By Bob Chappell, Teacher
The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook
The pentatonic scales are five note scales with two of the major and minor scale-tones missed out, leaving stripped-down music-ready scales with basically no 'wrong notes'! This makes the pentatonic scales a really good starting point for getting into creative popular-styles keyboard playing – which is what the Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook offers.
There are optional and comprehensive theory modules for reference with hard copy downloads, plus progressive keyboard drills to help you work through the build-up of the major and minor pentatonic scales in all keys yourself, with full video support.
But mostly, the emphasis is on getting some real, attractive pentatonic music into the collection of pieces you can just play - pieces which illustrate whatever 'theory' we;re looking at - and teaching them in a way that gives you real creative keyboard skills.
Watch the introductory video for some examples, like the minor pentatonic One-Octave Blues - up and down the minor pentatonic scale in three places – nice, easy all-white-keys for beginners, every step demonstrated and how to practice it. You can't go wrong!
The major pentatonic scale is demonstrated with another characteristic showpiece which is worth your while mastering for its stylistic building blocks even if the style is not quite your 'cup of tea'.
Musicarta is the field leader in coaching the syncopation in these typical popular style pieces: what to practice, how to practice it, and video demonstrations to follow.
Then on to the characteristic additional semitones which you'll find in the pentatonic scales, both major and minor, and which you're going to want to know about to flesh out your melodies and improvisations, and to hone your playing-by-ear skills.
The new resources are demonstrated with pieces which build on what you already know, so you actually hear the new options you're acquiring. And as you learn more notes, you get more options.
Mix'n'Match Blues is an exercise in playing by ear which also invites you to exercise your musical judgement and craft your own arrangement from a selection of possibilities. Composing at the keyboard, we call it here at Musicarta - sort of slow-motion improvisation, really.
Because of their simplified, five-note structure, the pentatonic scales are a great entry point for 'playing by ear'. It's really not much of an exaggeration to say that most of the popular music melody you hear is mostly pentatonic, so if you can find the major and minor pentatonic scale-tones on the keyboard – which, if you work through this course, you will be able to – you'll be way ahead of the game in terms of picking popular music melodies out at the keyboard.
Our playing-by-ear module uses 'logical melodies' to give you more of a fighting chance, and progressive exercises, through increasingly so-called 'difficult' keys, which will leave you essentially "knowing what the keyboard sounds like".
And whether you're working on other people's material or playing your own, isn't that just what you want to know?
And so to improvisation. The simplicity and familiarity of the pentatonic scales, together with their 'no wrong notes' properties, makes them great for first steps in improvising. Blues improvisation is nearly all purely pentatonic, usually minor. Piano blues is a whole genre in itself, of course, but even with just the basics, you'll have that blues sound down, and you can get a nice two-handed groove going.
Twelve-bar pentatonic blues riffs get your mojo working - and what's music without mojo? Soaring major pentatonic soloing is also massively productive in terms of effect from resources. Running up and down well-chosen fragments of the five-note major pentatonic scale easily generates great emotional impact.
But we all have to practice. Not just running up and down scales - even pentatonic scales. More like pentatonic scale-tone patterns, which are 'practically music already' patterns - you're soloing without knowing it.
The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook has enough practice patterns to keep you going for a year, which will teach you how to find the music you want to play and coach you in getting your fingers round the keys. Personally, I heartily recommend the this workbook - not just as its author, but because the pentatonic scales really are so foundational that it's difficult to think of a creative musician who doesn't know them thoroughly, use them profusely-and is mighty fond of them!
And they're so immediately rewarding to work on too. Hopefully, I'll see you on the course!
Bob Chappell/Mister Musicarta
Course overview - 113
The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook - Introduction
The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part One
The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Two
The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Three
The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Four
Pentatonic Riffs in A Minor (PRAM) Part One
PRAM Part Two
PRAM Part Three
The Major Pentatonic Scale - Ambling Around
Ambling Around, Part Two
Melodic Pentatonic Study
Melodic Pentatonic Study - Part Two
Melodic Pentatonic Study - Part Three
Melodic Pentatonic Study - Part Four
Melodic Pentatonic Study - Part Five
Melodic Pentatonic Study - Part Six
Chromatic Minor: Mix'n'Match Blues
Mix'n'Match Blues, Video Two
Mix'n'Match Blues, Video Three
Chromatic Major: Gliding About
Gliding About, Part Two
Gliding About, Part Three
Chromatic Minor: 'From The Middle'
From the Middle Part One, Video Two
FTM Part One, Video Three
FTM Part One, Video Four
FTM Part One, Video Five
From the Middle Part Two, Video One
FTM Part Two, Video Two
FTM Part Two, Video Three
FTM Part Three, Video One
FTM Part Three, Video Two
FTM Part Three, Video Three
Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys - Video One
PBTK Video Two
PBTK Video Three
PBTK Video Four
PBTK Video Five
Learning the Pentatonic Scales:The Major Pentatonic Scale, Video One
The Major Pentatonic Scale, Video Two
Major/Relative Minor Pentatonic Scale Pairs
Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales on the same root
Major/minor same-root pairs, Video Two
Major Pentatonic Build-up of Tones Drill
Build-up of Tones, Video Two
Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns
Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns, Group One
Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns, Group Two
Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns, Group Three
Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns, Group Four
Symmetrical Pentatonic Melodies: Introduction
SymPentMel Video Two
SymPentMel Video Three
SymPentMel Video Four
SymPentMel Video Five
SymPentMel Video Six
SymPentMel Video Seven
SymPentMel Video Eight
SymPentMel Video Nine
Melody Video Ten: Looser Rules 1
Melody Video Eleven: Looser Rules 2
Playing by Ear Video One
Playing by Ear, Video Two
Playing by Ear, Video Three
Melodic Pentatonic Study Part Seven
Playing by Ear, Video Four
Playing by Ear, Video Five
Playing by Ear, Video Six
Pentatonic Hanon 01-04-19
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 19-02-19
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 27-07-19
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 30-07-19
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 26-07-19
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 29-12-19 Video One
Pentatonic Hanon Exercises 29-12-19 Video Two
Pentatonic Hanon 29-12-19 Video Three
PentHan 05-01-20 Video One
PentHan 05-01-20 Video Two
Pentatonic Hanon 26-07-19
Pentatonic Hanon 26-02-19
Pentatonic Hanon 28-02-19
Pentatonic Hanon 10-04-19
Pentatonic Hanon 01-12-20 Lesson Series
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 1-6 in C
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 7-12 in C
PentHan 01-12-20: Mixed Pairs in C
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 1-6 in E flat
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 7-12 in E flat
PentHan 01-12-20: Mixed Pairs in E flat
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 1-6 in E
PentHan 01-12-20: Exercises 7-12 in E
PentHan 01-12-20: Mixed Pairs in E
PentHan 01-12-20 series: Play-by-ear orientation
Playing-by-Ear (PBE): Video/Exercise 1
PBE Video/Exercise 2
PBE Video/Exercise 3
PBE Video/Exercise 4
PBE Video/Exercise 5
PBE Video/Exercise 6
PBE Video/Exercise 7
PBE Video/Exercise 8
PBE Video/Exercise 9
PBE Video/Exercise 10
PBE Video/Exercise 11
PBE Video/Exercise 12
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 1
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 2
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 3
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 4
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 5
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 6
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 7
PBE Mixed Pairs Video/Exercise 8