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Course: The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook

The Musicarta Pentatonics Workbook

  • Life Time Access
  • Certificate on Completion
  • Access on Android and iOS App
  • Self-Paced
About this Course

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, comprehensive theory modules for reference with hard copy downloads, but more importantly, there are staged, progressive keyboard drills which give you the opportunity to 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'.

Note that 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 maximise your progress, and progressive exercises 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.

Do try the free sample material and, hopefully, I'll see you on the course!

Bob Chappell/Mister Musicarta

Cape Town, May 2018

P.S. Mister Musicarta's YouTube channel has a Pentatonics Workbook playlist where you can hear lots of examples on pentatonic music, most of them covered in the Pentatonics Workbook course.

Who is the target audience?

  • Any musician looking for a structured approach to creative music skills like playing by ear, and 'composing at the keyboard' (aka messing round at the keyboard!), and
  • Improvising contemporary-styles (pop-rock-jazz) keyboard players looking for more targeted ways of practicing their keyboard and aural skills
Basic knowledge
  • Nothing more than a keyboard, enthusiasm and a desire to increase your creative popular music abilities!
  • Being able to read music is not essential
What you will learn
  • Students will be able to identify by ear and find major and minor pentatonic scale-tones all over the keyboard
  • Students will learn half a dozen or more pentatonic piano solos in a variety of styles and be able to play variations on them
Curriculum
Number of Lectures: 67
Total Duration: 08:34:33
MPW Module One: The Minor Pentatonic Scale
  • The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part One  

    This catchy 12-bar minor blues uses the white-key A minor and D minor pentatonic scales – chords I and IV (One and Four) of a twelve-bar chord sequence.

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SPRAM1ab8bDizYU.html

    Copy and paste in your browser address bar, then bookmark for easy access.

  • The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SPRAM2YgK72KtjU.html

    Copy and paste in your browser address bar, then bookmark for easy access.

  • The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Three  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SPRAM3Y979MrbkU.html

    Copy and paste in your browser address bar, then bookmark for easy access.

  • The One-octave Pentatonic Blues - Part Four  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SPRAM49v8JY8ZXU.html

    Copy and paste in your browser address bar, then bookmark for easy access.

MPW Module Two: The Major Pentatonic Scale
  • Ambling Around - Part One  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/OOMAPS_1UGb2ZqqU.html


  • Ambling Around - Part Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/OOMAPS_2LsTP7KTtU.html


Pentatonic Riffs in A Minor
  • Pentatonic Riffs in A Minor (PRAM) Part One  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PRAM1TYm7HK9zU.html

  • PRAM Part Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PRAM27296aRoeU.html

  • PRAM Part Three  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PRAM4hwvrfTSVU.html

Melodic Pentatonic Study
  • Melodic Pentatonic Study (MPS) Video One  

    This study should convince you that the pentatonic scales are indeed "nearly music already". All the pentatonic scale tones sound good over major triads and even seventh chords (both types – major and dominant).


    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the first three videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty1gWJ5MuUsU.html

  • MPS Video Two  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the first three videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty1gWJ5MuUsU.html

  • MPS Video Three  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the first three videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty1gWJ5MuUsU.html

  • MPS Video Four  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the last four videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty2NtjpTYeHU.html

  • MPS Video Five  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the last four videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty2NtjpTYeHU.html

  • MPS Video Six  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the last four videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty2NtjpTYeHU.html

  • MPS Video Seven  

    For your studying convenience, there is a students-only web page accompanying the last four videos in this module:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MelPentSty2NtjpTYeHU.html

Chromatic Minor Repertoire: Mix 'n' Match Blues
  • Mix'n'Match Blues: Chromatic Passing Tones  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MxMBlues1atbkku89U.html

  • Mix'n'Match Blues, Video Two  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MxMBlues2vfRtP4D3U.html

  • Mix'n'Match Blues, Video Three  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MxMBlues3ouAzzGRaU.html

MPW Module Three: The Chromatic Major Pentatonic Scale
  • Gliding About - Part One  

    For your studying convenience, this module has two accompanying web pages:

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB1z2ugLMykU.html

    and

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB2bVfpXZW6U.htmlSome text

  • Gliding About - Part Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has two accompanying web pages:

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB1z2ugLMykU.html

    and

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB2bVfpXZW6U.htmlSome text

  • Gliding About - Part Three  

    For your studying convenience, this module has two accompanying web pages:

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB1z2ugLMykU.html

    and

    http://www.musicarta.com/GAB2bVfpXZW6U.html

  • Gliding About - Lesson Notes  

    Collect your Gliding About Lesson notes here.

MPW Chromatic Minor Riffs: 'From The Middle'
  • From the Middle, Part One, Video One  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/FTM_1rxigCwQvU.html

    The web page covers all the 'Part One' videos.

  • FTM Part One, Video Two  

    Some text

  • FTM Part One, Video Three  

    Some text

  • FTM Part One, Video Four  
  • FTM Part One, Video Five  

    Some text

  • FTM Part Two, Video One  

    FTM Part Two, Video One

  • FTM Part Two, Video Two  
  • FTM Part Two, Video Three  

    FTM Part Two, Video Three

  • FTM Part Three, Video One  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/FTM_39FXZPYHdU.html

    The web page covers the three 'Part Two' videos.

  • FTM Part Three, Video Two  

    FTM Part Three, Video Two

  • FTM Part Three, Video Three  

    FTM Part Three, Video Three

Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys
  • Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys (PBTK), Part One  

    This students-only web page covers the Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys Part One video:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PBTK1z2ugLMykU.html

  • PBTK, Part Two  

    This students-only web page covers the Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys Part One video:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PBTK2bVfpXZW62U.html

  • PBTK, Part Three  

    This students-only web page covers the Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys Part Three video:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PBTK3gWJ5MuUsU.html

  • PBTK, Part Four  

    This students-only web page covers the Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys Part Four video:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PBTK4Y54NQPEtU.html

  • PBTK, Part Five  
Learning the Pentatonic Scales
  • The Major Pentatonic Scale  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MPSTS_1DsdeLCGpU.html


  • The Major Pentatonic Scale, Video Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/MPSTS_26U8XY2AoU.html

  • Major/Relative Minor Pentatonic Scale Pairs  

    This drill walks you through the twelve pairs of pentatonic major/relative minor scales. You should aim to be able to play right through this set in your head - when it will, as promised, have taught you 'a great deal about what the keyboard sounds like'. 


    Repeat until you know it 'like the back of your hand'.


    For your studying convenience, this module has two accompanying students-only web pages:


    http://www.musicarta.com/pentatonic-scales_2PKXZ2okaU.html


    http://www.musicarta.com/MNOOPPsfzyJc7URU.html

  • Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales on the same root  

    A more advanced skill is to build both the major and minor pentatonic scales on the same root.


    For your studying convenience, this (and the next) video has an accompanying students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/pentatonic-scales_3xTKsMCJ9U.html


  • Major/minor same-root pairs, Video Two  

    For your studying convenience, this (and the next) video has an accompanying students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/pentatonic-scales_3xTKsMCJ9U.html

  • Major Pentatonic Build-up of Tones Drill  

    Here's a half-serious 'Build-up of Tones Drill' for you to memorise and hum to yourself to get those pentatonic scales tones firmly set in your 'mind's ear'!


    Here's your accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/BUOTS1FdjicRKFU.html

  • Build-up of Tones Video 2  

    Keep going and work right through the keys.


    Here's the accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/BUOTS2uGfesW9EU.html

Scale-Tone Practice Patterns
  • Pentatonic Scale-tone Practice Patterns Nos.1 to 7  

    The pentatonic scales are the foundation for most melodic improvisation.

    This section of the course provides pentatonic scale practice patterns designed to get the pentatonic scale-tones under you fingers and available for your imagination to take flight!

    The associated web page covers all 14 major pentatonic STPPs:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PSTPPs_SetOnevSr7b9H2U.html

  • PSPP Nos.8 to 14  

    The associated web page covers all 14 major pentatonic STPPs:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PSTPPs_SetOnevSr7b9H2U.html

  • PSPP Nos.1 to 7 transposing  

    This web page shows the Set One PSTPPs in keys with more black keys - therefore more of a fingering challenge:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PSTPPs_SetOneT4n9TKnHwU.html

  • PSPP Nos.8 to 14 transposing  

    This web page shows Nos.8 to 14 of the Set One PSTPPs in keys with more black keys - therefore more of a fingering challenge:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PSTPPs_SetOneT4n9TKnHwU.htmlhttp

Pentatonic Melody
  • Symmetrical Pentatonic Melodies: Introduction  

    The major pentatonic scale produces simple, attractive and easy-to-harmonise melodies by avoiding the two semi-tone steps in the major scale - the fourth and seventh.

    This limited, five-step scale is an ideal opportunity to develop your play-by-ear (aural) skills - not only because there are only five rather than seven scale-tones to choose between, but - as I hope you'll agree - because the major pentatonic scale is 'nearly music already', and so, easier to 'get'.

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel1fzKqibcKU.html


  • SymPentMel Video Two  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel1fzKqibcKU.html

  • SymPentMel Video Three  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel2rMLudtj3U.html

  • SymPentMel Video Four  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel2rMLudtj3U.html

  • SymPentMel Video Five  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel3288Q2s2wU.html

  • SymPentMel Video Six  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel3288Q2s2wU.html

  • SymPentMel Video Seven  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel_AandE1VLj8XiKEU.html

  • SymPentMel Video Eight  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel_AandE1VLj8XiKEU.html

  • SymPentMel Video Nine  

    For your studying convenience, this module has a students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/SymPentMel_AandE29kfXnGUtU.html

  • Melody Video Ten: Looser Rules 1  

    An opportunity to listen closely to to similar major pentatonic tunes.

  • Melody Video Eleven: Looser Rules 2  

    An opportunity to listen closely to to similar major pentatonic tunes.

Playing by Ear
  • Playing by Ear Video 1  

    Here is a series of pentatonic melodies for you to play by ear.

    You might find it more convenient to study from the associated students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_19kfXnGUtU.html

  • Playing by Ear Video 2  

    Here is a series of pentatonic melodies for you to play by ear.

    You might find it more convenient to study from the associated students-only web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_2ab8bDizYU.html

  • Playing by Ear Video 3  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_3YgK72KtjU.html

  • Playing by Ear Video 4  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_4Y979MrbkU.html

  • Playing by Ear Video 5  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_59v8JY8ZXU.html

  • Playing by Ear Video 6  

    For your studying convenience, this video has an accompanying web page:

    http://www.musicarta.com/PlayByEar_6UGb2ZqqUU.html

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