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Classical Notes: August 11, 2009 Archive

This is Your Brain on the Pentatonic Scale

Posted at 10:55 AM on August 11, 2009 by Gillian Martin (2 Comments)
Filed under: Fun finds, Musical philosophy

The pentatonic (five note) scale (e.g., just the black notes on a piano) shows up in indigenous folk music from all over the world, from the British Isles to West Africa to Asia.

The scale seems to be hard-wired into the human brain--or so this video suggests. It features Bobby McFerrin, former Creative Chair for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, at this summer's World Science Festival in New York City.

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Thanks to my friend N. Jeanne Burns and her friend Elliot for the tip.

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