Scale Degree Recognition

Practice recognising the different degrees (notes) of the major pentatonic scale.

After completing this module: you will be able to reliably recognise the “do”, “re”, “mi”, “so” and “la” notes of the scale.

The pentatonic scale, which can be found throughout the world, is the foundation of the major scale. When you master hearing the degrees of the pentatonic scale, the other scale degrees and accidentals are much easier to spot.

Module Preview


  1. Introduction
  2. So Let’s Start
  3. This Is Mi
  4. Meet Re
  5. Pentatonic

From the “So Let’s Start” lesson:

We’ll begin with just two notes from the scale.

“Do” is the tonic or root note. It’s the one that the scale starts from, and which gives the scale its name. For example in the C Major Pentatonic scale, “do” is the note C. In a G Major Pentatonic Scale, the “do” would be G. And so on.

“So” is the fourth note in the major pentatonic scale: do, re, mi, so, la, do’. It’s a note which sounds strong and stable. If you know intervals, then so is a perfect fifth up from the tonic note do.

In this lesson, we will practice recognising do and so. Because they are quite far apart in pitch, it should be easy for you to recognise which one you hear.

Training Tracks

Female Voice

Easy Training Exercise: Do, So (members can download these audio tracks for more practice)

Male Voice

From the “Pentatonic” lesson:

Our final notes to add are “la”, and the top “do” of the scale.

“La” has a special relationship to “do”, as it represents the relative minor. It is also part of the IV chord, an important and commonly-used chord.

If you know intervals, then la is a major sixth up from the tonic note do.

Until you begin to spot the characteristic sound of la, try slotting it into your mental framework above so, and listen out for whether the note you heard sounds a bit higher than the so you know, and a bit lower than the top do of the scale.

With the addition of la and the top do, you are now starting to recognise the full major pentatonic scale!

Training Tracks

Female Voice

Male Voice

Member Success

…on day one it felt impossible! Day two wasn’t much better… but I’m seeing improvement day three! I can pick out my Do’s, my So’s, and my Re’s like no body’s business!! Looking forward to what more practice brings!

After doing the modules through the pentatonic scale I noticed a marked improvement in my first sight reading of a piece. I also noted that I am beginning to analyze the music as I read it. I am thinking of the piece musically and not just relating to the task as discovering fingering positions.

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