I want to apologize if my question itself is an error. Thats due to everything you can find about music theory being very abstract, with little info about practical application If my question itself is an error then dont answer it directly, but put me on the right track for understanding things

You have the minor pentatonic scale In which a lot of licks on guitar sound ok as long as you use proper rythm and techniques like bending, because it is hard to hit a wrong note

Now i want to extend from the minor pentatonic scale to the aoelian mode, which has the same notes plus 2 extra.

Now there is some concept about slightly dissonant sounding notes(tension), which need to be resolved. Which notes need to be resolved and to what(like half step above /under, to pentatonic scale notes or to chordtones)?

And how does this apply to moving from the min pentatonic to the aeolean mode? Or are there other things i need to know when moving to aeolean mode

Thx in advance for you answers


ti->do and fa->mi

Minor pentatonic: La do re mi so la

Aeolian: adding ti and fa -> la ti do re mi fa so la

ti and fa are leading tones: ti resolving up to do, fa resolving down to mi.

But both are used as passing tones in both directions, up and down.


Looking at the chord changes you are playing over and picking out which notes are affecting those changes, then accentuating those notes along with those changes, is a place to start.

Here’s an example that focuses on accentuating the notes in Aeolian mode that are not part of the Pentatonic scale.

You’re playing over a simple i-v vamp, let’s make it Em-Bm. (Bolded are non-Pentatonic scale notes.)

  • E Aeolian mode notes are E, F#, G, A, B, C, D. (I, II, bIII, IV, V, VI, bVII)
  • Em chord tones are E, G, B. (I, bIII, V)
  • Bm chord tones are B, D, F#. (V, bVII, II)

Depending on what you’re trying to say, as the vamp moves between chords you can accentuate that 1/2-step between F# (II) and G (bIII), or you can accentuate the whole-step between D (bVII) and E (I). The former uses the non-Pentatonic note F# (II), so will add a bit of flavor not found in the Pentatonic scale.

If you expand that vamp to include a iv, in this case Am (A, C, E,) you now also have the non-pentatonic C (VI) note, a 1/2-step from B (V) in either Em or Bm, and a whole-step from D (bVII) in Bm, and can focus on those note changes when moving between those chords.

As far as resolution from tension goes, generally aim to resolve on a chord tone, the I, (b)III or V note, and you’ll be pretty safe. The extent of that tension and how you build it is up to you. In the i-v vamp above, you might try to utilize that C (VI) note as a tension builder, as theoretically it will suggest the missing Am (iv) chord and then resolve nicely as you move back to a chord tone on the change. Another way might be to preempt the chord change with a chord tone in the resolution chord that is not part of the leading chord.

If you have a loop station, loop a simple vamp like the one above (or if you don’t, find a simple backing track online,) and then spend some time just playing with the notes that make the chord changes (II - bIII, bVII - I, II - I) and the tension resolution from the VI (VI - V, VI - bVII) and you’ll get a feel for what those movements can actually say from a musical standpoint.

As a final note, the above movements between notes are all linear, in that they move from one note to the next without skipping over any other notes in the key. Naturally there are non-linear movements to explore, as well (ie: VI - I, II - V.)


Firstly bending notes has absolutely nothing to do with playing notes from pentatonic. make no mistake about that. There are two notes missing from Aeolian compared with pentatonic (minor). They are the two notes which are hardest to play in the right place.

You need to isolate those two notes, and work out - by listening very carefully - how they fit into the bigger plan of playing. We cannot say exactly where you should put those two notes - there isn't a simple route to take. Use ypur ears, and work out what you hear as good places to use those two extra notes, which are the key, probably, to being a great player rather than one who relies on purely using the minor pentatonic, which is, after all, is the panacea for so many players.

  • They are also (perhaps not coincidentally!) the harmonically "tastiest" notes - to my ear at least. I should add it would be of great benefit not only to listen to how it sounds when you use those notes but also to listen to how great players use those notes (Miles is surely the canonical choice but feel free to pick someone to your personal taste!)
    – Judy N.
    Jul 11 '20 at 15:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.