I barely know any music theory but I love experimenting with notes and finding two-note chords that sound cool on my guitar. I've been playing this progression below and I've found that any three notes together sound really good, as well as going up/down the scale. Is there a name for this?

e  --2------5--
B  ----3----5--
G  --2---4-----
D  --2---4-----
A  ------------
E  ------------

So it starts on E and goes W 3H W 3H W W 3H.

1 Answer 1


As listed, your scale includes E F♯ A B D E; you then add a remaining F♯ A that is, strictly speaking, not necessary to determine this collection.

You have a pentatonic scale (so named because it has five notes), but more than that it's a rotation of the standard major pentatonic scale.

A normal major pentatonic scale with this collection starts on D: D E F♯ A B D. But you rotate it to begin on E instead. Perhaps there's some name out there for this somewhere, otherwise we can just call it the second mode of the major pentatonic, "second mode" indicating that we rotate the collection to start on the second pitch.

One reason "that any three notes together sound really good" might be that this pentatonic collection is what we call anhemitonic, meaning there are no half steps. As such, no matter what pitches from the collection you play, there will never be a half-step dissonance within that subset.

  • 2
    In the Western musical tradition this scale is called the "Suspended Pentatonic Scale". It goes by many other names around the world depending on the culture.
    – syntonicC
    Jan 10, 2019 at 2:56
  • 1
    Rotate a little more and we get the guitarists' favourite - B minor pent. And you state the reason both maj. and min. pents work so well - no semitone dissonances available. +1.
    – Tim
    Jan 10, 2019 at 8:04
  • 2
    The only intervals are perfect fifths, thirds, major seconds and the complements of all these. And octaves. So not only are there no semitones (i.e. minor seconds and augmented unisons) there are no diminished fifths/augmented fourths or chromatically-altered intervals either.
    – Rosie F
    Jan 10, 2019 at 8:41

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