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The Basic Scale

Using the key of E as an example, the notes of the major scale are E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# and again the tonic, E. To make this a minor scale, the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes of the scale are lowered by one-half step yielding E, F#, G, A, B, C, D and again the tonic, E. To further boil this down to a minor pentationic scale, use only the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh notes followed by repeating the tonic on top yielding E, G, A, B, D and again the tonic E.

Referring to the chart below, the black circles are holes that are covered with your finger(s), the white circles are holes that are open. You will see that the third hole from the top stays covered all the time.


Tablature Chart

Fingering the E-minor Flutes
E major scale
E F# G# A B C# D# E
E minor scale
E F# G A B C D E
E minor pentatonic scale
Fingering the Flute
fingering the first note fingering the second note fingering the third note fingering the fourth note fingering the fifth note fingering the sixth note

This is what a pentatonic scale on the Native American flute sounds like. From Waking Spirits Flutes.

Listen to Carlos Nakai play a simple variation of the basic scale. From Flutopedia.

How the Pros do it

Mary Youngblood, Carlos Nakai and Jeff Ball