As long-time readers know, I’m an amateur musician, from a very musical family. My sister is a music teacher, and my brother used to be a professional french horn player and composer. I personally play classical clarinet, a very wide range of folk-flutes, and some bluegrass banjo.
As long as I’ve studied music, my teachers have always talked about how fundamental the pentatonic scale is. For those who don’t know, the pentatonic
scale is a basic scale which has five distinct notes per octave, instead of the 7 of the traditional diatonic scale, or the 12 of the chromatic scale. For example, the
pentatonic scale starting at C is the notes C, D, E, G, A, and back to C.
I’ve never really grasped what’s so fundamental about it. It’s
got a beautiful sound – but just looking at it, it’s hard to see what makes it more
fundamental than any other scale. It’s not an evenly distributed scale – the
steps are second, second, minor third, second, minor third. But there’s something
This video shows just how fundamental it is. Without being told to, people will
naturally sing the steps of the pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale is wired into our brains. Watch and be amazed!