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Harmonization Of The Minor Pentatonic Scale On Guitar

Harmonizing the minor pentatonic scale involves creating chords that complement the scale and enhance its melodic possibilities. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to harmonize the minor pentatonic scale on guitar:

Understand The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic scale consists of five notes and is formed by taking the root (1), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), and minor seventh (b7). For example, in the key of A minor, the notes are A, C, D, E, and G.

A minor pentatonic A C D E G
Formula 1 b3 4 5 b7
Intervals W + H W F W + H W

Minor pentatonic scale

 

 

 

 

The A minor pentatonic scale consists of the following intervals from the root note (A):

1. A: Root note
2. C: Minor third (3 semitones above A)
3. D: Perfect fourth (5 semitones above A)
4. E: Perfect fifth (7 semitones above A)
5. G: Minor seventh (10 semitones above A)

Harmonization In 3-Note Chords

Here below you see how to built 3-note chords on each step of the A minor pentatonic scale. The first three bars show close triad chords (root positions and two inversions) whereas the bars 4, 5 and 6 show open triads (aka spread voicings) :

  • In the 4th bar the middle note of the root voicings has been dropped to the bass. Example with A, C, E, when dropping the middle note (C) to the bass, we get a new voicing C, A, E.
  • In the 5th bar the middle note of the first inversions is dropped to the bass.
  • In the 6th bar, the middle note of the second inversions is dropped to the bass.

Three-Note Chords From Am pentatonic:

  • Am : A C E
  • Csus2 : C D G
  • C : C E G
  • Dsus2 : D E A
  • D7sus4 : D G C 
  • Em(b13) : E G C
  • E7sus4 : E A D
  • Gsus2 : G A D

Check this link if you want to learn more about open and close triad chords.

Minor pentatonic scale harmonized in 3 note chords

Harmonization In 4-Note Chords

In these examples, the A minor pentatonic scale is harmonized in four-note chords:

  • Bar 1 : Root positions
  • Bar 2 : The third highest note is dropped to the bass.
  • Bar 3 : The root notes are dropped to the top.
  • Bar 4 : Root voicings with the highest note increased by a half-step.
  • Bar 5 : First inversion of the triads previously seen with a supplementary note.

Four-Note Chords From Am pentatonic:

  • Am7 : A C E G
  • Am7add11 : A D G C
  • Amadd11 : A D E C
  • A7sus4 : A E G D
  • Csus2add13 : C G A D
  • Cadd9 : C E G D
  • C6 : C G A E
  • Dsus4add9 : D G A E
  • Dsus2add11 : D G A E
  • D7sus2 : D A C E
  • D7sus4 : D A C G
  • E7sus4(b13) : E C D A
  • Em7(b13) : E G C D
  • Em(#5) add11 : E A C G
  • Gsus4add13) : G D E C
  • Gsus2add13 : G D E A 
  • Gsus2add11 : G C D A

These are just a few examples, and there are many other possibilities for harmonizing the A minor pentatonic scale. Feel free to experiment with different chord voicings, inversions, and progressions to create your own musical atmosphere.

Minor pentatonic scale harmonized in 4 note chords

Minor Pentatonic Scale In Twelve Keys

Here are the minor pentatonic scales for all 12 possible keys:

  • A minor pentatonic: A, C, D, E, G
  • B♭ minor pentatonic: B♭, D♭, E♭, F, A♭
  • B minor pentatonic: B, D, E, F♯, A
  • C minor pentatonic: C, E♭, F, G, B♭
  • C♯/D♭ minor pentatonic: C♯/D♭, E, F♯/G♭, G♯/A♭, B
  • D minor pentatonic: D, F, G, A, C
  • E♭ minor pentatonic: E♭, G♭, A♭, B♭, D♭
  • E minor pentatonic: E, G, A, B, D
  • F minor pentatonic: F, A♭, B♭, C, E♭
  • F♯/G♭ minor pentatonic: F♯/G♭, A, B, C♯/D♭, E
  • G minor pentatonic: G, B♭, C, D, F
  • A♭ minor pentatonic: A♭, C♭/B, D♭, E♭, G♭

These scales can be used as a basis for improvisation, melody creation, and harmonization in their respective keys. Try to apply the voicings previously seen to each minor pentatonic scale.

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