Major Pentatonics

The Major Pentatonic Scale is a scale which retains a Major sound but only uses 5 notes.

The black keys on a keyboard represent a Pentatonic Scale.

The Major Pentatonic formed by the black keys starts on F# and follows the pattern F#, G#, A#, C# and D#. This gives us the Interval pattern: Root, Maj 2nd, Maj 3rd, Per 5th and Maj 6th.

C Major Pentatonic

C Major is made up from: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. We give each note's position in the scale a name, this is called a 'Degree', in the case of the Ionian Mode, the C is I, D is II, and so on C(I), D(II), E(III), F(IV), G(V), A(VI), B(VII). We can use these Degrees to calculate other scales.

We construct all Major Pentatonic by using the I, II, III, V and VI Degrees of the Major Scale giving us: C(I), D(II), E(III), G(V), A(VI).

C Major Pentatonic: C, D, E, G, A (Root, Maj 2nd, Maj 3rd, Per 5th, Maj 6th)

Other Major Pentatonics

Here's a table of all the other Major Pentatonics in each key...

KEY / INTERVAL Root Maj 2 Maj 3 Per 5 Maj 6
C# C# D# E# G# A#
F# F# G# A# C# D#
B B C# D# F# G#
E E F# G# B C#
A A B C# E F#
D D E F# A B
G G A B D E
C C D E G A
F F G A C D
Bb Bb C D F G
Eb Eb F G Bb C
Ab Ab Bb C Eb F
Db Db Eb F Ab Bb
Gb Gb Ab Bb Db Eb
Cb Cb Db Eb Gb Ab

3 Pentatonic Scales per Key!

You might notice that the C Major Pentatonic, F Major Pentatonic and G Major Pentatonic all contain no sharps or flats. What this means is that they will all fit into the key of C. Giving you three options to choose from. I suggest experimenting by playing each one over a C Major chord progression (e.g. C, G, F, G) to hear how they sound.