I'm presuming here that the music score is a 12 bar blues form and that the melody is written to use a C Major pentatonic or an A Minor pentatonic or some pentatonic scale.

I've been transcribing some solos that are C Major pentatonic to a music score but looking at what I have produced, there's nothing that stands out other than my notes in the side saying 'C Major pent'.

  • 3
    Can you elaborate, please? It's difficult to understand what you are actually asking. – Tim Apr 17 '18 at 6:11
  • Note that C Major and A minor share the same notes. – Ye Dawg Apr 17 '18 at 6:16
  • If you can establish that the key of the piece is C Major, the melody is using only notes in the C Major scale, and there are only five notes in the melody (excluding octaves etc), the scale is a pentatonic scale in the key of C Major. Specifically, if the notes are the I, ii, iii, V and vi of a Major Scale, it is the standard Pentatonic scale. What are you expecting about your music to stand out as "C major pentatonic"? There's nothing inherently special about the pentatonic scale when written down; the magic of this scale comes from the sound, feel and character of the scale when it's played – James Whiteley Apr 17 '18 at 14:24

The answer to this question is in the key signature. If you see no key signature it indicates the music/key has no sharps or flats unless accidentals are used to indicate in the individual measures. Once the key is determined from the key signature, you may then play the appropriate pentatonic scale over the chord progression of your choice of songs. Simply put, it is then up to the performer to figure the notes in the score are pentatonic in nature, and they may choose the fingering pattern that suits their own personal style. I personally am never offended to see a note in the margins that indicates what the composer or transcriber had in mind when they were creating the piece.

  • It's worth mentioning that the Capital C is a time signature (common time; equivalent to 4/4), which is orthogonal to key signature. It does not mean that the key signature has no sharps or flats. I raise this only because it would be easy to assume that "Captial C" == "C Major", which is not the case. You can have a "C" as the time signature in any key. – endorph Apr 18 '18 at 4:30
  • Some people don't like key signatures (for one reason or another), so music without a key signature may be in a key which is "close" to C (like F or G). – anatolyg Apr 18 '18 at 12:30
  • @anatolyg- There is no way I can answer for what some people may or may not do because they don't like key signatures, I can only try to explain accepted guidelines and practices in music theory. The last line of my answer also indicates I'm open to other ways to indicate one's intentions when transcribing or composing. – skinny peacock Apr 18 '18 at 19:08
  • @endorph- I have edited my answer, you are correct and my answer was confusing. Thanks for your help. – skinny peacock Apr 19 '18 at 14:30

If you can, watch a video of the original performer and try to figure out what fingering he or she was using. If you know which string he or she used to play the low C, the high C, etc... and at what point in a scale he or she switches strings, then you know which hand-formation to use when you do the solo.

I highly suggest imitating the performer as much as possible regarding the instrument. For instance, i the solo was played 12 frets up, you play it 12 frets up. There may be something about this that really makes it rock that you would never have realized playing everything near the open fingering.

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