handed performance

Here's a performance milestone.

Now that you can play both the first and second time endings, play along with the Ambling Around performance video.

Take careful note of where you trip up ( if at all!) and practice scientifically, establishing what you don't know well enough (the notes, jumps, fingering, which hands) and drilling that specifically.

Fingering the right hand melody performance

Now we start working on playing the tune with just the right hand and adding the left hand bass for a full solo performance.

This means first of all working out the fingering. You can only play the music you can get your fingers to in time!

Every time you play/practice the major pentatonic scale, its sound and shape on the keyboard sink in a little further and your ability to 'see the music in the keyboard' improves.

So don't skimp on these repetitions! Pause and copy everything on the videos.

Here is a fingering drill for the major pentatonic scale, descending.

Here is a fingering drill for the major pentatonic scale, ascending. Listen carefully in both these patterns for any lack of evenness.

If you've had classical piano lessons you'll be used to passing the thumb under/fingers over from your scales. If you're not familiar with the technique, or just a bit rusty, use the pentatonic scale practice patterns on the Ambling Around Scales page to get (back) up to speed.

You can't do too much scale practice, especially on the pentatonic scales, which are 'practically music already'.

A right hand solo performance

Now see if your right hand is well-enough prepared for this accompanied solo performance.

If things are going well, try this 'karaoke' version of the same performance.

Learning the bass

Apart from the first and second time endings, the bass line uses only the root (name-note) and fifth of the chord - the 'most likely' bass notes in any chordal music, so well worth learning.

Here are those notes in F.

And in G.

The pattern in C is slightly different, but still uses only the fifth and root.

Now, try to keep up with this performance, playing just seven bass notes (root, fifth, root, etc.) in the F, G and C positions before finishing with the

Then tackle the three-note runs that join the bass line up when it moves to the next chord.

Along with the first and second time endings, this gives you the complete bass line.

Rehearse the bass line solo over the final Ambling Around video performance (top and bottom of this page).

(You'll notice the Musicarta performance has a bit more 'fancy' in the bass line. Ignore it and play your straight bass until you're fluent, then come back and see if you can copy the alternative joining-up figures.)

Putting the hands together

Now "all you have to do" (as teachers often say!) is put the hands together.

No matter how well you've prepared, hands-together performance always demands special hands-together practicing. The best tip is to practice the F, G and C patterns on their own but hands together first, with just the simple seven-note bass pattern.

Once you can get right through a chorus, try joining the sections of the bass line up.

If things don't go to plan, pinpoint your mistakes and target your practice accordingly.

Here's the full and final performance.

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The Pentatonic Scales
Practice Patterns
Melody Work and
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Pentatonic Riffs
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Minor Pentatonic
Major Pentatonic
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