1 3 5

1 5 3

3 1 5

3 5 1

5 1 3

5 3 1

Here’s a G minor triad all over the fretboard:

1 b3 5

1 5 b3

b3 1 5

b3 5 1

5 1 b3

5 b3 1

**What’s the Point?**

From a teaching point of view, this makes for a great exercise to practice making melodies. Just use the different permutations to come up with melodic soloing ideas!

**Arpeggios**

If we add one note to either of the above triads we get a seventh arpeggio which is the intervals of a seventh chord played as single notes. Let’s see what happens when we permutate an arpeggio. Here’s a G7 arpeggio all over the neck:

1 3 5 b7

1 3 b7 5

1 5 3 b7

1 5 b7 3

1 b7 3 5

1 b7 5 3

3 1 b7 5

3 1 5 b7

3 5 b7 1

3 5 1 b7

3 b7 5 1

3 b7 1 5

5 1 3 b7

5 1 b7 3

5 3 1 b7

5 3 b7 1

5 b7 1 3

5 b7 3 1

b7 1 5 3

b7 1 3 5

b7 3 5 1

b7 3 1 5

b7 5 3 1

b7 5 1 3

If you’re a little masochistic you could do the same exercise we did for the triads, or just the first ten or so permutations.

**Pentatonics**

Here’s where it starts to get (more) interesting. If we take five notes i.e. a pentatonic scale such as G minor pentatonic below, we get 120 melodic permutations of intervals, and one hell of an exercise!

**Seven-note Scales**

The difference in melodic possibilities between a pentatonic scale and a seven-note scale is quite something, and may explain why everyone sounds the same when they play a pentatonic scale. If we take a seven-note scale such as G natural minor (below), we generate 5,040 possible permutations! Quite a few more than the trusty old pentatonic scale.

Do practice the permutations for triads and seventh chord arpeggios though, as these as good for your fingers as they are for your ears, and when you add in the rhythmic possibilities, perhaps you’ll find that there is something new under the sun.

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