F major pentatonic scale

The Solution below shows the F major pentatonic scale on the piano, treble clef and bass clef.

The Lesson steps then explain how to construct the scale using the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th major scale notes.

For a quick summary of this topic, have a look at Pentatonic scale.

Circle of fifths keys in the major pentatonic scale
KeyCGDAEBF#C#[F]BbEbAbDbGbCb

Solution

1. F major pentatonic scale

This step shows the F major pentatonic scale on the piano, treble clef and bass clef. There are 5 pentatonic scale notes plus the octave of the tonic note - a total of 6 notes.

The F major pentatonic scale has no sharp or flat notes.

F major pentatonic scale note names
Note no.Note name
1The 1st note of the F major pentatonic scale is F
2The 2nd note of the F major pentatonic scale is G
3The 3rd note of the F major pentatonic scale is A
4The 4th note of the F major pentatonic scale is C
5The 5th note of the F major pentatonic scale is D
6The 6th note of the F major pentatonic scale is F

F major pentatonic scale

Middle C (midi note 60) is shown with an orange line under the 2nd note on the piano diagram.

These note names are shown below on the treble clef followed by the bass clef.

F major pentatonic scale

F major pentatonic scale

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

2. F tonic note and one octave of notes

This step shows an octave of notes in the key of F, to identify the start and end notes of the scale.

The numbered notes are those that might be used when building this note scale.

Note 1 is the tonic note - the starting note - F, and note 13 is the same note name but one octave higher.

F chromatic scale-1 octave of notes

F chromatic scale-1 octave of notes
No.12345678910111213
NoteFF# / GbGG# / AbAA# / BbBCC# / DbDD# / EbEF
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

3. F major scale note interval positions

This step describes the F major scale , which is needed to build the major pentatonic scale in a later step.

The major scale uses the  W-W-H-W-W-W-H  note counting rule to identify the scale note positions.

To count up a Whole tone, count up by two physical piano keys, either white or black.

To count up a Half-tone (semitone), count up from the last note up by one physical piano key, either white or black.

The tonic note (shown as *) is the starting point and is always the 1st note in the major scale.

F major scale note positions

Again, the final 8th note is the octave note, having the same name as the tonic note.
F major scale note positions
No.12345678
NoteFGAA# / BbCDEF
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

4. F major scale notes

This step assigns note names to the major scale note positions identified in the previous step.

Having identified the piano keys that make up this major scale, this step shows the note names of those keys.

F major scale
No.12345678
NoteFGABbCDEF

F major scale

To understand the music theory behind why these sharp and flat note names have chosen given the note positions from the previous step, have a look at the F major scale.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

5. F major pentatonic scale notes

This step shows the 5 pentatonic notes (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th) taken from the major scale.

The major pentatonic scale is made from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th notes from the major scale above. The 4th and 7th note of the major scale are not used.

Below are those notes numbered 1 to 5 on the piano keyboard.

The 6th note is the octave of the tonic note, where this scale pattern begins to repeat itself up the piano keyboard.

Wherever possible, complex note names from the major scale are simplified to arrive at the final pentatonic scale notes.

For example, in the C# major pentatonic scale, the 4th note of the major scale E# is simplified to be note F.

F major pentatonic scale notes
No.123456
NoteFGACDF

F major pentatonic scale

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3