Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #112, Harmonizing with the Pentatonic Scale I

Hi Everyone,

Lets talk a little bit about harmonizing the pentatonic scale patterns that we just went over. First lets just play the scale on one string. Since we are working on the G major pentatonic scale.....G A B D E..... lets use those notes and play them all on the 4th string all the way up and down the fingerboard. Now try the notes on the 3rd string. Then to the 2nd, 1st and even fifth if you'd like. Playing the scale on one string up and down the fretboard will bring you to know the fingerboard very well.

Now lets start to harmonize this scale. To harmonize means to take two or more notes and play them together. Lets use octaves for our first harmonization. Since we know that an octave occurs between the 1st and 4th strings, we can easily use this up and down the fretboard. You can hear that using octaves gives us a Rock sound, or even a Blues sound because of the pentatonics' scale nature.

Since you know the modes of the pentatonic scale in G major, that being the tabbed out patterns we went over, lets take two notes out of each mode and work them up and down the fretboard. Lets start by taking the fourth and five degree of each mode, and play the two notes up and down the fretboard. These are scale fragments, we can use them as two note chords by playing them together, or we can use them as single string notes to play over the chords of G major or E minor.

You can take any two degrees of the modes to play any harmonizations you can come up with. It would be good practice to find as many ways as you can to harmonize with two notes to begin with. By exploring these harmonizations on your own, you will start to develope your own ear, and begin to see the fretboard in your own way. This will help to eventually perpetuate your own style on the five string banjo.

Keep on Rollin, keep on Rockin.


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