Teach Yourself Music Theory – 19.) Tetrachords and Pentachords

Okay, so we have learned a lot of scales so far. This can become confusing and jumbling trying to remember them all and how different they are from each other.

A way to remember is to break them apart into smaller pieces. This is so you can compare and contrast between the scales – essentially see what makes them similar and different.

We can break them up into different groups.

A tetrachord (tetra – meaning “four”) is not a chord, but a group of 4 consecutive notes.

Take a major scale for example and split it down the halfway. Compare the two different tetrachords:

You will see that they are formed of the same interval pattern of W-W-H (or M2-M2-m2). These are major tetrachords, because they are distinctive of the major scale.

Another way to break scales into smaller groups is into pentachords, groups of 5 consecutive notes.

Once again, this is to help understand and memorize the structure/functions of scales.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.