Musicarta ~ PATREON ~ Premium

Staggered Pentatonic Scales

Study and Improv Module


Here's a creative module based on your minor pentatonic scales (with the #4/b5 chromatic passing tone/CPT).

* This web page assumes you are familiar with the minor pentatonic scale and the primary #4/b5 CPT, via, for example, the Musicarta Pentatonic Workbook or the collected Pentatonic Hanon and Diary entries on Musicarta Patreon Tier One.

The Staggered Pentatonic Scales practice pattern

Here's the full-on 'staggered' scale practice pattern. For reference only - there are build-up drills below!

No fingering on the scrolling MS in the video, but there is in the download for this module.

Note: The left hand/bass uses a major seventh (*) in order to fit the pattern more tunefully.

If you haven't already, download the MS for this module using this link.

Build-up

You might not be able to take that on board immediately, here are two 'build-up' drills.

(They're perfectly respectable 'stand-alone' pentatonic scale drills, btw!)

Build-up drill 1

The first build-up drill is in 4-4 and has no overlap.

The fingering for the minor pentatonic + cpt (one octave) is given. You will need to learn this fingering or any reliable alternative.

The left hand could make some adjustment adjustment to the fingering just before swapping to the new tonic - let your hand be the judge!

Build-up drill 2

The second build-up drill is in 3-4, so now with overlap. The fingering should be 'settling in' by now.

Once you're comfortable with those two patterns, graduate to two octaves and play the main-course pattern.


A sample staggered-pentatonic riff

As Musicarta frequently points out, the pentatonic scales are 'practically music already'. None more so than the pentatonic minor (here with the one CPT).

So here we have an off-the-shelf riff featuring the staggered-start minor pentatonic scales you have been learning (above).

Note that, apart from the first time, the right hand starts on the second note of the rising or falling scale. Think ahead!

Don't forget, you can download the MS for this module using this link.

First thing to wrap your head around is the 3-4 time signature. No big deal! The musical power of the minor pentatonic scale overshadows this so-called 'waltz time' entirely! The 'jazz waltz' is also a venerated genre.

Secondly, note the multiple adjustments to the pure pattern made to accommodate tunefully to the chord changes.

In the second chorus, the left hand defaults to a generic four-note-up, four-note-down accompaniment pattern - on the same rhythm. This is just half-the-scale-and-turn-back - figure it out!

Sample riff - slow-mo performance

You might find this slow-mo riff performance useful - to play along to as you're learning, for example.

Practice hands separately. Fingering is not given! (The time you'd spend 'copying' the fingering is far better spent demanding that your hands 'come up with something workable'...)


"Going on from here"

Improv work-out

The riff fades out on the C pattern of the second-chorus texture, with the left hand supplying the 'four up, four down' accompaniment.

The staple requirement of solo (blues) improvisation is to set your left hand accompaniment to automatic while your right hand 1. plays various riffs you will already worked out, or, hopefully, 2. improvises timeless solos marveled over down the ages.

The staggered pentatonic scales work will help you work towards this goal.

'All you have to do' is, using the structure above, work out/improvise tuneful groups of minor pentatonic scales-tones, like the ascending and descending minor pentatonic scales in the riff, while the left hand continues to set off on - for example - the four-notes-up, four-notes-down accompaniment pattern in the second chorus of the 'Staggered Riff'.

Easy, it isn't! Here's a video of some sample 3-4 jamming riffs. Section descriptions, separate segments and slow-mo version for ease of study are on Staggered Scales, page 2.


Just before you go...

A different scale practice pattern

Using the hand position and fingering from the build-up drills, run through the white-note tonics on this scale practice pattern. Get a sense of the shape of the sound: it 'rhymes', and this should encourage you to get through to the end in time and in one go.

Because you are of course no 'slave to the dots', you will quickly realize the pattern alternates these two 'contours'.

Followed by...

Alternate the two contours up through the rest of the white-note tonics (from the bottom on Bm pentatonic, from the top on Cm pentatonic, and so on).

You can either copy the fingering from Build-up 1 above, or use the opportunity to 'work it out again from scratch'. (The improvising popular-style keyboard has the music in his/her head, and trains 'can-do' hands to 'just play it'!)

Practicing works! Daily application to this and other (minor) pentatonic scale exercises will accustom your hand to the 'keyboard feel' of these essential scales, as well as tuning your ear to the landmark scale-tones.

The Staggered Scales jamming workshop awaits...

PATREON
Pentatonic Hanon
home page



The Musicarta
BEAT & RHYTHM WORKBOOK is now available!

A methodical approach to keyboard syncopation for

ONLY $24.95!

Learn more!


MUSICARTA
PUBLICATIONS

exciting keyboard
creativity courses


THE MUSICARTA
CHORDS 101
WORKBOOK
CHORDS 101 cover
Exclusively on
MUSICARTA
PATREON

Learn more!

THE MUSICARTA
~HANON~

video course
The Musicarta Hanon cover

ONLY $24.95
BUY NOW!
Also on
Musicarta
Patreon


THE MUSICARTA
PENTATONICS
WORKBOOK

video course
The Musicarta Hanon cover
ONLY $24.95
BUY NOW!

Learn more

GREENSLEEVES
Creative Keyboard

video course
GREENSLEEVES

THE MUSICARTA
BEAT AND RHYTHM
WORKBOOK
Beat and Rhythm Workbook
ONLY $24.95

Buy Now
Also available on
Udemy
andMusicarta Patreon Learn more!

PIANO SOLOS
- Volume 1 -
Piano Solos Vol. 1
ONLY $19.95
Buy Now
Learn more

THE MUSICARTA
12-BAR PIANO
STYLES WORKBOOK
Musicarta 12-bar Piano Styles
ONLY $19.95
Buy Now

THE
MUSICARTA MODES
WORKBOOK
Musicarta Modes Workbook
ONLY $19.95
Buy Now

MUSICARTA EASY
PIANO STYLE
Musicarta Easy Piano Style
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now

THE
CANON PROJECT

video course
The Canon Project
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now

THE PYRAMIDS
VARIATIONS

video course
The Pyramids Variations
ONLY $19.95
Buy Now
Also on Udemy and Musicarta Patreon
Learn more

KEY CHORDS VOL.1
Key Chords Vol.1
ONLY $24.95
Buy Now

'Chords for Carl'
- Piano Solo -

video course

Chords for Carl
ONLY $14.95
Buy Now

‘Mariaan’
- Piano Solo -

ONLY $14.95
Buy Now
Learn more

All the Musicarta
YouTube playlists
Pyramids
Pentatonics
Canon Project
Key Chords
Modes
Musicarta
Easy Piano
Musicarta
Blues & 12-bar
Beat & Rhythm
Solos
'Mariaan'
Chords for Carl
Songbook
Basic Music-
making Position
Left-hand-over
Style
Suspensions
Enya Solos
Scales
Technical Exercises
Triads and Inversions