The minor pentatonic scale is a hyper-cool five-note scale. An extremely popular source of melodic and harmonic material in many cultures, this scale’s distinctive signature is heard “all the time” in improvisational genres like rock, pop, blues and jazz.

For those of you who like to put words to your music: The word “pentatonic” comes from the Greek word pente, meaning five, and tonic, meaning tone.  Bring that up at your next book study group, and you will look like a raging party animal. Things will go right off the hook from there, bro, seriously.

The purpose of today’s lesson is to give you an easy pattern to memorize, and to show you how to use that pattern to construct any minor pentatonic scale. By “construct,” I mean you will visualize the correct five notes for the minor pentatonic scale, starting on any given root note.

As a result you will have “memorized” all 12 minor pentatonics on the keyboard today.

Assuming that this one pattern is not forgotten (it won’t get forgotten, so long as you play any minor pentatonic scale now and then) , today will mark your permanent acquisition of all 12 of the minor pentatonics.

This lesson illustrates yet another example of how to avoid rote memorization of scales and chords. “Forget” that, I say! Discover and use their defining patterns instead. Patterns rule in music!