Pentatonic Scale Exercise

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Pentatonic Scale ExercisePentatonic Scale lesson will improve your plectrum technique while checking your timekeeping, it’ll test your fretting ability and help develop co­ordination between both hands as well. In order to achieve that we need to set up a driving force, so here I’ve come up with a set of unashamedly mechanical manoeuvers… Rather than merely ascend and descend (scales or arpeggios being the usual framework or template), it’s good practice to weave musical lines and form recognisable contours. However, it’s wise to remember that our brains don’t want anything too confusing or unexpected. Although monotony can perhaps become irritating, predictability, on the other hand, is not something to be shy of…

Most listeners will have some expectations concerning form or pattern. Patterns, especially regular ones, can be almost hypnotic in their ability to grab the attention and potentially keep it – at least for a while, anyway – and so musical practice, composition and even improvisation often makes use of repeated patterns or figures (ostinato, in classical speak). When you set up a cell idea such as a short line of notes, preferably not too distant from each other (adjacent scale steps is easiest although repeatable intervals make for a good choice too), and keep it all manageable (for the performer) and followable (by the listener), then you’ll surely have something interesting and practical. There are technical challenges in store, though – your fretting fingers will occasionally become tied in knots and you’ll need to variously keep fingers upright or flattened as partial barres. Despite the stuff on offer sounding somewhat predictable, the finger motions needed to enact this long exercise are surprisingly unpredictable and a bit formidable if you’re a novice. Don’t worry, though, give the work-out a go while sussing out the game plan… Let’s say, for illustrative purposes, that a group of notes is repeated while each successive repetition starts on a fresh note (typically the next highest/lowest component of that group), then listeners can generally catch on very quickly, even those who are untrained or uneducated in musical ways. Putting chunk after chunk in this way is known as sequencing. By setting up and possibly maintaining a sequence, it usually acts as a hook of sorts, triggering an impulse in the listener to follow what’s going on and to possibly expect certain things; there’s probability of (musical) outcome to deal with. Naturally, this involves a degree of predictability – but so what? People like – need, even – to be satisfied, and ruining their expectations is unlikely to be appreciated. Be warned, in any case, against being clever for its own sake or possibly confusing the listener. It’s not my intention, however, to inhibit your creativity, but limiting one’s ideas can be remarkably effective. What is music meant to do after all? Involve, not alienate, I’d say. Anyway, let’s move away from ideals and concepts and on to the nuts and bolts, as they say…

Music begins by setting up an easily recognizable pattern whereby the last note of four is reused as the start of the next group of four notes – repetition breeds familiarity of sorts and reintroducing ideas is a powerful tool for a musician. The musical idea gains added strength when it does an about-face – the direction simply changes. Incidentally, when a listener notices something of their own accord they either consciously or subconsciously feel good about themselves: they feel empowered and rather chuffed. Make it easy for them to enjoy music. Your music.

Next in the Pentatonic Scale exercise is a pair of notes skipping upwards while there’s generally a downward tendency (listen to the music to hear what I mean). Then that section is flipped, kind of mirrored in a symmetrical way – rather predictable, I’ll admit.

You can figure out what the rationale is for each of the rest of my ideas if you wish; analyse as much or as little as you want to (there’s nothing groundbreaking here but, hey, I’m trying to limit this work-out to stuff you might be able to remember). If you can play this piece in its entirety and in time, then you’re a better… ah, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Chord Chart

Pentatonic Scale Exercise Chord Chart

Pentatonic Scale Exercise Tab

It’s a part of Pentatonic Scale Exercise.

Below you can download a full transcription with tabs and notes of

Pentatonic Scale Exercise with backing track


19 November 2012 0 comments
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