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RELATIVE SCALES

-Every Major scale has its RELATIVE minor scale and every minor scale has its RELATIVE Major scale.

-Relative scales are related to each other because they share the same Key signature as shown in the figure below.

Circle of fifths showing major and minor relative keys

Fig.1. The Circle Of Fifths Shows the major and relative minor Keys And the key signatures which make them relative.

-The “Key Signature” is a set of sharp or flat symbols placed together on the staff.

-Relative Scales use the same Scale patterns with only the Tonic Note changing.  You play the same notes in the same pattern however the scale sounds completely different because you start on a different tonic note.
This is a very convenient characteristic of the fretboard and makes locating a Relative scale easy to do.  This relative scale location “tool” is particularly useful when playing a song which moves back and fourth between the Major and Relative minor keys (or minor and Relative Major) whichever the case may be.
It is also a good tool for quickly locating one or the other.

The “relative minor scale” of a major scale has the same key signature and starts down 3 frets or equivalently up 9 frets (to the Octave); for example, the relative minor of “C major” is A minor.  If the “C Major scale” begins on the 8th fret of the 6th string, the relative “A minor scale” begins on either the 5th fret “A note” of the 6th string or  on the 17th fret “A note” of the 6th string.
Similarly locating the relative Major scale of a minor scale is the reverse procedure.  The relative Major scale starts up 3 frets or down 9 frets (to the octave); for example, the relative major of “A minor” is “C Major”.

A minor and C Major RELATIVE Scales

Fig.2. The Diatonic Major and minor Relative Scales.
“A minor” & “C Major” shown as an example.
They use the Same Notes and Shape with a different Tonic (starting note) 3 frets apart.  Tonic note shown in green.

-In the context of the pentatonic scale, simply move one Pentatonic scale degree to switch between the Major and relative minor OR the minor and relative Major scales.
For example: The “A minor” pentatonic scale has its tonic note on the fifth fret of the low E string (this note is played with the Index finger).  To locate the relative Major pentatonic play the Tonic note three frets up on the eighth fret using your pinky.

Conversely,  the relative minor pentatonic scale is played by moving the tonic note down the Major scale by three frets.

Relative Pentatonic Scales JPEGFig.3 The relative “C Major” and “A minor” Pentatonic scales.  Only the Tonal Centre (Tonic notes) change.

Trick revealed major and minor relative scales using index finger and pinky

Video 1. Locating the relative Major and minor pentatonic scales using the “A minor” and its Relative “C Major”.
-Use the basic minor pentatonic shape (1st Shape) which consists of 2 Octaves.
-The Tonic Chord is played first.
-Each Tonic note is played twice.
-The 3 Tonic notes are identified at the end.

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