Piano Pentatonic Scales

The Pentatonic Scale is frequently used in lots of popular music styles. There is both Pentatonic Major and Minor – the Minor is slightly more often used.

Note that A Minor Pentatonic has identical notes with C Major Pentatonic but in different order; D Minor Pentatonic has the same notes as F Major Pentatonic and so on (a complete list can be seen below). Knowing this will make it easier for you to memorize the scales.

Minor Pentatonic Scales

Compared to the Natural Minor, the Minor Pentatonic omits the half-note step intervals (2 and b6). Here are pictures and notes of the Minor Pentatonic scales. These scales are very common in many styles, but not least in pop and rock music. See also Major Pentatonic Scales.

Cm

C Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: C, Eb, F, G, Bb, C
Fingering (LH): 1, 3, 2, 1, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

C#m / Dbm

C# Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: C#, E, F#, G#, B, C#
Fingering (LH): 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 2
Fingering (RH): 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

Dm

D Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: D, F, G, A, C, D
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

D#m / Ebm

D# Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: D#, F#, G#, A#, C#, D#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Em

E Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: E, G, A, B, D, E
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Fm

F Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb, F
Fingering (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

F#m / Gbm

F# Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: F#, A, B, C#, E, F#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

Gm

G Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: G, Bb, C, D, F, G
Fingering (LH): 1, 3, 2, 1, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 1

G#m / Abm

G# Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: G#, B, C#, D#, F#, G#
Fingering (LH): 2, 1, 5, 4, 3, 2
Fingering (RH): 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Am

A Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: A, C, D, E, G, A
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

A#m / Bbm

A# Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: Bb, Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb
Fingering (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3
Fingering (RH): 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3

Bm

B Pentatonic minor scale diagram
Notes: B, D, E, F#, A, B
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

Sceenshot posterPentatonic scales digital poster

This hi-res digital poster includes all Minor and Major Pentatonic scales, but also Hybrid and Dominant Pentatonic scales.
Diagrams and note letters are visible.
The digital poster is in pdf A3 format.

See Printable scales - digital posters for more info

Pentatonic Minor Scales overview
C: C, Eb, F, G, Bb, C
C#/Db: C#, E, F#, G#, B, C# / Db, E, Gb, Ab, B, Db
D: D, F, G, A, C, D
D#/Eb: D#, F#, G#, A#, C#, D# / Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Db, Eb
E: E, G, A, B, D, E
F: F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb, F
F#/Gb: F#, A, B, C#, E, F# / Gb, A, B, Db, E, Gb
G: G, Bb, C, D, F, G
G#/Ab: G#, B, C#, D#, F#, G# / Ab, B, Db, Eb, Gb, Ab
A: A, C, D, E, G, A
A#/Bb: A#, C#, D#, E# (F), G#, A# / Bb, Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb
B: B, D, E, F#, A, B

Intervals: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7
Semi-notes: 3 - 2 - 2 - 3 - 2
Formula: Whole and a half, Whole, Whole, Whole and a half, Whole

Piano backing tracks for Minor Pentatonic scales
Improvise with pentatonic scales over music tracks with the piano part removed.

Major Pentatonic Scales

This five-note scale is similar to the seven-note Major Scale, but without the 4th and 7th degrees. The missing leading tone (see Scale degrees) in the Major Pentatonic scales makes their tonality a bit vague. Major Pentatonic scales are especially common in traditional folk music, country and gospel. Here are pictures and notes of the Major Pentatonic scale.

C

C Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: C, D, E, G, A, C
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

C# / Db

C# Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: C#, D#, F, G#, A#, C#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2
Fingering (RH): 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4

D

D Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: D, E, F#, A, B, D
Fingering (LH): 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 2
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4

D# / Eb

D# Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: D#, F, G, A#, C, D#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

E

E Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: E, F#, G#, B, C#, E
Fingering (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

F

F Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: F, G, A, C, D, F
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4

F# / Gb

F# Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: F#, G#, A#, C#, D#, F#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

G

G Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: G, A, B, D, E, G
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4

G# / Ab

G# Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: G#, A#, C, D#, F, G#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2

A

A Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: A, B, C#, E, F#, A
Fingering (LH): 2, 1, 2, 1, 3, 2
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1

A# / Bb

A# Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: A#, C, D, F, G, A#
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 3, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3

B

B Pentatonic major scale diagram
Notes: B, C#, D#, F#, G#, B
Fingering (LH): 1, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Fingering (RH): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1

Pentatonic Major Scales overview
C: C, D, E, G, A, C
C#/Db: C#, D#, F, G#, A#, C# / Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb, Db
D: D, E, F#, A, B, D
D#/Eb: D#, F, G, A#, C, D# / Eb, F, G, Bb, C, Eb
E: E, F#, G#, B, C#, E
F: F, G, A, C, D, F
F#/Gb: F#, G#, A#, C#, D#, F# / Gb, Ab, Bb, Db, Eb, Gb
G: G, A, B, D, E, G
G#/Ab: G#, A#, C, D#, F, G# / Ab, Bb, C, Eb, F, Ab
A: A, B, C#, E, F#, A
A#/Bb: A#, C, D, F, G, A# / Bb, C, D, F, G, Bb
B: B, C#, D#, F#, G#, B

Intervals: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Semi-notes: 2 - 2 - 3 - 2 - 3
Formula: Whole, Whole, Whole and a half, Whole, Whole and a half

The Minor and Major Pentatonic scales in musical notation are available in the member area.
The scales (without note names and including the Dominant Pentatonic) in all keys can be downloaded as PDF-files.

Relative keys – Minor and Major Pentatonic

The same notes can be found in Minor and Major Pentatonic scales:

The relationship is the same as for the Natural Minor and regular Major.

Variants of the scale

Besides the two standard version of the Pentatonic Scale there are some variants and these are:

Pentatonic Dominant (including the b7)
Major Pentatonic add4 (including the 4th)
Minor Pentatonic adda (including the 2nd)

The Pentatonic scales can also be blended into the Pentatonic Hybrid.

Improvising with the Pentatonic Scale

The Pentatonic Scale is a flexible scale for improvising and apart from the standard way, which is combining a scale with chords in the same key, you could also be outside the key. By “being outside the key” means that you don't necessarily play chords and scale that match considering notes. For example, you can play G Major Pentatonic over a C Major chord or E Minor Pentatonic over an A Minor chord.

Backing tracks

One of the genres suitable for using Major Pentatonic is country. Although the D# is left out in the E Penta Major, it could be used as a grace note for "sliding" down on E as the target.

Country backing tracks album cover
Track list

E Folk Country

Show scale E Pentatonic major scale diagram

Backing tracks for country presented by Pianoscales.org. All tracks are available for members.