why does the pentatonic have a bad reputation?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Caprica, Dec 15, 2017.


  1. Caprica

    Caprica Supporting Member

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    I have been hanging out here a while and I noticed some people have a negative view of the pentatonic scale.

    Why? Is it because it is so common? Is it because it has less notes to work with compared to other scales? Is it because once you learn it you get stuck in a box?

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. hotrats73

    hotrats73 Member

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    Because some folks don't get the blues
     
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  3. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    It's probably because it's so often taught in miserable ways. And possibly because quite some people think they can play the blues if they know the pentatonic scale.
     
  4. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    And fwiw, I love quite some pentatonic stuff.
     
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  5. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    The pentatonic scale is a deceptively simple and primitive musical device, and like all such simple, primitive devices (think Jew's harp), it takes an awful lot of skill to get the best out of it.
     
  6. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Who makes the pentatonic scale a bad rep ?
     
  7. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    Because the minor pentatonic is mauled by wankers who either cant or wont learn anything more complex. Nothing wrong w pentatonics, but it's often the calling card of those who really shouldn't be playing
     
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  8. The Axecutioner

    The Axecutioner Member

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    haha, I'd totally agree with that. What's really annoying to me is watching youtube videos of real high end latest guitar gear demo's only for the person doing the demo to start playing all this badly out of tune pentatonic crap and I think what a waste of quality gear.
     
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  9. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    Vaughn Williams wrote one of the most beautiful melodic pieces in the modern classical era in 1914 using the Pentatonic scale
     
  10. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    But could he wail the blooze?
     
  11. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    He was in WWI so I would have to say, yes!
     
  12. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    It can be overused, and thus, quite cliched.
     
  13. JonR

    JonR Member

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    The blues and English folk music actually have a strange affinity. Vaughan Williams and folk song collector Cecil Sharp both noted the use of "neutral 3rds" in traditional English song. To you and me, a "neutral 3rd" is synonymous with "blue 3rd" - one that's neither major nor minor, but somewhere in between: indeterminate according to the expression desired.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_third (wiki makes the mistake, IMO, of trying to identify exact mathematical pitches, which is hardly going to be the point for either folk or blues singers.)

    It makes you think that the classical European notion of fixing 3rds as either major or minor is an artificial restriction... ;) Folk and blues musicians alike are much more liberal with their 3rds.
     
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  14. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Here's another tedious old pentatonic tune...

    ... and one of my favourites:


    Of course, those are the noble old major pentatonic...;)
     
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  15. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Because it's viewed by some as "the easy way" to do things? :dunno
     
  16. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Lots of classical music melodies are based on Pentatonic: Mussorgsky 'Promenade', Grieg 'Morning', Dvorak 'New World symphony' (largo), Ravel 'Laideronnette' etc, etc ....
    Also lots of jazz tunes based on Pentatonic which do not sound particularly Blues (check out e.g. Wayne Shorter)
     
  17. dead of night

    dead of night Member

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    While on the subject, which do you think are the least used note combinations at the first box minor pentatonic scale?
     
  18. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Most of the "negative" posts are requests for help from people who feel they cannot play anything other than the minor pentatonic scale when improvising. They are usually "stuck" because they haven't yet learned the fretboard, nor done any real ear training.

    Minor pentatonic, as well as major pentatonic, and other pentatonic scales are beautiful when utilized by a master player.
     
  19. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Use of both minor & major plus throw in some blues scale while working in a touch of hexatonic now and then... people think you're a master! LOL
     
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  20. JonR

    JonR Member

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    The least used one will be the ones that sound like crap. All the others are well over-used.
    That doesn't mean you can't make the well-used ones sound interesting. It ain't the notes you play, it's how you play them.
     
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