What is a pentatonic scale?

The simple way of describing a pentatonic scale is as a music scale that contains five notes. Many musicians initially learn seven-note heptatonic scales when they first pick up a new instrument, and pentatonic scales are based on these, but they omit the fourth and seventh notes in the major scales and the second and sixth in the minor scales.


Some examples of a pentatonic scale?

The heptatonic scale of C Major is C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

The pentatonic scale of C Major is C, D, E, G, A.

When playing the piano, if you play the pentatonic scales of G♭ Major or E♭ Minor, you’ll find yourself only playing the five black keys.


Why do pentatonic scales sound good?

The notes omitted from the pentatonic scales are those that are less ‘stable’ within the equivalent heptatonic scale – i.e., the notes that are most likely to cause dissonance (a clashing sound) when played in that particular key. Therefore, improvising melodies and harmonies that centre around pentatonic scales are pretty much guaranteed to sound good, as the likelihood of dissonance has been removed.