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Modes of Minor Pentatonic Scale

Just like every other scale, minor pentatonic scale also has modes or different voicing of playing those 5 notes. Since pentatonic scale has 5 notes, the scale has 5 different modes or 5 different voicing. Pentatonic scale itself can be of many different types, but we will consider the most popular of all, the minor pentatonic, and let’s look at this in the key of Am. The notes for Am pentatonic are A, C, D, E, G. This often is called BOX 1 of the key, as you may have studied that in different music schools or during guitar lessons. The 5 different ways these notes can be played are:

1. A , C, D, E, G (Minor pentatonic or aeolian pentatonic, box 1)

2. C, D, E, G, A (Major pentatonic or ionian pentatonic, box 2)

3. D, E, G, A, C (Dorian pentatonic or suspended pentatonic, box 3)

4. E, G, A, C, D (Phrygian pentatonic or Man Gong, box 4)

5. G, A, C, D, E (Lydian pentatonic or Ritusen, box 5) 

Most of you have practiced these 5 boxes during the early years of learning scales, so now you know each box is actually a mode and they got specific names. Remember them as writing chord progression for each mode becomes a lot easier. For example if you want to write something in suspended pentatonic, the name will suggest you that you can create many suspended chords using the scale tones and the melody created on top of that using the notes of that mode will resemble the laid back sound of dorian mode. This way you can choose the mood or emotion you want to create and use the mode accordingly. 

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