Minor Pentatonic Scale for Guitar

The Minor Pentatonic scale consists of the following intervals: 1 b3 4 5 b7 1. In the key of A the intervals would be the notes of A C D E G A. There are 5 scale shapes in "box" patterns for the pentatonic scales.

Minor Pentatonic Scale for Guitar

Minor pentatonic scale

Although various hemitonic pentatonic scales might be called minor, the term is most commonly applied to the relative minor pentatonic derived from the major pentatonic, using scale tones 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 of the natural minor scale. The C minor pentatonic would be C, E-flat, F, G, B-flat. The A minor pentatonic, the relative minor of C, would be the same tones as C major pentatonic, starting on A, giving A, C, D, E, G. This minor pentatonic contains all three tones of an A minor triad.

Songs on the minor pentatonic scale include the popular Canadian folk song "Land of the Silver Birch". Because of their simplicity, pentatonic scales are often used to introduce children to music. Other popular children's songs are almost pentatonic. For example, the almost-pentatonic nature of the Gershwin lullaby "Summertime", is evident when it is played in the key of E-flat minor. In that key, the melody can be played almost entirely on the black keys of a piano, except just once per verse, where a white key is needed.


Proceeding by the principle that historically gives the Pythagorean diatonic and chromatic scales, stacking perfect fifths with 3:2 frequency proportions, the anhemitonic pentatonic scale can be tuned thus: 1:9/8:81/64:3/2:27/16.

Considering the anhemitonic scale as a subset of a just diatonic scale, it is tuned thus: 1:9/8:5/4:3/2:5/3. Assigning precise frequency proportions to the pentatonic scales of most cultures is problematic.

The slendro anhemitonic scales of Java and Bali are said to approach, very roughly, an equally-tempered five note scale, but, in fact, their tunings vary dramatically from gamelan to gamelan.

Specially trained musicians among the Gogo people of Tanzania sing the fourth through ninth (and occasionally tenth) harmonics above a fundamental, which do necessarily accurately correspond to the frequency proportions 4:5:6:7:8:9, but this is not a scale in the western sense because these pitches are not found within a single octave and could not be put into a single octave with this manner of performance.

Composer Lou Harrison has been one of the most recent proponents and developers of new pentatonic scales based on historical models.


Minor Pentatonic Scale for Guitar