The Magic Behind the Pentatonic Scale

I’ll set the scene, World Science Fair. A room full of people, the majority scientists and students with no musical training. Together equipped with an ingrained, albeit unknown knowledge of the pentatonic scale are able to create a chorus of harmony with directions from the ingenious Bobby McFerrin.

So the real question is, how did we all obtain this intrinsic knowledge of the pentatonic scale? There is a lot of research into this subject that delves quite far back into history and has many evolutionary answers. However simply put, the pentatonic scale is everywhere in our lives. From our diet of music that we consciously consume daily, to somewhat hidden scores in the background of movies and TV shows that we consume sub-consciously. The majority of these are based around the pentatonic scale.

This continual consumption of the pentatonic scale trains our brains to recognise and respond to seemingly “correct” intervals when melody and harmony are concerned. Adding a very scientific nature to the composition of music, as we all expect music that is aurally pleasing and conforms to these rules that have been instilled by the use of the pentatonic scale.  


Nicholas GoderComment