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The Major Pentatonic Scale: No Tension Here

Posted on: October 29th, 2009 by dville

In August we found out about the tension and resolution factor of the V7 chord (G7 in the key of C) to the I chord (C) and what happens when you take out the two notes that are creating all the tension in the V7 chord: you’re left with a very friendly sounding Major Pentatonic Scale.

The C Major Pentatonic Scale consists of five tones, C-D-E-G-A. In the audio clip below I’ve added the octave C.

Notice the two notes that were left out of the Major Pentatonic Scale, the F and the B. Play those two together. There’s the tension of the G7 chord. There are many songs that use the notes of the Major Pentatonic Scale for their melody. Take the Tennessee Waltz for example. Another that comes to mind is Buttons and Bows. If you know of some popular Pentatonic melodies, please post them in the comments section.

3 Responses

  1. Curt Sheller Publications says:

    Camptown Races is all Pentatonic, except for one passing tone near the end. Melody starts on the 5th of the scale and the first interval is the third of the scale, E. Example would be C Pentatonic (C D E G A C') and the melody starts on G.A tip for playing is that that second section "Gone a run all day" is major arpeggio. 1 3 5 8 or C E G C'Knowing info like this for melodies and songs cut's out wrong notes. If you know all the notes only come from a particular scale or tonality and mastered the fingerings for the same yu can never play a melody wrong.

  2. Jim's Bio says:

    Here are a few more Major Pentatonic melodies posted on the Flea Market Music site in response to this post.Shortin'BreadEvery Little Breeze Seems To Whisper Louise Angeline The Baker (fiddle tune)Billy In The Lowground (fiddle tune)

  3. Uke Gal says:

    The opening riff to "My Girl" ascends the major pentatonic scale directly which is how I remember how it sounds.

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