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Power of Pentatonic Scale

June 1, 2010

Art by Suisen

The World Science Festival 2010 will be held on June 2-6 in New York City.

  • A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale.
  • Pentatonic scales are very common and are found all over the world.
  • Ethnomusicology commonly classifies pentatonic scales as either hemitonic or anhemitonic. Hemitonic scales contain one or more semitones and anhemitonic scales do not contain semitones.
  • The major pentatonic scale is the basic scale of the music of China and the music of Mongolia.
  • The fundamental tones (without meri or kari techniques) rendered by the 5 holes of the Japanese shakuhachi flute play a minor pentatonic scale.
  • The traditional Japanese song “Sakura” uses a hemitonic pentatonic scale of the notes A-B-C-E-F
  • The Yo scale used in Japanese shomyo Buddhist chants and gagaku imperial court music is an anhemitonic pentatonic scale, which is the fourth mode of the major pentatonic scale.

Further Reading:

4 comments

  1. so much fun the first video😀


    • Yes, it is fun🙂


  2. Saw that McFerrin video a while ago, I love the guy.. Really fun way to show how much the pentatonic scale is more or less engraved in every one of us😛


    • Yes, that was a fun video🙂 Humans have inherent predispositions for some things🙂



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